New dean of graduate school named
Karen P. DePauw, dean of the Graduate School at Washington State University, will become dean of Virginia Tech's Graduate School and vice provost for graduate studies on Aug. 1. DePauw, who holds degrees from Whittier College, California State University, and Texas Woman's University, is a tenured full professor with more than 25 years' experience as a faculty member and more than 10 years' experience in university administration. Joseph Merola, acting dean of the Graduate School for the past 15 months, will assume a new role as senior fellow, in which he will lead the implementation of college restructuring efforts.
Back to NEWS

2002 Founders Day honorees
The Tech Board of Visitors bestowed the 2002 William H. Ruffner Medal, the university's highest honor, upon Christopher Kraft (aeronautical engineering '44) in recognition of his service to the university, science, and the nation. As director of flight operations at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Tex., Kraft was responsible for landing men on the moon and returning them safely to Earth. In 1972, he became director of the center, later renamed the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Since his 1982 retirement, Kraft has consulted for several companies and been active in providing leadership to Tech, including serving on the BOV and lending support to the alumni center campaign and the College of Engineering (COE) Committee of 100.

Alexander F. Giacco (chemical engineering '42) and John Grado (industrial engineering '51) received the 2002 Alumni Distinguished Service Award. After leaving Tech, Giacco began a 45-year career with Hercules, Inc., serving terms as its president and chairman of the board. Currently managing director of Axess Corp., Giacco has also found time to serve his alma mater as a member of the BOV, as rector of the board, and as chairman of the Corporate and Foundation Gifts Committee during Tech's last fundraising campaign. A member of the COE Committee of 100, he was inducted into the college's Academy of Engineering Excellence in 2000.

Grado built his career in the paper and printing industry. He worked his way up through the Fitchburg (Massachusetts) Paper Co., later acquired by Litton Industries, and in 1983 bought Fitchburg Paper back from Litton and founded the successful Technographics, which he sold in 1999. His support for the endowment of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) led Tech to rename it in his honor in 2000. In addition to serving on several committees at Tech, Grado also has endowed a professorship in ISE and a scholarship fund that supports 19 students annually.
Back to NEWS

Tech tops in economic development
A new study, "Innovation U: New University Roles in a Knowledge Economy," by the Southern Growth Policies Board shows Virginia Tech as having one of the most comprehensive and successful programs to support state and local economic development. In recognizing the nation's top 12 universities in promoting economic development and technology transfer activities, the study cites Tech for its aggressive and effective efforts in reaching communities and business partners not only in the region but throughout the nation and the world.
Back to NEWS

Engineering students face new requirement
Incoming engineering freshmen are facing an upgraded back-to-school list this fall, when they'll be required to have a laptop computer. About 30 percent of engineering students already have a laptop computer because of convenience of computer access on campus. Campus access is currently available in some classrooms and study areas, and Tech is seeking funds from a bond issue to be voted on this fall to renovate outdated classrooms and add more electrical receptacles.
Back to NEWS

Purcell named "Man of the Year"
Progressive Farmer magazine named Alumni Distinguished Professor Wayne Purcell its Man of the Year in Service to Virginia Agriculture. Purcell was recognized for helping reform the U.S. beef industry and making it more consumer-oriented. He also assisted with the industry's recent reversal of a long decline in market share. Purcell established the Research Institute on Livestock Pricing to fund research on pricing and demand shifts in the livestock economies.
Back to NEWS

Alumni put Tech in Peace Corps top 25
Virginia Tech has made the U.S. Peace Corps' Top 25 list of American colleges and universities with the highest number of alumni currently serving in the corps. Compiled annually, the ranking gained increased significance recently following President George W. Bush's 2002 State of the Union address, which called for the corps to double its volunteers over the next five years. According to the campus recruiter for the Peace Corps, 35 Tech alumni currently serve in 21 countries around the world, and more than 400 entered the corps from 1961 to 2000.
Back to NEWS

Professor named Black Engineer of the Year
Bevlee Watford, associate dean for academic affairs and director of the Office of Minority Engineering Programs (OMEP) for the College of Engineering, received the national 2002 Black Engineer of the Year Award/College Level Educator from the Council of Engineering Deans of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Lockheed Martin Corp., and USBE and Information Technology Magazine. Watford, who became founding director of the OMEP in 1992, has worked to significantly improve the college's recruitment and retention rates for minority students. She also has secured more than $1.5 million in support for OMEP and other undergraduate programs.
Back to NEWS

Giovanni named first Rosa Parks Woman of Courage
Internationally known poet and Virginia Tech University Distinguished Professor of English Nikki Giovanni received the first Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award from Troy State University Montgomery, which houses the new Rosa Parks Museum, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Georgette Norman, director of the museum, noted that "despite the dramatic changes that have occurred in American society since she roared out of the Black Arts Movement, Nikki Giovanni remains determined and committed as ever to the fight for civil rights and equality."
Back to NEWS

