Commonwealth Alliance for Rural Colleges Announces Interim President

RICHMOND, Va., May 1, 2024 – The former longtime director of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) has been selected to serve as interim president of the Commonwealth Alliance for Rural Colleges (CARC). Peter Blake began his new leadership position today.

“"I am excited to join a team whose mission is to expand access to affordable and high-quality education,” said Blake, who recently retired after a 12 year career with SCHEV. “The institutions and the students they serve improve lives and communities across Virginia."

The CARC Executive Committee said Blake’s knowledge, experience, and passion for higher education are what the organization needs going forward. Prior to his service with SCHEV, Blake worked as a vice chancellor for the Virginia Community College System, as Deputy Secretary and Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Virginia, and as a legislative analyst for the Virginia House Appropriations Committee.

“Peter is clearly among a small handful of professionals whose career experience is a match for our organization,” said Elizabeth Povar, chair of the CARC executive committee. “His extensive knowledge of the Virginia higher education system and its institutions, and the challenges facing higher education today, add a depth of knowledge that will benefit CARC now and in the future.”

Blake succeeds CARC President Carthan Currin who left in March after multiple years of dedicated service on the CARC board and as the organization’s president since 2020. The CARC Board extended its sincere appreciation to Currin for his years of leadership and guidance. Following Currin’s departure, the CARC executive committee has embarked on a search and interviewed multiple candidates to fill the interim role. Blake will assist the organization as it begins a large-scale search for a permanent replacement.

The Commonwealth Alliance's mission is "to provide our member institutions the resources to ensure their students have access to an affordable, value-based education that prepares them for success in a global economy". Since 1965 Commonwealth Alliance for Rural Colleges (formerly known as The Virginia College Fund) has been a reliable, consistent source of financial support for rural "access institutions", providing direct support to students from low to moderate income households, minority students, and students who are the first in their families to attend college.  Our member schools are: Appalachian School of Law, Averett University, Bluefield University, Eastern Mennonite University, and Ferrum College.  As a statewide consortium well-known for over 50 years, The Commonwealth Alliance has been able to cultivate donors and board members committed to expanding access to higher education. The Commonwealth Alliance's support comes from individuals, corporations, foundations and trusts. Click here for more information on the CARC.