• Fall 2014

    Volume 37, Number 1

    Virginia Tech Magazine, fall 2014

  • Alumni networking strengthens the Hokie Nation

    Tom Tillar '69

    For most of our Alumni Association's nearly 140-year history, we have focused on creating networking opportunities for alumni, and that focus remains true today. Enabling alumni to connect in person and online is critical in today's society—and highly valued by our alumni. Networking, particularly among those who share an alma mater, offers opportunities that otherwise might remain undiscovered. Apps, Google, and Twitter don't seem to allow the benefits of more personal exchanges, but in-person networking often leads to business relationships, collaboration, intellectual discovery, and richer social interaction.

    The Alumni Association's approach to networking is multifaceted. Through specific networking events, alumni come together in their communities and learn more about each others' interests and careers. Most often, the events are for all alumni who are able to gather and get acquainted. Other events may be centered on a particular profession or academic discipline. Our alumni chapters are committed to staging more of these opportunities around the country. To make sure you learn about upcoming events, please confirm that your address and email are current via the link at A list of chapters, which follows on page 50, can also be accessed online in an interactive map that links directly to chapter contact information.

    On the Web, the Hokie Nation Network enables alumni to connect via a free online directory. On LinkedIn, where more than 120,000 Hokies are registered, there is a Virginia Tech-specific networking community. The association's career resources program encourages networking through LinkedIn, including listing internship and job notices for Hokies. Throughout the year, career webinars showcase speakers who offer tips on job-searching, interviewing, marketing yourself, and more. Refer to the webinar schedule link on our website, where past programs are archived for your viewing. All of these resources are provided for free by the Alumni Association.

    Networking with other dedicated and helpful alumni is among the most significant benefits of membership in the Hokie Nation. Virginia Tech graduates are frequently described as displaying uncommon school spirit and loyalty. "It may be hard to describe, but you know it when you see it" is a sentiment we often hear. Maybe it's a shared work ethic. Maybe it's the bond of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). Maybe it's recalling a special professor who mentored you and encouraged a particular career path. Or maybe it's simply trusting a fellow Hokie whom you met while networking.

    Tom Tillar '69
    Vice President for Alumni Relations

    Dave Hunt, Communications Director
    Shirley Fleet, Class Notes Editor
  • 2015 Drillfield Series

    Feb. 20-21: Food For Thought

    This delectable food and wine-pairing weekend features hands-on cooking in the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management kitchen.

    March 20-21: What Fuels Our Planet?

    Hear perspectives on energy sources from Virginia Tech faculty and graduate students, including tours of energy research facilities.

    June 5-6: The Rich Heritage of Southwest Virginia

    Enjoy lectures and tours of regional homes in this historical look at the pioneers who settled the area in the 18th and 19th centuries, leading to the founding of Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (today's Virginia Tech).

    July 10-11: Alumni and Legacy Weekend

    The "Day in the Life of College Admissions" program assists 2016 and 2017 high school graduates and their parents in navigating the application process.

    July 17-18: Women's Weekend

    Connect and celebrate with women who love Virginia Tech. Join us for an enjoyable weekend of fun, relaxation, networking, and enlightenment with alumnae, friends, families, and fans, as well as faculty, administrators, and students.

    Other 2015 events

    May 20-22
    Old Guard alumni reunion, which includes special anniversaries for the classes of 1945, 1950, 1955, and 1960

    June 15
    3rd Annual Hokie Classic Golf Tournament, Pete Dye River Course

    June 27
    2nd Annual Summer Beer Festival at Virginia Tech

    Accommodations at The Inn at Virginia Tech are available for all events.

    Fall 2014

    Sowing the Future: How Virginia Tech will provide food and fresh water for a growing population

    Campus Canines: Exploring the human-animal bond at Virginia Tech

    Sparks: Creative space offers entrepreneurs "time, space, and permission"

    The Voyager: Alumna never turns down adventure

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    2013-14 annual report by the numbers

    289 class reunions, college homecomings, constituency events, and Drillfield Series events on campus

    54 alumni chapters conducted 162 community service projects, enriching their communities in the spirit of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve)

    580 volunteers assisted alumni chapters and helped at reunions and other events

    22 faculty members received Alumni Association awards for excellence and related stipends

    175 alumni and students visited with Virginia legislators at the annual Hokie Day

    155 scholarships were presented to freshmen by alumni chapters

    41 total awards were presented to faculty, students, and alumni

    927 chapter and club events were held to engage alumni

    322 alumni travelers participated in 33 global and domestic tours

    4,500 attended class reunions, college homecomings, corps alumni events, multicultural alumni events, and Drillfield Series events on campus

