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Pete Dye River Course ranked No. 9 in college courses
Pete Dye River Course at Virginia Tech >
Pete Dye River Course at Virginia Tech
The Pete Dye River Course at Virginia Tech earned high marks from Golfweek magazine when the publication ranked Tech's course ninth among campus golf courses. Built in 1998 and renamed The Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech in 2006, the course climbed from its position at No. 18 in Golfweek's ranking last year—making it the fastest riser on the list and the highest-ranked Atlantic Coast Conference course.

The course hosted the 2011 NCAA Regional Golf Tournament and received a nearly perfect 4 1/2 star rating from the readers of Golf Digest magazine in their "Best Places to Play" poll for 2011. Five sets of tees along 2.5 miles of the New River provide a prime destination for golfers.

Virginia Tech golf coach Jay Hardwick said the "championship layout and the first-class facilities afforded with it have helped the Hokies remain competitive in an extremely competitive conference and collegiate golf landscape."

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New lecture series brings medical science to life
The biology of the criminal mind, the development of childhood obesity, and the mechanisms of chronic pain are among the many topics that will be explored in a new series of scientific talks in Roanoke. Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, the Distinguished Visiting Scholars Series will feature top experts from across the country throughout the academic year. Each visiting scholar will present two free lectures—one tailored to the public and a second, more technical one.
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Student teaches officiating to service members abroad
From July 18-23 in Europe, a Virginia Tech Recreational Sports intramural sports graduate assistant instructed and trained military personnel to officiate flag football games. Jeff Feldhaus, a second-year graduate forestry student in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, was part of the 2011 U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza Flag Football Official Clinic team. The team hosted the weeklong clinic in Wiesbaden, Germany, followed by another clinic in Vicenza, Italy, with the help of each base's Army Morale, Welfare, and Recreation program. At the end of training, each service member in attendance was certified to be a flag football official. Some participants were also certified to be clinicians so they can teach the clinics at their respective bases.
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Reaping the harvest of W.B. Alwood
Planted by W.B. Alwood circa 1900, the bur oak in front of Burruss Hall
Planted by W.B. Alwood circa 1900, the bur oak in front of Burruss Hall
W.B. Alwood
On Oct. 14, one of the most recognizable landmarks on Virginia Tech's campus—the bur oak in front of Burruss Hall—was dedicated to W.B. Alwood, one of Virginia Tech's most famous scientists and the man who planted the tree around 1900.

Alwood, a faculty member from 1888-1904, was an internationally recognized scientist, a reputation that brought positive recognition to the young institution. In 1897, he discovered and managed an outbreak of an invasive insect that threatened to destroy the fruit industry in the eastern United States. As part of his efforts, he organized the Virginia State Horticultural Society, which has been a major force behind the industry ever since. In 1907, his leadership in viticulture was recognized by the French government, which awarded him the prestigious Merite Agricole medal and the rank of officer.

In addition to these contributions to his profession, Alwood left several important legacies at Virginia Tech. He was the key to establishing the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and laid the foundation for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Today, because of his efforts, Virginia Tech students are able to study horticulture, plant pathology, and entomology. In 1927, he donated his vast personal library to the university—a collection that is still used today. Former university President Julian Burruss noted that Alwood should forever be remembered for what he did to assist the university in its early days.

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Accepting Pittsburgh and Syracuse, ACC expands to 14 members

In September, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Council of Presidents voted to accept the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University as new members. The invitation followed the submission of letters of application from both universities, according to the ACC website.

"The ACC has enjoyed a rich tradition by balancing academics and athletics and the addition of Pitt and Syracuse further strengthens the ACC culture in this regard," said ACC Commissioner John Swofford in the conference's announcement. "Pittsburgh and Syracuse also serve to enhance the ACC's reach into the states of New York and Pennsylvania and geographically bridges our footprint between Maryland and Massachusetts. With the addition of Pitt and Syracuse, the ACC will cover virtually the entire Eastern seaboard of the United States."
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Salaries for Hokie alumni eclipse most university graduates

What is the leading athletic conference in the nation? The resulting discussion might occupy rabid fans for an eternity.

