• Fall 2012

    Volume 35, Number 1

    Virginia Tech Magazine, fall 2012
  • Another banner year serving alumni

    Tom Tillar '69

    Hokie loyalty is unique. I hear this sentiment from alumni relations colleagues around the country who compliment our university's alumni engagement and enthusiasm in comparison to their own graduates. This incredible loyalty makes our association quite successful at attracting participation.

    We have more than 225,000 living alumni at present. Some volunteer to fuel the association's engine. Others participate in ways other than our association programs—in the athletic booster program through Hokie clubs, in college programs through advisory boards, and through philanthropy that enables institutional excellence and a growing Virginia Tech Foundation endowment. All of the ways our alumni express their loyalty make Virginia Tech's image enviable. For that, we are eternally grateful.

    Over the past year, our alumni association experienced several firsts in our 137-year history. More than 25,000 alumni—a record number—engaged in programs that we originated or sponsored. This number does not include the tens of thousands more who participated in the other ways mentioned above. Such participation testifies to the rich appreciation alumni have for their education and the high regard they have for how Virginia Tech touches lives. Our chapters have developed scholarship programs since the late 1960s; and this past year, we set records for the most funds raised and awarded. We organize an annual advocacy day at the Virginia General Assembly, and the 2012 event attracted 170 participants, including students—our largest ever.

    Our career resources program continues to help alumni in their job searches or transitions. We also started planning to more extensively engage alumni in the admissions process through their presence at college fairs and using them to enhance the yield of accepted students. Meanwhile, the Drillfield Series continues to grow in popularity, and its programming will be expanded in 2013 to engage our women graduates and our Corps of Cadets alumni.

    A successful year fuels more programs and ideas for the coming year. Take a look at what we have accomplished, and join in.

    Tom Tillar '69
    Vice President for Alumni Relations

    Fall 2012

    Inspiration Then and Now: How an inventive culture defines Virginia Tech—and saves lives

    'Raising an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem': Mentors and capital bolster area's visionaries

    Instant Replay: Naturalistic studies provide clues to decreasing crash fatalities

    Under a Watchful Eye: The legend of the gargoyles

  • Go to digital edition    View or download PDF

    2011-12 Alumni Association Annual Report

    Alumni chapters

    The Alumni Association has about 73 active chapters and 38active clubs with a total of 598 volunteers. Sixty-six chapters awarded 230 freshman scholarships totaling $378,200.

    Chapters and clubs held 822 events, including many featuring university speakers, plus student/family picnics, community service activities, job fairs, and networking events. In-state chapter volunteers supported legislative advocacy efforts at Hokie Day in Richmond.

    Reunions, homecomings, and special events

    Nearly 3,000 alumni attended class reunion weekends, college homecomings, a Corps of Cadets homecoming, a multicultural alumni gathering, a black alumni reunion, and a Graduate School homecoming.

    The annual spring Old Guard Reunion attracted 185 members of the classes of 1937 through 1961. Approximately 1,100 alumni and friends attended other special events, and more than 330 attended special alumni programs, such as the Drillfield Series, Civil War Weekend, and A Day in the Life of College Admissions.

    Serving alumni

    More than 25,000 alumni and friends attended programs. This figure includes chapter events, in addition to reunions, college and other constituency events, and the Drillfield Series.

    Alumni awards

    Since 1972, 115 alumni have been honored by the association for achievement in their careers and service to the Alumni Association, Virginia Tech, and their communities (see the awards summary on page 50). Since 1997, 135 alumni have been honored with the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award.

    Alumni career resources

    Job postings, interview and résumé tips, webinars and seminars, and a career resource library were offered to alumni, in addition to a career-coaches program that features alumni sharing career advice.

    Holtzman Alumni Center

    Thousands of alumni and students participated in various events held at the Holtzman Alumni Center, including open houses during homecoming weekend, a graduation celebration for seniors, a commencement reception, a poetry prize event, and a wine festival. The Alumni Gallery featured three art and photography exhibits. The center's museum continues to be a big draw for visitors.

    Celebrating faculty

    The association recognizes Virginia Tech's leading professors with Faculty Excellence Awards for excellence in teaching, research, advising, outreach, Extension, and international categories (see the awards summary on page 50). The Alumni Distinguished Professor program designates 10 faculty members for exceptional teaching and scholarship. These and other faculty are featured at alumni chapter events, reunions, and special events.

    Alumni tours

    More than 180 Hokies traveled on 19 group tours to locations around the globe, including South Africa, Tahiti, and Europe and Mediterranean cruise locations.

    Supporting students

    The Student Alumni Associates organization, undergraduate class programs, and student transition programs engage students to instill lifelong loyalty to the university.

    The association's scholarship endowment of nearly $2 million, along with other funds raised by alumni chapters, provides merit- and needs-based support for students.

    Students continue to honor the class ring tradition through the annual Ring Dance. A special Blacksburg Transit bus now displays a distinctive bus-wrap advertisement proclaiming, "Wear the Tradition."

    Benefitting from alumni leadership

    By cultivating support among elected officials, Hokies for Higher Education, the legislative advocacy group for Virginia Tech, provides vocal backing on issues of importance for the university and higher education. A record 170 alumni and students visited legislators at the 14th annual Hokie Day at the General Assembly.

    The alumni board of directors meets twice each year to advise the association on programming, evaluate progress toward annual goals and strategies, ensure strong fiscal and administrative management, and help create and expand services to alumni.

