• Fall 2013

    Volume 36, Number 1

    Virginia Tech Magazine, fall 2013

  • The legacy of a friend

    Tom Tillar '69

    Normally my fall commentary is centered on the past year of Alumni Association programs, which are summarized annually. They are on the following pages of this issue. Indeed, it was another successful year, partly due to a donor who matched the scholarship dollars raised by our alumni chapters, virtually doubling the amount awarded during 2011-12. This dollar-for-dollar match was made possible by Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger, long an advocate for student support generated by our chapters. This is but one example of the visionary leadership that my friend and colleague has provided our alma mater for about four decades.

    Little did two freshmen know when we first met in 1965 that we would spend our careers serving Virginia Tech. Charles and I were hall mates that year and in several classes together. We continue to observe a pact we made as freshmen never to reveal the indiscretions of our youth! In our early friendship I observed very special qualities in him. Now, the entire universe of Tech alumni and thousands more have observed that same passion for our university and so many examples of his strategic leadership. Without question, his legacy will be one of providing transformative leadership as Virginia Tech's third-longest-serving president.

    Charles and I were students during the administration of T. Marshall Hahn Jr., experiencing the university's transformative years of growing enrollment, attracting faculty with strong credentials, advancing research and scholarship, and strengthening athletic programs and facilities. We both served in the following administrations of presidents Bill Lavery, Jim McComas, and Paul Torgersen, as Charles built on the foundation his predecessors laid to move Virginia Tech higher in the rankings with expanded enrollment and programs. Charles served as a key leader in each of those three administrations. His experience helped shape his vision for transforming the university to higher levels of excellence. His management style has been one of choosing leaders to help him accomplish goals, inspiring them, and finding resources to help them be successful. A truly resolute leader, Charles takes the long view on how to strategically accomplish goals in measured stages, wisely allocating limited resources across myriad programs to advance them in total.

    Through our years working together, Charles has always been able to view challenges with optimism, placing great faith in what our university can be on the global stage. His actions and legacy have proven that. Today Virginia Tech is among the very best with many top-ranked programs, expanded facilities, the brightest scholars, soaring research, a new medical school, and membership in the competitive Atlantic Coast Conference. The university is truly an exceptional value in the higher-education marketplace.

    Charles has been blessed to be supported by his partner and wife of 44 years, Janet, and their sons, Christopher and David. His devotion to his family has always been his highest priority and they have supported his 24/7 commitment to the presidency as well as his earlier roles in the administration. His immediate family, along with his brother, two sisters, and their families, have stood with him throughout his career. In joyful times as well as in the university's darkest days, Charles could not have had a more loving family to support him. I remember his closing remarks in a speech at Commencement during very challenging times for the Hokie Nation—four powerful words, "I love you all." Indeed, he does love the Hokie Nation, and he has proven that, with more than 48 years committed to his alma mater since he first set foot on campus. His is a legacy that all associated with Virginia Tech will celebrate for decades to come.

    A grateful friend,

    Tom Tillar '69
    Vice President for Alumni Relations

    Dave Hunt, Communications Director
    Shirley Fleet, Class Notes Editor

    Fall 2013

    The Architect of Growth: The legacy of a visionary president

    Elevating the Arts: A preview of the Center for the Arts' grand opening

    Wheel Whisperers: Smart Road talks to vehicles—all in the name of safety

    Tech-Savvy Success in the Heart of Blacksburg

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    2012-13 Annual Report

    Virginia Tech Alumni Association Annual Report, 2012-13

    Alumni Awards
    William H. Ruffner Medal
    Michele "Shelley" Duke

    University Distinguished Achievement Award
    Tracy D. Wilkins

    Alumni Distinguished Service Awards
    Ben J. Davenport Jr. (business administration '64)
    David E. Lowe (business administration '63)

    Graduate Alumni Achievement Award
    Dhruv Grewal (M.B.A. '85, Ph.D. business, marketing '89)

    Superlative Awards

    Outstanding Chapter Event
    Denver – Inaugural Denver Hokie Ski Day at A-Basin

    Outstanding Community Service Project
    Denver – Hokies Adopt a Denver Family at Christmas

    Outstanding Golf Tournament
    Grand Strand/Myrtle Beach – 2013 Virginia Tech Myrtle Beach Golf Tournament

    Innovation Award
    Baltimore – VTea Event with Random House

    Broadening Alumni Engagement Award
    New River Valley – "Behind the Scenes" Campus Events

    Most Improved Chapter

    Outstanding New Chapter

    Outstanding Chapter Volunteer
    Doug Ewell (mathematics '80), Shenandoah

    Outstanding Chapter Officer
    Rachael Spruill (English '09), San Diego

    Awards for Faculty Excellence

    Graduate academic advising
    Subhash C. Sarin, industrial and systems engineering

