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Residence hall named in honor of African-American pioneers

In March 2003, New Residence Hall West will be named Peddrew-Yates Residence Hall in honor of Irving L. Peddrew III and Charlie L. Yates, the first black to enroll at the university and the first black to graduate, respectively. The building, which opened in the fall of 1998, accommodates students who participate in the Residential Leadership Community, one of Virginia Tech's 10 theme-housing programs. Peddrew enrolled in September 1953 in electrical engineering and left Tech at the end of his junior year. Yates enrolled a year after Peddrew and completed his undergraduate studies in mechanical engineering in 1958.

Naming a building for these African-American pioneers is one of a series of events marking the anniversary of the 50th year after the first black student matriculated at Tech. In January 2003, the university begins a year-long celebration that will feature a series of academic and social events, including an alumni speaker series. The anniversary celebration will culminate in the March 29 dedication of Peddrew-Yates Residence Hall. TOP

Eyre to head veterinary medicine association

Peter Eyre, dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM), will become the president of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges conducted by the AAVMC, (AAVMC) in July 2003. During his tenure, VMRCVM has been involved in several initiatives the American Medical Association, and the American Animal Hospital Association, such as a major research effort to identify personality traits associated with success in veterinary medicine. Also during his tenure, the VMRCVM has become the nation's leading institution for preparing veterinarians. TOP

BOV gets four new members

Four new members were appointed to the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors: Ben J. Davenport Jr., chairman of Chatham Oil Company and First Piedmont Corporation; John R. Lawson II, president and CEO of the general contracting firm W. M. Jordan; Thomas L. Robertson, chairman of the Carilion Foundation and Carilion Biomedical Institute; and Bruce Smith, a defensive end with the NFL's Washington Redskins. Davenport and Lawson also serve on the board of the Virginia Tech Foundation, and Robertson is a former member. Smith was inducted into the Virginia Tech Hall of Fame in 1995. The new members began their term on July 1 and will serve until June 30, 2006. TOP

Call for nominations

Virginia Tech is seeking nominations for two of its most prestigious awards. The William H. Ruffner Medal recognizes individuals who have performed "notable and distinguished" service to the university. Named for a member of Tech's first board of visitors, the award is given to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding achievement toward the promotion of Tech's land-grant mission, significant service on any group serving the university, and/or interest in and support of the well-being of the university and its community. The University Distinguished Achievement Award is given to individuals who are nationally distinguished in their contributions to society and have an identifiable relationship with Virginia Tech. No individual affiliated with the university as a student, faculty or staff member, administrator, trustee, or other similar capacity is eligible for either award. Nominations are due by Nov. 15. For more information, go to TOP

An e-Learning success story

The Institute for Distance and Distributed Learning's "Utilizing Virtual Classrooms and New E-Learning Models to Broaden Reach," which concerns the cross-university efforts to place the Masters of Information Technology degree and certificate program online, won Virginia Tech the 2002 e-Learning Success Stories Higher Education Virtual Learning/Collaboration Award. The initiative was created in response to the vital need for education in information technology in northern Virginia. Tech was one of only 10 organizations recognized out of more than 100 nominations. TOP

Swiger to retire as dean of agriculture

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Andy Swiger, the longest-serving agriculture dean in the South, will retire Jan. 1. During his tenure as dean, the college's biotechnology work matured into a program with national respect; the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute was established, with many of its faculty members holding positions in the college; and Tech has risen to number seven nationally in agricultural research, according to the National Science Foundation. Swiger was named to the Animal Science Hall of Fame at Ohio State University two years ago; received the Rockefeller Prentice Memorial Award, one of the highest awards available to animal scientists; and is credited with having an impact on the field of animal breeding and quantitative genetics through his teaching activities. TOP

Building bridge pays off for Tech team

The Virginia Tech Forestry Products Society chapter won the Best Overall Design Award and second place in the Best Support Structure category in the National Timber Bridge Design Competition. Each team designed and tested its bridges on its home campus, then submitted documentation of the results to a panel of judges for review via the Internet. Sixteen teams of students from universities across the U.S. participated. See for more information and the projects' highlights. TOP

