College of Science and College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences are flourishing
by Amy Boyce M.A. '97

College of Science

Chemistry-Physics Building

A laboratory filled with high-tech equipment.

An auditorium in the new Chemistry-Physics Building filled with aspiring young scientists.

Neither of these images necessarily comes to mind when thinking about the next generation of lawyers. Yet a new collaboration between the University of Richmond's law school and the College of Science at Virginia Tech will make these images more familiar. The partnership provides Virginia Tech students with a program in science tailored for entry into law school in intellectual property law.

The deep commitment of Bob (statistics '63) and Susan Quisenberry to Virginia Tech and the University of Richmond has been critical in the development of this partnership. The Quisenberrys have been generous financially and with their time to both universities. Susan is a University of Richmond alumna and member of its Board of Trustees. Both Quisenberrys are members of Virginia Tech's College of Science Dean's Roundtable, and Bob is a current member of Virginia Tech's Campaign Steering Committee.

In addition to their work on the University of Richmond partnership, Bob and Susan have made several gifts to Virginia Tech, including a bequest, an endowed scholarship for the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets in memory of Bob's father, and regular gifts to the athletic fund. Most recently, they have created a unitrust to permanently endow a faculty fellowship in the College of Science's new Institute for Advanced Study.

The Institute for Advanced Study at Virginia Tech is dedicated to identifying emerging opportunities in science, which will enable Virginia Tech to become a leader in the sciences by charting the path for hiring, resource building, and strategic partnerships. Fellowships like the one funded by the Quisenberrys are critical to building an institute capable of placing Virginia Tech among the best universities in the country. "Virginia Tech has the talent and resources to compete with Harvard, Stanford, Cal Tech, and other similar institutions," observes College of Science Dean Lay Nam Chang. "The fellows in the Institute for Advanced Study will be encouraged to be forward-thinking, innovative, bold, and imaginative. We need to find our areas of strength and become leaders in them."

The College of Science has a number of strengths, but for Bob Quisenberry, its most prominent is Chang. "Lay Nam is one of the most impressive people I've ever met," Bob says. "He's smart, has a great sense of humor and a dynamic vision for the college, and he knows how to communicate. I have every confidence that he will take the college a long way." Bob wants students in the College of Science to learn what its faculty has discovered, rather than relying solely on what others have discovered. "Undergraduates should be privileged to work with the best faculty and be involved in the best research. It is my hope that the Quisenberry Fellow will contribute to this culture in the College of Science."

Though Bob's father was also a graduate of Virginia Tech, his own relationship with the university didn't begin until he arrived in August 1958 to be fitted for his uniform. "I was probably the worst cadet to ever step foot on Virginia Tech's campus," says Bob. "But the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets gave me what I needed the most--self-discipline," a trait that he believes leaders, including academic leaders, must possess.

As a member of the Campaign Steering Committee, Bob wants to see the committee not only achieve its fundraising objectives, but also reach out to graduates and friends who have not yet made investments in Virginia Tech's future. "A quality education can be expensive," notes Bob, "and with the reduced funding by the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is up to those of us who have benefited significantly from attending Tech to maintain and improve this quality." Bob feels that no contribution is too small and that the campaign steering committee must motivate Virginia Tech alumni and friends to make a financial commitment to the university. In doing so, the foundation for future campaigns will be laid.

Obviously, without good science teachers contributing to the excellence of science education nationwide, Virginia Tech's Institute of Advanced Study would have a short life. Science education is a priority at Virginia Tech, and the executors of Alice W. Johnson's estate, including Jim Johnson (animal science '60; extension '67), Alice's son and retired director of the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service, have recognized this need. They have donated $50,000 to endow the first scholarship in the new School of Education for Science Education within the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (CLAHS).

Alice was generous to Virginia Tech, endowing several scholarships, including the one she created in November 1999 in honor of her daughter-in-law, Janet, the former dean of the College of Human Resources and Education. This scholarship is awarded annually to a student enrolled in the CLAHS Teacher Education Program. As a member of the Peacock-Harper Culinary Collection Committee, Alice was also involved in the creation of the Janet Cameron Scholarship for a student working toward a graduate degree in an area involving food history.

Janet and Jim Johnson

Janet and Jim Johnson

Alice's estate plan included a provision to continue her charitable giving after her death, and her six grandchildren suggested to Jim that a scholarship in science education would be a fitting way to honor their grandmother. Jim and Janet, no strangers to philanthropy at Virginia Tech, agreed. "Alice enjoyed her association with Virginia Tech. This was a wonderful way to honor her permanently in an area that was very important to her. We know Alice would have approved," says Janet.

In 1924, Alice graduated from the Harrisonburg State Teachers College, now James Madison University. She worked as a state Extension agent in the '30s and '40s and then taught middle school science in Manassas, Va., for 20 years. Alice moved to Blacksburg in 1998 to be closer to her son Jim and his family and because of friendships within the community. "Alice was very much part of the Virginia Tech community," says Janet. "The outpouring of affection after her death in February was truly amazing and overwhelming."

Faculty fellowships and endowed scholarships are just two of the ways that donors have helped these two new colleges in the last year. Together, the colleges have raised nearly $4.7 million dollars in fiscal year 2003-04. Thanks to the generosity of their donors, the colleges will be able to recruit and retain the best faculty and students, reduce the financial burden on students and their families, and perform advanced research. Says Bob Quisenberry, "Virginia Tech's best years are ahead of us. How good we will become is a factor of how good we want to be. I want the whole university community--faculty, staff, students, alumni, administrators, and friends--to be just as excited about our academic successes as I am."