    2,700 alumni and friends participated in programs around the nation and abroad

    110 members of Student Alumni Associates helped with Alumni Association events

    Alumni awards

    William H. Ruffner Medal
    G. Robert "Bob" Quisenberry (statistics '62)

    University Distinguished Achievement Award
    Robert Lewis Turner (architecture '72)

    Alumni Distinguished Service Awards
    Curry A. Roberts (political science '80)
    Wayne H. Robinson (finance '80)

    Graduate Alumni Achievement Award
    John P. Grotzinger (Ph.D. geological sciences '85)

    Awards for faculty excellence

    Graduate academic advising
    Srinath Ekkad, mechanical engineering

    Undergraduate academic advising
    Rosemary C. Goss, apparel, housing, and resource management

    Kelly J. Liddington, unit coordinator and senior Extension agent
    Brian L. Benham, biological systems engineering

    International education
    Andrew S. Becker, foreign languages and literature
    Trudy H. Becker, history

    International outreach
    LuAnn R. Gaskill, apparel, housing, and resource management

    International research
    Nancy G. McGehee, hospitality and tourism management

    Michael S. Rosenzweig, biological sciences

    Outreach (team)
    Shamindri M. Arachchige, chemistry
    Karen J. Brewer, chemistry

    Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, religion and culture
    Shashank Priya, mechanical engineering

    Dana M. Hawley, biological sciences
    Terry Lynn Clements, architecture and design

    William E. Wine Awards in teaching
    Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, religion and culture
    Wing F. Ng, mechanical engineering
    Donald J. Orth, fish and wildlife conservation

    Graduate student teaching
    Kelli Karcher, mathematics
    Marwa K. Abdel Latif, chemistry
    Paige H. Horst, curriculum and instruction (honorable mention)
    Stephanie Houston, biological systems engineering (honorable mention)

    Graduate student service
    Natasha Amanda Cox, human development

    Outstanding Recent Alumni awards

    Kimberly Lane Tabor Kreitlow (Ph.D. entomology '04)
    College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

    Steven A. Sanderson (industrial design '02)
    College of Architecture and Urban Studies

    Thomas J. Fast (management and finance '06)
    Pamplin College of Business

    David O. Childress (civil engineering '06)
    College of Engineering

    Pardha Saradhi Pyla (M.S. computer engineering '02, Ph.D. computer science and application '07)
    College of Engineering

    Atia Abawi Powell (communication '03)
    College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences

    Jeremy P. Stovall (Ph.D. forestry '10)
    College of Natural Resources and Environment

    Abhishek Roy (Ph.D. macromolecular science and engineering '08)
    College of Science

    Melinda G. McCall (D.V.M. '04)
    Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

    Chapter awards

    Outstanding Chapter awards

    Alleghany Highlands, Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Denver, First State, Houston, Minnesota, National Capital Region, Richmond, Roanoke Valley, San Antonio, Seattle, Tidewater

    Central Florida, Chicago, Fredericksburg, Kentuckiana, N.C. Triad, New River Valley, Palmetto

    Chattanooga, Columbia, Dallas/Fort Worth, East Tennessee, Emporia/Roanoke Rapids, Franklin County/Smith Mountain Lake, Grand Strand/Myrtle Beach, Jacksonville, Rockbridge, San Diego, Shenandoah, Tampa Bay, The Villages, Tideneck, Triangle, Williamsburg

    Superlative awards

    Outstanding Chapter Event
    Baltimore – 46th annual Baltimore Hokies Crabfeast

    Outstanding Community Service Project
    Tidewater – The Big Event 2014

    Outstanding Golf Tournament
    Charlotte – 15th annual Charlotte Virginia Tech Alumni Golf Classic

    Outstanding Fundraising Event
    San Diego – San Diego Hokies Raffle and Silent Auction

    Outstanding Chapter Website
    New River Valley –

    Innovation Award
    North Alabama – An Evening with the Commandant

    Broadening Alumni Engagement Award
    Baltimore – Fun Run to Support Change

    Most Improved Chapter
    North Alabama

    Outstanding New Chapter
    Greenville, N.C.

    Outstanding Chapter Volunteer
    Jina Gaines (communication '03, M.A. '05), Tidewater
    Yvette Johnson (business information technology '05, M.I.T. '11), National Capital Region

    Outstanding Chapter Officer
    Debbie Barackman-Flippo (marketing management '83), Denver

    Hall of Fame Award
    Richmond-Central Virginia Wine Festival

    A message from Alumni Association President Matt Winston

    Matthew M. Winston Jr. '90

    The more things change, well, the more they change. This year, our alma mater has witnessed and embraced a great deal of change as we continue to grow. Of course, the most significant change is the transition of leadership as we welcome new president Timothy Sands to the helm. President Sands hit the ground running, bringing new ideas and energy to the institution while building upon the many accomplishments of his predecessor, Charles W. Steger, as well as all of the presidents who have served since our founding in 1872. I know that you join me in your support of our new leader. I have assured him that there is no stronger alumni network in the land than that of the Hokie Nation, and we stand with him as Virginia Tech prepares to soar to new heights.