Mellon Foundation awards $2.5 million to ICCP

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $2.5 million to Virginia Tech's Institute for Cultural Policy and Practice (ICPP) to fund the ongoing work of The Orchestra Forum, a program that supports the organizational change efforts of 15 orchestras across the country. ICCP facilitates the convening of musicians, trustees, and executives of the participating groups in creatively strengthening the work of artistic leadership, developing the artistic and institutional roles of musicians, building collaborative cultures within the organizations, and expanding the relationship of orchestras to their communities. The Mellon Foundation previously gave The Orchestra Forum a $593,450 grant to facilitate the first series of forums. TOP

Taking care of the student body, virtually

Partly in response to the dramatic 350 percent growth in the university's distance learning offerings over the past two years, Virginia Tech's Institute for Distance and Distributed Learning has launched an innovative Online Wellness Resource Center (OWRC). The OWRC, which will provide services such as stress management tips, recipes, and job listings, adds to the already expansive services available to e-learners, such as a fully searchable catalog of credit and non-credit courses, an online payment option, and an online writing lab. See for more details. TOP

$900-million bond referendum on ballot for Virginia voters

A Nov. 5 bond referendum will allow Virginians to approve $900 million in debt to build and upgrade educational and cultural facilities throughout the state. If the referendum passes, 68 of the 122 total projects approved by the 2002 General Assembly will modernize existing classrooms, laboratories, and other educational facilities, while another 13 will make campuses increasingly accessible to persons with disabilities. The projects will also help accommodate the additional 32,000 high-school graduates who will enroll at Virginia's higher-education facilities by the end of this decade.

Not only will the bond benefit each of the commonwealth's universities, colleges, and community colleges, it will benefit every citizen of Virginia, says Foundation 2002, an organization comprised of higher-education professionals from across the state. According to Foundation 2002, improving education through the referendum will boost economic activity and help attract more business to the state. Through 2008, the bond, if approved, is expected to have an estimated economic impact of $1.5 billion, generate $51 million in state-tax revenue, and create 13,865 new jobs.

Financially, the group says, now is the best time to authorize the issuance of the general obligation bond. Despite the nation's current economic and budgetary challenges, Virginia possesses two resources many other states do not have: a bond rating that signifies the commonwealth as one of the most fiscally sound states in the national rating shared by only eight other statesand ample debt capacity. Foundation 2002 points out that today's relatively low interest rates make it timely to capitalize on these assets.

Of the $900 million, Virginia Tech would receive $72.1 million to construct a biology building, an engineering facility, a building construction facility, a fine arts center, a vivarium facility, and an addition to the main campus' chilled water central plant; renovate several classrooms, Cowgill Hall's HVAC and power systems, and Williams, Agnew, and Burruss halls; renovate and expand Henderson Hall; and make repairs to Litton-Reaves Hall.

Also on the ballot is a measure to provide $119 million to improve or acquire parks and natural areas throughout the state. This is the fourth time in modern Virginia history that a general obligation bond has appeared on a ballot; the last bond was approved in 1992.

For more information about the Nov. 5 bond referendum, please go to TOP

Commonwealth faces another severe shortfall

Gov. Mark Warner has announced that lower-than-expected projections for state employment and income have resulted in an additional $1.5-billion revenue shortfall for fiscal years 2002-03 and 2003-04. This comes in addition to the previously announced $3.8-billion shortfall, which resulted in tuition increases for state colleges and universities and layoffs for state employees. The new deficit is expected to necessitate further statewide budget cuts and layoffs.

Virginia Tech President Charles Steger addressed these cuts in a message to the university community, stating that Governor Warner has asked all state agencies, including Virginia Tech, to prepare budget reduction scenarios, due Sept. 20, of seven, 11, and 15 percent. It is estimated, Steger says, that all agencies will incur at least a five-percent reduction in general fund appropriations. For Virginia Tech, that translates to $2.2 million for every one-percent reduction.

