Over the years I have been blessed with the opportunity to meet literally thousands of Virginia Tech alumni. Time and again I have been moved by the deep and abiding affection Tech alumni have for their alma mater. You, our former students, one time charges of the faculty and now graduates of this great university, are the reason we exist. As I contemplate life after Virginia Tech, I will cherish memories of you. What follows is my letter to the university board of visitors Feb. 22 announcing my impending retirement.

With a range of mixed feelings but a conviction that the time is right, I wish to announce my decision to retire as president of Virginia Tech, effective December 31, 1999.

As I have said on a number of occasions, my five and a half years of service in this role has been the great adventure of my professional life. It has been more gratifying than I can express to have had the opportunity to lead Virginia Tech and our exceptional community of faculty, staff, and students; to have been invited to serve as ambassador for this distinguished university; and to have met and worked with so many of our alumni and friends across the state, the nation, and around the world.

I will leave it to others to assess the degree to which I have been successful in all these endeavors. I do take satisfaction in my belief that the university is now extremely well positioned to address the academic, technological, and economic challenges of the near future. I step toward my retirement confident that our university has a vital future in store.

It is my confidence in that future that leads me to choose this particular time to make my announcement. I want to make it possible for you to conduct your search for a successor under the most advantageous circumstances. I have no doubt that the presidency of Virginia Tech will be an especially attractive position at this time, given our recent successes on a number of fronts.

Following my retirement, I do plan to continue to teach part time on a voluntary basis in the College of Engineering, if they will have me. In the meantime, I remain committed to giving my very best as president for the remainder of my term.

Finally, I extend to each of you and to each board member who has served with me, my deepest appreciation for your unfailing encouragement, support, and leadership. On behalf of Dot and myself, I thank you for having given us this splendid opportunity to serve the institution we both love so much.

Paul E. Torgersen

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