Student wins Truman Scholarship
Virginia Tech senior Michael Geruso, who is working toward a triple major in mechanical engineering, philosophy, and political science, has been selected by the Harry S. Truman Foundation to receive a $30,000 merit-based scholarship for use in his senior year and graduate studies. The foundation annually awards scholarships to 75-80 undergraduates who demonstrate extraordinary leadership skills and a strong potential to make a difference through public service. Geruso, who plans to pursue a master's degree in public policy with a focus on technology initiatives, is the second Tech student to become a Truman Scholar; the first was Phallisha Newsome-Horne, a political science major, in 1992.
Back to NEWS

$211 million in donated equipment sets new PACE
Virginia Tech received a record-setting donation of computer-aided design, manufacturing, and engineering software, hardware, and training valued at $211 million from a consortium known as Partners for the Advancement of CAD/CAM/CAE Education (PACE). A corporate partnership between General Motors Corp., Sun Microstems, and EDS, PACE was formed in 1999 to help provide future engineers from key institutions with the education and experience desired by each of the participants. Tech is the 17th university to receive a PACE donation, the group's largest to date.
Back to NEWS

Murray elected to National Academy of Engineering
Thomas M. Murray, the Montague-Betts Professor of Structural Steel Design in the Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), one of the highest honors that can be accorded an engineer. Murray was elected for his leadership in developing criteria for floor serviceability and his major contributions to structural steel design engineering.
Back to NEWS

Two new grads among first Cooke scholars
Sara Hupp (mechanical engineering '02) and Rebecca Weber (biology '02) were among the 50 students who received the first Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Scholarships, each worth as much as $50,000 per year for up to six years of graduate study. The late media mogul Jack Kent Cooke, who owned the Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Redskins, set aside the bulk of his estate to establish the scholarships for students from Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Hupp plans to conduct research in fluid mechanics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Weber will study pediatric medicine at the Medical College of Virginia.
Back to NEWS

Graduate schools rank well in survey
Several of Tech's graduate programs ranked highly in U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Graduate Schools for 2003" survey. The College of Engineering's graduate program moved up two spots to 23rd, its industrial engineering program was ranked eighth in its field by engineering deans, and the college itself was ranked 15th in the nation by corporate recruiters and 18th by engineering deans. The career and technical education program in the College of Human Resources and Education moved up to fifth place after five consecutive years at sixth place among vocational/technical graduate specialties. In the College of Arts and Sciences, the sedimentology/stratigraphy program in the Department of Geological Sciences was ranked ninth, and the applied mathematics program tied for 33rd place.
Back to NEWS

New Alumni Distinguished Professors named
The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors has elevated well-known faculty members Rosemary Blieszner and Charles Reinholtz to the rank of Alumni Distinguished Professor. Along with University Distinguished Professor, this designation is the highest distinction a professor can attain.

Blieszner, professor of gerontology and family studies, previously was honored with the University Alumni Teaching Award and election to the Academy of Teaching Excellence. Her research focuses on relationships in adulthood and old age from the perspectives of gerontology, family studies, psychology, and sociology. She has played a significant role in various faculty governance positions and was appointed by President Charles Steger to serve as university director of strategic planning (2000-01).

Reinholtz, professor of mechanical engineering, has amassed a number of previous honors, including a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation and the Wine Award for Excellence in Teaching from Tech. In 1996, he became the first recipient of the W. S. White Chair for Innovation in Engineering Education. Reinholtz has attracted industry projects and underwriting support for approximately 15 percent of his senior-level graduate students, and over the years has garnered more than $1 million exclusively for student efforts.
Back to NEWS


Tech, Penn State, and Cornell receive grant
A Department of Defense (DOD) grant worth $3 million over three years will allow Virginia Tech, Penn State, and Cornell University to collaborate on an interdisciplinary research project that eventually will lead to the development of new defense technology. The three universities will investigate how branched macromolecules affect physical properties. Specifically, scientists in chemistry, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, and materials science will study these molecules in a number of ways, such as allowing them to reorganize on demand. One application might be military uniforms that are "smart" enough to cool soldiers in extreme heat and automatically provide a barrier to chemical and biological agents.

Employees, students receive 15 patents in 2001
Virginia Tech faculty members, students, and staff received 15 patents, including one plant patent and eight plant variety protection patents, during 2001. Fiscal year 2001 was also a success in terms of returns from intellectual properties. Royalties exceeded $2 million for the first time last year, a 33-percent increase from 2000. The patents were evenly split between technology and life sciences, ranging from nanotechnology applications to an immune response-booster for mammals and poultry to a larger variety of red raspberry. To view the entire array of Tech's intellectual property contributions, go to

Kingston is Virginia Outstanding Scientist of 2002
Recognizing both the medicinal and environmental impacts of chemistry professor David B. I. Kingston's years of research, the Science Museum of Virginia and the Office of the Governor have named him a Virginia Outstanding Scientist of 2002. Kingston was the first chemist in the U.S. to study the chemical qualities of Taxolª, the world's best-selling anticancer drug, which inhibits cell division and is used to treat breast and ovarian cancer. The original source of the drug was the 100-year-old Pacific yew tree, but Kingston's work paved the way for developing a semi-synthetic process to create Taxol. Kingston has studied other natural products for potential medicinal use, preserving knowledge about traditional herbal remedies and providing an argument against tropical forest depletion.