Women have a significant role to play at Virginia Tech by Amy Boyce M.A. '97

2004 Circle of Excellence Retreat Circle of Excellence

The ability of women to make significant gifts to the university or to any other charity is increasing rapidly. Women currently control more than 51 percent of the wealth in the United States and own more than one-third of the country's businesses. The Women's Philanthropic Institute estimates that women will control much of the $41 trillion wealth transfer expected during the next 50 years. Today, women own 43 percent of stock portfolios with values of more than $50,000, and 45 percent of investments in other markets. Furthermore, in 2003, 56 percent of all students nationwide earning bachelor's degrees were women.

Women have been a part of Virginia Tech's history since 1921, but their numbers did not begin to increase significantly until 1964, during the presidency of T. Marshall Hahn. Women now represent 41 percent of the university's undergraduate population, and it is estimated that by 2030, women will comprise more than 50 percent of Virginia Tech alumni. Given these factors, an initiative designed to encourage women to become more engaged in the life of Virginia Tech was called for, so University Development created a new program, Women and Leadership in Philanthropy (WLP).

Two years ago, Elizabeth Flanagan, vice president for development and university relations, brought together a team comprised primarily of university development women to implement the new initiative. Flanagan points out that there are numerous opportunities for women to assume leadership roles at Virginia Tech, such as serving on advisory boards and committees. The mission of the WLP initiative is to engage women in the life of the university through service and philanthropy. Mary Grace Theodore, WLP program director and major gifts officer in the Office of University Development, notes that "Virginia Tech's alumnae and friends have so much to offer the university. We want to encourage women to become more involved and to really have a voice in the university's future."

As the program grows, several events each year will be held to bring together Virginia Tech's community of women and to educate them about philanthropic and leadership opportunities. The flagship event of this initiative is the Circle of Excellence Retreat, held each June. This year's retreat at the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Va., featured a variety of events for participants, including a wine-tasting and a showcase of excellence and inspiration from across the university. In addition, several faculty members made presentations, informing retreat participants of the exciting things happening at the university. Participants also had plenty of free time to walk the grounds of the resort, play golf, go swimming, or enjoy services of the resort's world-famous spa.

For more information on the Women and Leadership in Philanthropy initiative at Virginia Tech or to learn how you can get involved, please visit the website at or contact Mary Grace Theodore at 540/231-6234.

Would you like that super-sized? by Ryan Martin '99

The next time you decide to spend $5 on a super-sized meal at your favorite eatery, chew on this: a $5 gift to Virginia Tech can significantly impact a student's experience.

Find this hard to swallow? Last year, 14,675 alumni and friends of the university made contributions ranging from $5 to $50 through the Annual Fund. When combined, these smaller donations added up to over $397,000. Talk about being super-sized!

While certainly significant, the power of these $5 to $50 gifts does not lie just in their combined net worth. Every alumnus who makes a gift to the university helps to strengthen both Virginia Tech and the value of his or her own degree. These gifts are taken into account each year in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of institutions of higher learning--in fact, the alumni giving rate totals 5 percent of the publication's ranking methodology. Consequently, the larger the number of supportive alumni, the higher the U.S. News & World Report's ranking will be; the higher the university's ranking, the more valuable a Virginia Tech degree becomes to employers. And the more prominent their Virginia Tech degrees, the more valuable our alumni become. Additionally, some corporations and foundations factor alumni participation and giving rates when deciding whether to support a university program or initiative.

Passing up fast food once a month for a year could add up to a $60 gift to Virginia Tech. Gifts may be designated to any number of areas, such as a specific college or field of study, or a student program. Your $60 can be directly responsible for providing equipment for an introductory class in the sciences; a book, video, or musical recording for one of the university's libraries; or equipment for the university's interscholastic, intramural, or recreational sports programs.

Needless to say, $5 goes quite a way toward meeting the needs of Virginia Tech--and a greater amount can go even farther. Just as super-sized meals won't break your wallet, contributing to Virginia Tech won't break the bank.

Let the ACC games begin

ACC Challenge Virginia Tech's Office of Annual Giving has teamed up with its ACC Annual Giving peers in an effort to enhance young alumni giving rates. This is rivalry at its finest--academic giving in the spirit of athletic competition. Although dollars raised play a key role in the success of any university, this competition is a measure of alumni participation and loyalty to their alma maters. Any gift amount, no matter the size, is welcomed.

Here's your chance to show all ACC young alums what Hokie pride is all about. As with any competition, a few rules apply:

• The challenge encompasses all gifts and payments (not pledges) received from young alumni (those who graduated in the last 10 years, from 1994-2003).

• The competition follows an academic calendar; all gifts must be received before June 30, 2005.

• Athletic giving is excluded from the ACC Challenge. Young alumni will be competing against one another through gifts to their alma maters' academic programs.

• Gifts can be made online at Virginia Tech's ACC Challenge website at: Also, be on the lookout for a telephone call from a current student or for a letter from the Office of Annual Giving for opportunities to make a gift to Virginia Tech.

• The competition officially began on July 1, 2004. Quarterly updates on how each school is faring will be posted on the official ACC Challenge website at: Visit the website to see how the Hokies are stacking up.

Your active participation will better position Virginia Tech to win this ACC championship. For more information on how you can play a role in this friendly rivalry, please contact the Office of Annual Giving at 800/533-1144 or visit

Amy Boyce is special projects editor for the Office of University Development.
Ryan Martin is a senior development associate in the Office of Annual Giving.