Steger notes that it is now more important than ever for the university to protect the quality of its education for the students of today and tomorrow: "Funds will be tight, but we will not abandon our efforts to strategically invest in growth areas. We will invest in our future we will invest in quality regardless of the state's ability to do so." TOP

Crazy for the Baby HokieBird?

Baby Hokie BirdThe Baby HokieBird has been hatched to help a lucky child earn money toward his or her college education. The new logo was designed to herald the university's second annual "Crazy for the Hokies!" sweepstakes contest. Top prize is $5,000 in a Virginia Education Savings Trust account in the child's name. Second prize is 50 shares of WalMart stock (an estimated value of $3,000), and third prize is a $1,000 gift certificate from University Bookstore. Twenty fourth-place winners will receive Michael Vick limited-edition autographed prints.

To enter, send in a photo of any child in your family up to 12 years of age wearing or holding any Virginia Tech product, from a t-shirt or a hat to a sign reading "Crazy for the Hokies!" The adult relative who is entering the photo should write the child's name; the adult' s name, address, and phone number; and the phrase "Crazy for the Hokies!" on the back of the photo, which can be mailed to: Virginia Tech Licensing, Southgate Dr., Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061. Enter as many times as you like, but make sure only one child appears in each photo.

Photos must be received by Nov. 25. Winners will be announced at halftime of the Virginia Tech-UVa. football game on Nov. 30. For more information, go to TOP


Cell-division modeling important for cancer studies

"Spatial Patterns of Yeast Cell Growth and Division: Molecular Mechanisms and Mathematical Models," a project by John Tyson, University Distinguished Professor of Biology, and Bela Novak, professor of biotechnology at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, has received a $450,000 award from the James S. McDonnell Foundation of St. Louis, Mo. The money will go toward the development of models of the mechanisms that control yeast cell growth. Because of the current lack of information about cell growth and division even under normal circumstances, the study could have far-reaching implications for cancer and other cell-based diseases. TOP

Therapeutic dress-up

child in garmentJoann Boles, retired professor of clothing and textiles at Virginia Tech, and Sherry Haar, assistant professor of apparel and textiles at Kansas State University, have received a patent for therapy apparel for children with Sensory Integration Dysfunction, which affects approximately 15 percent of all children. Haar used the clothing-design process developed by Boles to create the theme-decorated therapy garment worn by pre-school children during occupational therapy. With its bug superhero theme, the garment has pockets for weights, a series of elastic straps, 15 different textures, and fastening systems to provide opportunities for fine and perceptual motor skills. Developed in 1982, Boles' framework has been used to identify wearer preferences and garment criteria for female flight attendant uniforms, school uniforms, and kayak paddling jackets. For more information on the project, visit: TOP

New device enhances energy efficiency

Florescent lighting is already four times more energy efficient than conventional incandescent lighting, and now a newly patented device from Tech's Center for Power Electronic Systems (CPES) has the potential to increase that efficiency. Fred Lee, director of CPES, estimates that standard magnetic ballasts, the components required to provide starting voltage in fluorescent lights and to limit electrical current, allow only 60 percent of every watt to result in light. Lee and graduate student Fengfeng Tao have received a patent for a new electronic ballast that should reduce energy consumption by as much as 30 percent. TOP

ATDnet will provide testbed for IT innovations

The Advanced Technology Demonstration Network (ATDnet), a new, unclassified Department of Defense research network for testing advanced information, will soon be available due to efforts by the Mid-Atlantic Crossroads (MAX) consortium and the Naval Research Laboratory. Partnering with Qwest Communications, Verizon, and Fibergate, this next generation ATDnet is a regional fiber testbed that will support research in emerging and experimental telecommunications technologies and applications. MAX, founded in 1999 by Virginia Tech, the University of Maryland, Georgetown University, and George Washington University, will be responsible for the day-to-day operational aspects of the core ATDnet infrastructure. TOP