Gary Cifers grew up in Emporia, Virginia and graduated from Greensville County High School. He earned Associates of Applied Science in Business Management and Information Systems Technology from Southside Virginia Community College and later transferred to complete a master's degree.
After completing his degrees at SVCC, Gary began working full time for Greensville/Emporia Department of Social Services. He began teaching Information Technology courses for SVCC in 2002 and has continued to serve as an adjunct instructor for 16 years. In 2004, Gary became a full-time administrative assistant for the College and later served as a Coordinator of Off-Campus Instruction. He is currently employed by the Mecklenburg County Public School System as a Career and Technical Education Coordinator.
Upon reflection on his time at SVCC, Gary shares, "Southside was a great place to start my education. When I was in high school, I worked retail. High school was not my favorite activity and I had no college plans. Mrs. Sandra Sykes, my Accounting teacher at Greensville High encouraged me to take just one college class. I followed her advice and took my first college computer class with SVCC. I was hooked and it made all the difference. The faculty were caring and the family environment really encouraged me to continue my education. I was fortunate to go from no college plans in my future to holding a Master's Degree in Higher Education Administration and working within the educational system. I give Southside much credit for assisting me in my career and educational journey. Dr. Roberts was a tremendous influence in my life as he first gave me the opportunity to teach as an adjunct and he encouraged me to continue my education. Another of my biggest influences while working at SVCC was Dr. Chad Patton. Chad served as a mentor and he also played a big part in my decision to pursue a master's degree." He continues, "One of the greatest rewards of first attending SVCC and then working there full-time was watching graduation come full circle. It was amazing to watch the growth of students from when they first started their educational journey. SVCC provides so many opportunities for students to succeed and follow their dreams of higher education."