In 1969, a steering committee representing the governing boards of Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, and Nelson counties, and the City of Charlottesville petitioned the State Board for Community Colleges to establish a community college region within the Virginia Community College System to serve those six jurisdictions. An ad hoc committee representing the region prepared the initial plans for local participation, support, and governance of the college.
By 1970, a permanent site for the college had been purchased by the local governments and a 12-member College Board had been appointed by the jurisdictions. In the fall of 1971, the college’s campus was enlarged through a transfer of state-owned property from the Blue Ridge Sanatorium. Dr. Harold J. McGee was appointed as the college’s first president in September of that same year. During the remainder of the 1971-72 academic year, an initial administrative staff was appointed, and preparations were made for the opening of the college.
A groundbreaking for the permanent college campus was held on April 17, 1972. The first faculty members were appointed, and the college opened in the fall of 1972 in five temporary classroom locations in Charlottesville and Albemarle and on the grounds of the University of Virginia. The initial facilities on the new campus were completed in the spring of 1973, and instruction began on campus with the summer term.
In the fall of 1972, the college had an enrollment of 464. In fall semester of 2007, enrollment was 4,675.
The State Board for Community Colleges in early 1981 approved the transfer of Louisa County into the service regions of PVCC and J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, as requested by Louisa County.
In September 1975, Dr. James R. Walpole was appointed the college’s second president. He served until July 1977. In August 1977, Dr. George B. Vaughan was appointed as the college’s third president. He served until July 1988. On June 1, 1989, Dr. Deborah M. DiCroce became PVCC’s fourth president, serving until May 15, 1998. Dr. Frank Friedman was named the college’s fifth president in November 1998, effective January 1, 1999. He was inaugurated on September 24, 1999.