Alumni Commentary

A year to remember

by Matthew M. Winston Jr. '90
Matthew M. Winston Jr. '90

By the time you read this, I will be concluding my first year as Virginia Tech's chief alumni officer, and oh, the things I have seen.

I watched as more than 7,000 students and their families celebrated earning their degrees and officially joining the alumni ranks.

During these past 11 months, I saw some of Virginia Tech's most amazing students reaching new heights of community service by raising more than $500,000 to battle cancer through Relay For Life and volunteering by the thousands on a cold, snowy winter's day during The Big Event. I watched as more than half of the Class of 2017 continued the grand tradition of exchanging class rings at Ring Dance last spring and enjoyed being with the Class of 2018 this fall as their ring design was revealed.

I have observed the powers of discovery and service as Professor Marc Edwards and his team of students and researchers saved the town of Flint, Michigan, from water contamination.

I have enjoyed sharing with others Virginia Tech's rise in rankings designating our campus community as among the most healthy, the most beautiful, the best buys, having the best food, giving students the best opportunities for jobs, and being the most committed to effective diversity programs.

I have watched the university celebrate the legacy of a legend in former head football coach and fellow alumnus, Frank Beamer, and embrace the new head coach, Justin Fuente.

I have seen the construction of phenomenal facilities, like the Corps of Cadets' Pearson Hall and the new academic facility across from the Holtzman Alumni Center. These buildings will continue to transform the way Virginia Tech students live and learn.

Best of all, I have watched Hokie alumni, young and old, demonstrate success in every endeavor imaginable. Hokies have rung the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, climbed the peaks of the world's highest mountains, and earned Olympic medals.

Our students, faculty, staff, and graduates are capable of doing extraordinary things, and they have an unwavering love for their alma mater.

Now more than ever, Virginia Tech will depend on you to serve her. My wish for you is that you get the chance to nurture or rekindle your relationship with your university and the fellow members of your Hokie family in your communities and around the globe. Remain connected, remain involved, remain engaged. The world will reward you for it; your heart will thank you for it.

Matthew M. Winston Jr. (marketing management '90) is senior associate vice president for alumni relations.