    Undergraduate academic advising
    Andrew S. Becker, foreign languages and literature

    Jennifer L. Gagnon, forest resources and environmental conservation

    International education
    Glenn R. Bugh, history

    International outreach
    Kathleen A. Alexander, fisheries and wildlife science

    International research
    Russell A. Green, civil and environmental engineering

    Shannon E. Jarrott, human development

    Outreach (team)
    John W. Blankenship Jr., Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE)-Tazewell County; Jocelyn D. Dailey, VCE-Goochland County; Brian L. Hairston, VCE-Henry County; Jeremy C. Johnson, VCE-James City County; Robert R. Meadows, 4-H director emeritus; Tonya T. Price, VCE-Northern District; Glenda M. Snyder, Extension agent emerita

    Jeffrey R. Walters, biological sciences
    Joseph C. Pitt, philosophy

    Marlene M. Preston, communication
    Lisa M. Tucker, interior design

    William E. Wine Awards in teaching
    Anthony T. Cobb, management
    Joseph S. Merola, chemistry
    Daniel B. Thorp, history

    Graduate student teaching
    Kevin Buffardi, computer science
    Brandon Bear, physics (honorable mention)

    Graduate student service
    Zenithson Ng, biomedical and veterinary sciences
    Shane McCarty, psychology (honorable mention)

    Outstanding Recent Alumni Awards

    John L. Koontz (food science and technology '00, M.S. '03, Ph.D. '08)
    College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

    Jonathan B. Eisen (architecture '90, M.S. architecture '91)
    College of Architecture and Urban Studies

    Maria V. Anderson (business information technology '09)
    Pamplin College of Business

    Robert E. Bishop (mining engineering '02)
    College of Engineering

    Sastry V.S. Kompella (Ph.D. computer engineering '06)
    College of Engineering

    Robert L. Fried (political science '09)
    College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences

    Amanda Rosenberger (Ph.D. fisheries and wildlife '03)
    College of Natural Resources and Environment

    Matthew D. Shoulders (chemistry '04)
    College of Science

    Kristi D. Graves (Ph.D. psychology '02)
    College of Science

    Jennifer A. Landolfi (D.V.M. '03)
    Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine

    Outstanding Chapter Awards

    Alleghany Highlands, Atlanta, Charlotte, Denver, National Capital Region, San Antonio, Seattle, Tidewater

    First State, Kentuckiana, Minnesota, N.C. Triad, Shenandoah

    Baltimore, Central Florida, Central Pennsylvania, Charleston, Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Columbia, Dallas/Fort Worth, East Tennessee, Emporia/Roanoke Rapids, Franklin County/Smith Mountain Lake, Fredericksburg, Grand Strand/Myrtle Beach, Houston, Jacksonville, Knoxville, Middle Tennessee, New River Valley, Palmetto, Prince William, Research Triangle, Richmond, Roanoke Valley, Rockbridge, San Diego, San Francisco Bay Area, South Florida, Tampa Bay, The Villages, Tideneck, Williamsburg

    An address from Alumni Association Board President Matt Winston

    Matthew M. Winston Jr. '90

    It is with great pleasure and overwhelming humility that I begin my tenure in this new role as president of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association Board of Directors. Our Alumni Association has celebrated many successes over the years, delivering strong programming and services while operating with a high level of financial strength and viability. This is due to the careful stewardship and professionalism of Vice President for Alumni Relations Tom Tillar and the entire staff who serve our alma mater.

    It is because of all those accomplishments, and especially the dedication of Hokies around the world, that I am excited about what lies ahead for our association and all we might accomplish together. Our goal is to further advance the mission of the association and contribute to the overall success of our great university.

    Unlike what you might find at other colleges, your membership in our Alumni Association requires no dues. I encourage you to take advantage of that and become engaged. Find an alumni chapter close to you. Volunteer and get involved in its activities, happy hours, and service projects. Help with the philanthropies that help fund projects for local communities or scholarships for the next class of Hokies. Come back to campus for reunions and activities hosted by the Alumni Association. Whatever you wish to do and however you wish to go about it, your goals can be accomplished with the support and camaraderie of your fellow alumni. Again, thank you for your service to the Virginia Tech Alumni Association and to our beloved alma mater. Go, Hokies!

    Cotillion Club 100th

    Cotillion Club

    In April, Cotillion Club alumni celebrated the 100th anniversary of the club's 1913 founding on campus. In 1970, the club transitioned into Pi Kappa Alpha, reactivating the fraternity's Epsilon chapter, which was originally founded on campus in 1873. The organization had a healthy rivalry with the German Club (founded in 1892), sponsoring formal dance weekends and jointly producing concerts.

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