Barbara Bannar Scholarship Fund
The Barbara Bannar Scholarship Fund was established by Mrs. Bannar’s family, members of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce and her many other friends following her death in July, 2013. The first scholarship will be awarded in June, 2014. Criteria associated with the scholarship are currently under development.
Mrs. Bannar served as Executive Director of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce for nearly 22 years. She was an avid supporter of education and was instrumental in the founding of the Orange County Education Foundation (OCEF) in 1994-1996. She also played an important role in the Foundation’s revitalization in 2010. She served as secretary of the OCEF Board of Directors through much of the Foundation’s history.
“There are few people who get ‘it’ when it comes to ‘small town economic development’ the way that Barbara ‘got it,’” Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Bob Grimesey said at the time of Mrs. Bannar’s passing. “Few people understand the intimate connection between quality schools and economic development the way Barbara understood it. And there were no more assertive advocates of 21st century career and technical education programs than Barbara. She was a dear friend and a well-informed advisor. We will miss her. I will miss her.”
Born March 8, 1950, Mrs. Bannar moved to Orange County in 1985 and was appointed Executive Director of the Chamber on December 18, 1991. She began her career with the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce, where she served as the Vice President of Membership and Communications for three years. Her background included sales and marketing in real estate, advertising and tourism. She also served as the Director of the Fredericksburg Public Relations Society. In 1991, she was awarded the Fredericksburg DECA Outstanding Service Award for her contributions in establishing a regional cooperative education program for the hospitality industry.
During her tenure as Executive Director of the Orange Chamber, Mrs. Bannar either introduced or expanded most of its community events, including the Montpelier Wine Festival, the Wine, Wings and Wheels Festival, the Orange County Business and Industry Reception, and the Orange Street Festival. The Chamber served as coordinator of the Orange Holiday Parade for many years, until 2010.
“I’ve been very lucky to have progressive Chamber board members who advocate for the county’s economic best interests,” she said during her final annual Chamber banquet in 2013. “They’ve had such foresight for long-term economic growth.”
Following her retirement, Mrs. Bannar was recognized with a Board of Supervisors’ resolution and a Chamber of Commerce resolution honoring her long-time commitment to Orange County’s economic growth and development and her lasting impact on the community. Both resolutions were presented together at the Chamber’s Annual Banquet. She also was a recipient of the Orange County School Board’s “Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Award.”
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The Barbara Bannar Memorial Scholarship for Business and Entrepreneurial Studies, in the amount of $1,000, was awarded to Justin Hurley by Gregg. “Hearing my named called at Senior Night was really nice. I am so happy and so grateful,” said Hurley. “It’s a real honor to receive the business scholarship in memory of Mrs. Bannar. This will really help with expenses at Penn State.”