In an interesting twist on rankings, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) released a report showing how schools playing in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) compared on a metric other than sports—starting salaries of graduates. With an average starting salary of $51,600 for graduates, Virginia Tech ranks fifth in the nation, behind Stanford, Duke, Georgia Tech, and Notre Dame.

Virginia Tech also ranked in the top 20 nationally for mid-career salaries of graduates of FBS schools. At No. 14, Virginia Tech graduates bring in an average mid-career salary of $91,500.

Moreover, the ACC ranked first among all 11 FBS conferences for most money earned by graduates in their initial jobs following graduation, according to a study published by the website The ACC also placed No. 1 for mid-career salaries of graduates, with an average of $90,192.

To read more about the ACC report, see page 29 at For further information on starting salaries and where Hokies are employed after graduation, see Virginia Tech Career Services,

Researchers hurry to gather quake data ahead of Hurricane Irene
The College of Engineering's James R. Martin II, a renowned expert on earthquakes, was asked Aug. 26 to lead an investigative team of U.S. scientists and engineers to document aftereffects of the Aug. 23 East Coast earthquake centered near Mineral, Va. With Hurricane Irene making landfall Aug. 27, his investigative team had to move fast to take samples, create maps, and photograph regional damage to subsurface and infrastructure locations. The earthquake measured 5.8 on the Richter magnitude scale and was felt not only across Virginia, but as far south as Georgia and as far north as New Hampshire, according to myriad news reports and social media status updates.
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Hokie robots dominate soccer challenge
Doctoral student Jeakweon Han anxiously stands by as CHARLI 2 kicks a ball.
Doctoral student Jeakweon Han anxiously stands by as CHARLI 2 kicks a ball.
Virginia Tech's Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa) dominated the RoboCup 2011 soccer competition—winning the grand prix Louis Vuitton Humanoid Cup and taking first in the Adult-Size Robot and Kid-Sized Robot divisions—in July 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey. Winning the cup was a first for the United States. "This (win) has a significant symbolic meaning, showing the shift in the leaders in humanoid robotics in the world," said Dennis Hong, associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of RoMeLa.
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Tech establishes cooperative research center to focus on cybersecurity
In cooperation with L-3 Communications, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, and Verisign Labs, Virginia Tech has received a five-year continuing grant to establish a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center site for cybersecurity. Initial topics of research for the center include secure computing architectures, cloud computing security, visualization tools for cyber defense, securing critical infrastructure, wireless security, and malware detection and mitigation. The new cybersecurity site joins the Security and Software Engineering Research Center, which is led by Ball State University and includes a primary site at Iowa State University and now Virginia Tech.
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Stephanie Nicole "Nikki" Lewis, a graduate student in Virginia Tech's interdisciplinary doctoral program in genetics, bioinformatics, and computational biology
Student awarded grant to study diabetes, obesity
Stephanie Nicole "Nikki" Lewis, a graduate student in Virginia Tech's interdisciplinary doctoral program in genetics, bioinformatics, and computational biology, received the prestigious Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Predoctoral Research from the National Institutes of Health. The award is for her study of a cellular signaling receptor that is associated with chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and inflammatory bowel disease. Because current drugs result in adverse side effects, the search for drugs targeting the receptor is urgently needed.
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Green500 list shows more supercomputers going green
The newly released Green500 List shows a continuing rapid improvement in environmentally friendly supercomputers around the world, according to Wu Feng, associate professor of computer science and electrical and computer engineering at Virginia Tech. Founded by Feng and Kirk W. Cameron, associate professor of computer science, the Green500 List has ranked the energy efficiency of the world's 500 fastest supercomputers since debuting in 2007, serving as a complement to the well-known supercomputer industry marker TOP500. The list is released twice a year, in June and in November.
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Kathy Hosig, associate professor of population health sciences
Public health center formed at Tech
The Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment at Virginia Tech announced the formation of the Center for Public Health Practice and Research, to be directed by Kathy Hosig, associate professor of population health sciences. Formerly the Institute for Community Health, the new center was created in response to the increase in health-related research across campus and the new master of public health program. The center's mission is to foster interdisciplinary, collaborative public health practice and research activities at Virginia Tech and among external public health agencies, organizations, practitioners, and researchers.
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Students' hybrid vehicle wins EcoCAR competition
Left to right, members of the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team: John Saffran, Patrick Walsh, Lynn Gantt, Brad Bowman, John Ely, and Andy Karpin. All studied mechanical engineering and since have graduated.
Left to right, members of the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team: John Saffran, Patrick Walsh, Lynn Gantt, Brad Bowman, John Ely, and Andy Karpin. All studied mechanical engineering and since have graduated.
Virginia Tech's Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team (HEVT) won the EcoCAR Challenge, a three-year design competition that sought to inspire science and engineering students in the United States and Canada to build more energy-efficient automobiles. In all, the team of College of Engineering graduate and undergraduate students won 14 awards.