    We also welcome two new leaders in the athletic program, Athletic Director Whit Babcock and men's basketball head coach Buzz Williams. The success of the athletic enterprise and the student-athletes who represent us on and off the field is of high interest to our alumni. The work of these leaders, along with the entire athletic staff, continues to shine. The change that matters the most is in our growing Hokie Nation. At the spring Commencement, Virginia Tech released another 5,500 bright young minds to go "conquer the world." President Steger served us admirably for more than 14 years, and his signature is on almost 107,000 Virginia Tech diplomas—nearly half of our living alumni. And with each graduating class, we become larger and more diverse. As we change, our Alumni Association is prepared to meet the challenges and needs of our newest alumni.

    What will not change is our Alumni Association's desire and ability to deliver strong programming and services that cater to Hokies of all backgrounds, professions, and lifestyles—both on campus and in the communities, where they form strong, vibrant alumni chapters. Our highest priority is engaging and serving all alumni so that together we can contribute to the overall success of the university. Another magical year lies ahead for Virginia Tech, and the world will continue to take note of all that our Hokie Nation can accomplish. Remain connected to our beloved alma mater, and let it remain connected to you. Go, Hokies!

    2015 travel tours

    Hall of Mirrors, Versailles
    Safaris, Sands, and Saris
    Go Next, Oceania Cruises' Nautica
    Jan. 5-Feb. 5 • $9,999* (air included)

    Mystical Andes and Majestic Fjords
    Go Next, Oceania Cruises' Marina
    Feb. 2-23 • $5,999* (air included)

    Caribbean Paradise
    Go Next, Oceania Cruises' Riviera
    Feb. 23-March 5 • $2,799* (air included)

    Paris Immersion
    April 6-17 • $3,295*

    Cuban Discovery
    Go Next
    April 9-17 • $5,399*

    A Toast to Provence and Burgundy
    Go Next, A-ROSA Stella
    May 1-9 • $3,669*

    Waterways and Canals of Holland and Belgium
    May 2-10 • $2,495*

    Isles and Empires of the Adriatic
    Go Next, Oceania Cruises' Riviera
    May 2-11 • $2,999* (air included)

    Southern Culture and Civil War
    Go Next, American Queen
    May 14-23 • $4,699*

    Sicily – Alumni Campus Abroad
    May 15-24 • $2,795*

    River Routes and Channel Crossings
    Go Next, Oceania Cruises' Marina
    May 18-June 3 • $5,299* (air included)

    Exotic Mediterranean
    Go Next, Oceania Cruises' Nautica
    May 19-31 • $3,999* (air included)

    Essential Europe Grad Trip
    Alumni World Travel
    May 22-June 9 • $3,725*

    Swiss Alps and the Italian Lakes
    June 5-14 • $3,295*

    Pearls of the Mediterranean
    Go Next, Oceania Cruises' Riviera
    June 15-23 • $2,699* (air included)

    Normandy – Alumni Campus Abroad
    July 1-9 • $2,895*

    Coastal Alaska
    Go Next, Oceania Cruises' Regatta
    July 7-14 • $2,299* (air included)

    Passage of Lewis and Clark Expedition
    Go Next, American Steamboat Company's American Empress
    July 18-26 • $3,795*

    Nordic Pathways
    Go Next, Oceania Cruises' Marina
    Aug. 1-14 • $5,499* (air included)

    Baltic Marvels
    Go Next, Oceania Cruises' Nautica
    Aug. 19-27 • $2,999* (air included)

    Coastal Maine and New Brunswick
    Aug. 26-Sept. 2 • $3,895*

    Tuscany – Alumni Campus Abroad
    Sept. 16-24 • $2,795*

    Jewels of the Aegean and Holy Lands
    Go Next, Oceania Cruises' Riviera
    Sept. 16-27 • $4,299* (air included)

    Iberian Princes and Palaces
    Go Next, Oceania Cruises' Marina
    Oct. 23-Nov. 3 • $3,799* (air included)

    Country Music
    Go Next, American Steamboat Company's American Queen
    Oct. 24-Nov. 1 • $2,699*

    Mediterranean Artistic Discoveries
    Go Next, Oceania Cruises' Riviera
    Nov. 6-18 • $3,999* (air included)

    More information »

    * Dates and prices are subject to change. Pricing is based per person on double occupancy without air, except as noted. Free air is based from select North American gateway cities. The Alumni Association encourages all alumni to consider purchasing travel insurance.

    Virginia Tech Magazine

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    © 2014 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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