August 9th, 2021
VFCCE Honors Elizabeth “Bess” Littlefield with the Kathleen H. Smith Distinguished Service Award
Richmond — During last week’s Chancellor’s Retreat, The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE) presented Elizabeth “Bess” Littlefield with the Kathleen H. Smith Distinguished Service Award for her exceptional leadership. As VP of Institutional Advancement at Reynolds Community College, Littlefield has demonstrated a powerful commitment to student success for more than 25 years.
“Her outstanding leadership is enriching future generations, business owners, faculty and staff, and communities like the East End of Richmond, where the Kitchens at Reynolds is providing an unprecedented level of college access and strengthening efforts to close the equity gap,” said Dr. Jennifer Gentry, VFCCE’s Executive Director.
Thanks to Littlefield’s initiative, Reynolds was the first community college in Virginia to launch a Major Gifts Campaign. It raised unprecedented funds a decade ago, and her strategy remains at the cutting edge. She facilitated strong partnerships between the public and private sectors, bringing support and resources to students in need. Littlefield is dedicated to equity and cultivates an open dialogue with community members in all of her endeavors.
In her nomination letter, Reynolds President Paula Pando wrote that Littlefield is “fearless in her willingness to challenge the norms of what can be done, by whom and for whom. She brings a potent mixture of realism and aspiration to her work.”
The award is named for a pioneer in the world of institutional advancement. Kathleen H. Smith’s selfless devotion and inspiring achievements helped elevate the profession and the Commonwealth. Smith’s storied, 37-year career includes Director of Programming and Fundraising at Ferrum College, Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the Foundation at Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC), and Senior Development Officer for the VFCCE.
Working alongside her president and foundation board, Smith created the largest and most successful foundation to include a robust planned giving program. After Smith’s retirement at PHCC, she worked with the VFCCE to author and co-author $20 million of grant proposals to support student success.
Smith was vital to generating significant funding for innovative programs that continue to change lives, including the Great Expectations program for foster youth. Littlefield continues to represent Smith’s legacy, advocating for a better future for each and every student.