Approximately 66 students—overseen by mechanical engineering Professor Doug Nelson—
re-engineered a 2009 General Motors crossover SUV into a hybrid electric vehicle that boasts the equivalent of 82 miles per gallon.

Prestige, cash prizes, and trophies were not the only benefits of the competition. Ninety percent of the graduating students on the 2010-11 team found jobs right out of school because of their exposure to industry-leading software and hardware tools. "It was an intense 2.5 years for me, but in the end I am a far better engineer because of the experience that EcoCAR and HEVT provided me," said Patrick Walsh, who earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering in spring 2011 and is now a research engineer at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago.

In a three-year competition that started this fall, Nelson is now leading a new student team on EcoCAR 2.

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University expands its research accessibility
by Susan Trulove
Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger at the Virginia Tech Research Center—Arlington grand opening.
The center's visualization room features a 3-D display wall.
Theresa Jefferson, project director for the Center for Technology, Security, and Policy, and research faculty member Jack Harrald visit about a research report on the New Madrid Fault.
Left to right: Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger at the Virginia Tech Research Center—Arlington grand opening; the center's visualization room, which features a 3-D display wall; Theresa Jefferson, project director for the Center for Technology, Security, and Policy, and research faculty member Jack Harrald visit about a research report on the New Madrid Fault.
A new center and an applied research initiative are making Virginia Tech's broad research capabilities even more accessible.

The Virginia Tech Research Center—Arlington opened its doors at 900 N. Glebe Road with a Meet the Scientists event on June 17, a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 24, and an open house on June 26 for the surrounding community, which includes high-technology companies and many of the federal government's leading science and research agencies.

The building is among the best-connected research facilities in the world, incorporating next-generation Internet with direct fiber access to National LambdaRail, Internet 2, and multiple federal networks. Such connectivity links the center to the Blacksburg campus and other major universities and facilities worldwide, and provides a secure data center for high-performance computing-based research.

The highly visible facility expands the university's research portfolio in the National Capital Region and brings together a number of established research centers and institutes, including the Advanced Research Institute; Arlington Innovation Center: Health Research; Center for Geospatial Information Technology; Center for Technology, Security, and Policy; Computational Bioinformatics and Bio-imaging Laboratory; Institute for Science, Culture, and Environment; Hume Center; Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science; Virginia Bioinformatics Institute; and Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.

The Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation (VT-ARC), headquartered in Blacksburg, also has offices in the new Arlington facility. A private nonprofit corporation affiliated with Virginia Tech, VT-ARC was established to foster applied research and development and to manage large contract-research projects.

"We created the Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation as an important feature in Virginia Tech's rise as a world-class research institution," said Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger. "VT-ARC will leverage Virginia Tech research toward solving some of our nation's most critical challenges in intelligence, cyber and IT, national security, health, and energy. As our affiliate, VT-ARC will partner with us to extend the brand and impact of Virginia Tech in new ways and new places. It is my vision to see VT-ARC as the portal to the power of Virginia Tech for government and industry."

