ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Piedmont Virginia Community College hosted a gathering Thursday to celebrate half a century of providing higher education to those in Central Virginia.

"My kids just brag and brag and say some of the best education they got was right here," said City Councilor Brian Pinkston.

Over the last 50 years, more than 250,000 students have gone through PVCC, including Pinkston's three kids.

"It’s an amazing part of our educational system that we need to just invest as much as we can in," he said.

Harry Stillerman, the Vice President for Institutional Advancement, and PVCC President Jean Runyon say Charlottesville would not be the same if it weren't for the success and contributions the college has made in the area.

"We just can't imagine what our community would look like without PVCC,” said Stillerman.

"When I reflect on the last 50 years, it’s really about the lives changed, the impact on our students and the community, and I am really looking forward to celebrating that tonight," said Runyon.

Pinkston agrees.

"It's just been a place for so much opportunity to help people get their foot in the door and to start climbing the ladder of economic success and educational attainment," he said.

As a parent at the school and a member of the Charlottesville City Council, Pinkston hopes the future holds more for the institution.

"More and increased integration with the University [of Virginia]. There has been a lot of positive movement recently in that. I hope to see more,” said Pinkston.

Runyon says PVCC was founded on the bold belief that education has the power to transform lives and communities. She is looking forward to the next 50 years and the impact PVCC has as the "community's" college.