    Approximately135chapter volunteers attended the Chapter Officers Leadership Forum, which featured management workshops, a review of best practices, and an emphasis on supporting students. Other leadership-training opportunities were offered through live webinars.

    Alumni Association in print and online

    In addition to the Alumni Association section in each issue of Virginia Tech Magazine, the association continues to reach out to alumni through newsletters, event announcements, the association's website, email communications, social media sites, and career resources postings.

    Embracing Ut Prosim (That I May Serve)

    The Hokie Nation Serves initiative encourages the commitment of service hours beyond normal obligations, especially during the month of April. In April, 54 alumni chapters participated in 111 community service projects. At the fall Chapter Officers Leadership Forum, volunteers joined with local scholarship recipients to write letters of support to the troops serving overseas.

    Alumni Awards

    William H. Ruffner Medal
    Samuel L. Lionberger Jr. '62

    University Distinguished Achievement Award
    Joseph R. Loring '48

    Alumni Distinguished Service Awards
    Jean Harshbarger Dodge '74
    John R. Lawson II '75

    Graduate Alumni Achievement Award
    Satish V. Kulkarni '72

    Graduate Student Awards

    Teaching Award
    Stephanie Voshell, biology
    Megan Fisher O'Neill, English (honorable mention)

    Service Award
    William Collins, civil and environmental engineering
    Megan Stuart, population health sciences (honorable mention)

    Outstanding Recent Alumni Awards

    Mark A. Cline '99, '02, '05, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
    Ryan C. Eargle '06, College of Architecture and Urban Studies
    Michael H. Aldrich '02, Pamplin College of Business
    Maurizio Porfiri '00, '06, College of Engineering
    Erica M. Santana '05, College of Natural Resources and Environment
    Guillermo F. Trincado '06, College of Natural Resources and Environment
    P. Gavan O'Shea '02, College of Science
    Jared D. Taylor '02, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine

    Awards for Faculty Excellence

    Graduate Academic Advising
    Marc A. Edwards, civil and environmental engineering

    Undergraduate Academic Advising
    Deborah L. Pollio, engineering education

    Dini M. Miller, entomology
    D. Scott Jessee, Russell County Extension agent

    International Education
    Patricia P. Kelly, educational research and outreach

    International Outreach
    Akshay Sharma, School of Architecture + Design

    International Research
    Michael Saffle, music and humanities

    Carl E. Zipper, crop and soil environmental sciences

    T. Daniel Crawford, chemistry
    Stephen R. Prince, theatre and cinema

    Alan S. Weinstein, music
    Jane A. Wemhoener, English

    William E. Wine Awards in Teaching
    Billie F. Lepczyk, theatre and cinema
    Mitzi R. Vernon, School of Architecture + Design
    Jackson R. Webster, biological sciences

    Chapter Awards

    Outstanding Chapter Awards
    Alleghany Highlands, Annapolis, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Central Florida, Central Pennsylvania, Charleston (S.C.), Charlotte, Chattanooga, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbia (S.C.), Dallas/Fort Worth, Danville, Denver, East Tennessee, First State, Franklin County/Smith Mountain Lake, Fredericksburg, Grand Strand/Myrtle Beach, Houston, Iowa, Jacksonville, Kentuckiana, Knoxville, Loudoun County, Middle Tennessee, Minnesota, National Capital Region, N.C. Triad, New Jersey, New York City, Palmetto, Patrick Henry, Prince William, Research Triangle, Richmond, Roanoke Valley, Rockbridge, San Antonio, San Diego, Seattle, Shenandoah, South Florida, Tampa Bay, The Villages, Tideneck, Tidewater, Tri-Cities, Williamsburg

    Achievement Awards
    Augusta, New England, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Southeastern Michigan, Western North Carolina

    Superlative Awards

    Outstanding Chapter Event
    Richmond Chapter, Central Virginia Wine Festival

    Outstanding Community Service Project
    Charlotte Chapter, The Big Event – Charlotte
    Houston Chapter, Elves and More Build-a-Bike Charity Event

    Outstanding Fundraising Event
    Charlotte Chapter, May Fundraisers

    Outstanding Golf Tournament
    Prince William Chapter, Fifth Annual VT Alumni Golf Tournament

    Outstanding Chapter Website
    Atlanta Chapter

    Outstanding Chapter Volunteer
    Ernie Flippo, Denver Chapter
    Steve ('81) and Jean Barry, Middle Tennessee Chapter
    Ron Thompson ('71), Tideneck Chapter

    Most Improved Chapter
    Tideneck Chapter

    Outstanding New Chapter
    Southeastern Michigan Chapter

    Outstanding Chapter Officer
    Allison Elkins '98, Atlanta Chapter
    Chris Bryan '87, San Antonio Chapter

    Hall of Fame, Outstanding Chapter Event
    Alleghany Highlands Chapter, Blue/Gray Banquet

    Col. Wes Fox honored as lifetime member
    Col. Wes Fox

    COL. WES FOX spoke at the Senior Banquet during Military Weekend. Photo by Rock Roszak '71.

    Former Deputy Commandant of Cadets Col. Wes Fox, U.S. Marine Corps (retired), received lifetime honorary membership in the Virginia Tech Alumni Association through official action by the association's board of directors in November 2011. The resolution was formally presented to Fox at the Senior Banquet during Military Weekend held in February. Fox is one of only 81 living recipients of the Medal of Honor. He wore the Marine Corps uniform for more than 50 years, from the time he enlisted during the Korean War until he retired as deputy commandant of cadets in 2001. The banquet was followed by the Military Ball in Squires Student Center.

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