Said Tom McNamara, VT-ARC president and CEO, "Intelligence, cybersecurity, and national security are important national challenge areas where VT-ARC will apply advanced technology and engineering through multidisciplinary teams composed to solve complex problems. VT-ARC will develop security strategies, policies, technologies, advanced concepts, applied R&D, and test and evaluation methodologies to enhance our nation's security in these important areas."
Susan Trulove is the public relations manager for the Office of Research. Barbara Micale, public relations manager in Tech's National Capital Region, and VT-ARC personnel contributed to this article.


Go to digital edition »
Fall 2011
We want to see the mementos that remind you of your time at Tech.
DID YOU KNOW that 33,921 donors made a gift to Virginia Tech in 2010? Each gift is the result of a donor's affection for the university, and we want to see the mementos that remind you of your time at Tech. It could be a ticket stub from 1970, a uniform you keep neatly folded in the attic, or the first photo of you and your future spouse on the Drillfield.

Whatever motivated you to give a gift, we want to see it. Send pictures and a brief description to, and they just might end up in an online gallery for our winter 2011-12 edition.

And the winner is ...
The top 10 books and top 20 DVDs checked out from Newman Library in the 2010-11 academic year give us a glimpse into the interests of the Virginia Tech community.


1) "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," Rebecca Skloot

2) "The Girl Who Played with Fire," Stieg Larsson

3) "Dog and Bear: Two Friends, Three Stories," Laura Vaccaro Seeger

4) "Catching Fire," Suzanne Collins

5) "Never Let Me Go," Kazuo Ishiguro

6) "Mockingjay," Suzanne Collins

7) "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," Stieg Larsson

8) "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," Stieg Larsson

9) "Freedom," Jonathan Franzen

10) "The Hunger Games," Suzanne Collins


1) "Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series"

2) "Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Complete Series"

3) "Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain" (Amélie from Montmartre)

4) "Cidade de Deus" (City of God)

5) "Juno"

6) "No Country for Old Men"

7) "Avatar"

8) "Up"

9) "The Hurt Locker"

10) "The Departed"

11) "Up in the Air"

12) "Mad Men, Season Three"

13) "Mad Men, Season Two"

14) "WALL-E"

15) "Gladiator"

16) "V for Vendetta"

17) "Pineapple Express"

18) "The Hangover"

19) "The Bank Job"

20) "Charlie Wilson's War"

Lists compiled by Mary Lucado, circulation supervisor
Preston's new dinner menu
ramps up quality with focus
on fresh, local ingredients
Preston's new dinner menu ramps up quality with focus on fresh, local ingredients
The new dinner menu at Preston's, the restaurant at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center, puts an emphasis on locally grown and produced foods and all-natural ingredients.

"We have begun eliminating packaged or frozen products in favor of local farm-to-table ingredients. Our menu will be updated with fresh, seasonal dishes reflecting a refined American menu concept," said food and beverage director Max Kiebach.

Tech receives high marks
for sustainability
Tech receives high marks for sustainability
Virginia Tech was named one of 16 colleges on The Princeton Review's 2012 Green Rating Honor Roll. The honor means that Virginia Tech achieved the highest possible score in its Green Rating tallies. The survey of 768 schools measured three key areas: whether the school's students have a campus quality of life that is healthy and sustainable; how well the school is preparing its students for employment and citizenship in a world defined by environmental challenges; and the school's overall commitment to environmental issues.

In addition, the university achieved a Silver Rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for performance in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) Program. Virginia Tech received an overall score of 61.94, approximately three points short of the Gold Rating.

In spring 2011, Virginia Tech announced its participation in the STARS rating system in order to measure progress made toward achieving targets outlined in the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment and Sustainability Plan adopted by the board of visitors in 2009.

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