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Contact:  Kirsten Nelson
(804) 225-2627
For Immediate Release

July 21, 2004

Alan L. Wurtzel Elected New Chairman of SCHEV
—Business Executive Brings Valuable Leadership Experience to Virginia Higher Education—

RICHMOND — Acknowledging the important role that higher education plays in Virginia, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) yesterday unanimously elected Alan L. Wurtzel of Delaplane, a successful business leader, to serve as its new Chairman. He will lead the Council as it works to carry out the goals of the systemwide strategic plan and other important initiatives for Virginia higher education.

Council members: A. Wurtzel, J. Dyke, J. Cunningham
From Left to right—Council members: Alan Wurtzel(Chairman), James Dyke, Jean Cunningham

A successful business leader and long-time education advocate, Mr. Wurtzel is chairman emeritus of Circuit City Stores, Inc. He served as the company’s CEO from 1973 to 1986, during which time the company was recognized as one of the best performing companies on the New York Stock Exchange. Currently, Mr. Wurtzel is serving as director of Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. and three private companies.

His varied experience also includes serving many years in higher education. He is trustee emeritus of Oberlin College, as well as a graduate. He has also served two terms as a member of the board of visitors at Virginia Commonwealth Virginia University and as a member of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges.

In accepting the Council’s nomination, Mr. Wurtzel thanked the Council for its confidence and said he enjoys a challenge and is anxious for an opportunity to make a difference. Recognizing the Governor’s address to the Council at yesterday’s meeting, Mr. Wurtzel said “The Governor has set forth a challenging role for SCHEV in helping to achieve a strong and more accessible system of higher education in Virginia.”

“Alan is an extremely bright and thoughtful person and a respected leader in Virginia education,” said Bittle Porterfield in nominating Mr. Wurtzel.

Mr. Wurtzel asked for the commitment of all of the Council members – to be willing to share their time and thoughts in working on the Council’s important initiatives. “My greatest satisfaction of my non- business life is the work I was involved in with the Board of Education.” Mr. Wurtzel served on the Board of Education when it adopted the current Standards of Learning. He said, “the bipartisan board that adopted the Standards of Learning has had a positive impact on K-12 education that will shape Virginia’s future for many decades.”

Mr. Wurtzel replaces Dr. Carl Kelly, a former Oracle executive, as chairman. Mr. Wurtzel congratulated Dr. Kelly for his accomplishments as chairman of the council under difficult circumstances and said he’s been fair, helpful and non-partisan.

Mr. Wurtzel earned his J.D. from Yale Law School and received an A.B. from Oberlin College. He and his wife Irene reside in Delaplane, Virginia. At yesterday’s regular monthly business meeting, SCHEV also chose Bittle W. Porterfield to continue in his role as Vice Chairman. Mr. Porterfield is president of Rice Management Company in Roanoke, Virginia.

SCHEV is the Commonwealth’s coordinating body for Virginia’s system of higher education. The agency provides policy guidance and budget recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly, and is a resource for information on Virginia colleges and universities on higher education issues. Agenda materials for the SCHEV meeting are available at

For more information, contact Kirsten Nelson, Director of Government Relations and Communications, at or (804)225-2627.