New graduate program created
A new degree program in macromolecular science and engineering will offer master's and doctoral degrees in polymer science and engineering. A $2.7-million National Science Foundation Integrated Graduate Education and Research Training grant will support students in the part of the program focused on polymeric adhesives and composites or their translation into components for construction and civil infrastructure in the U.S. Seven departments from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the College of Natural Resources will participate initially, with the possibility of more departments being added within the next year.

Tech ranks in agricultural research top 10
According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), Virginia Tech once again ranked among the top-10 universities in terms of agricultural research expenditures. Spending increased by more than 6 percent in 2000 at Tech compared to the year before, but despite this difference, the university dropped two places to number 7 in the NSF's nationwide ranking of programs in 2000. Although Virginia Tech's increase in funding is in line with the combined increase for the top 90 agricultural research programs, expenditures for the top 10 institutions increased at a rate of about 13.5 percent. Tech's agricultural research and development program accounts for one-third of the university's research expenditures.

Budget cuts call for reductions; Tech also looking at restructuring
Virginia Tech administrators have created a comprehensive plan to absorb the full impact of statewide budget reductions, including a net budget reduction of $25 million for the 2002-03 fiscal year. The plan, which calls for a reduction of personnel and reinvestment of university resources, was approved on June 4 by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, which also approved a restructuring plan begun late last year. Most of the budget cuts will come from reducing personnel, since approximately 80 percent of Tech's budget is allocated to human resources. An estimated 209 positions will be lost in 2002-03, including faculty, staff, and graduate teaching assistants. Other strategies include reducing operating costs, programs, and services, and shifting costs to auxiliaries such as the Virginia Tech Foundation or to sponsored accounts.

Despite the budget woes, however, a number of proposals will allow for reinvestment of university resources to ensure the integrity of core programs and the potential for future growth:

  • The library will receive a 3 percent increase in funding;
  • A reserve will be set aside to handle enrollment in core courses that are required for first-year students, and other selected courses;
  • Support will go to two major research initiatives considered critical to Tech's goals, the VT Institute for Critical Technologies and the VT Institute for Biomedical and Public Health Research;
  • The arts, humanities, and social sciences will receive funds to accelerate the development of two to three new doctoral programs and to support emerging initiatives;
  • A new Executive MBA Program will be launched for mid- and senior-level professionals.
  • In addition, Tech will continue to support major capital projects that are in progress or planned. Among the projects are a fine arts center, a biology building, a bioengineering building, a second bioinformatics building, a new residence hall, an addition to the G. Burke Johnston Student Center, a new dining hall and student union facility, and the stadium expansion. Williams Hall, Burruss Hall, Agnew Hall, and Henderson Hall will be renovated.
  • A reorganization of the colleges is also planned. Proposals include:
  • Moving the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management into the Pamplin College of Business;
  • Adding the Department of Art and Art History, the interior design component of Near Environments, and, for administrative purposes, the School for Public and International Affairs, to the College of Architecture and Urban Studies;
  • Establishing a new College of Biological, Mathematical, and Physical Sciences, which would then join the College of Natural Resources, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine under an umbrella of "colleges of natural science," which might also include the departments of psychology; economics; and human nutrition, foods, and exercise;
  • Creating a School of Computer Sciences and Information Technology to reflect the growing importance of computer science, computer engineering, and other forms of information technology;
  • Forming a consortium of two colleges—one an outgrowth of the College of Arts and Sciences and one emerging from the College of Human Resources and Education—to address the arts, humanities, social sciences, education, and human resources programs;
  • Organizing a Graduate School of Education to highlight the commitment to science and mathematics education;
  • Creating a "university consortium" to handle the core curriculum and the broader issues associated with undergraduate education, quality of student life, and faculty development.

"The consortium model appears to offer a good way for us to maximize the benefits of common interests without sacrificing external or internal visibility or flexibility," Provost Mark McNamee told faculty and staff members, who were involved in making the recommendations and participated in discussions about the proposed changes, which are expected to happen gradually. Overall, McNamee believes that "the new structures create opportunities and expectations for excellence." "We have challenged ourselves to look critically at our college structures, and we have sought to maintain a focus on major themes that will provide a foundation for enhanced scholarship," notes Tech President Charles Steger. "The unpredictability of state funding reinforces the need to leverage our resources with increased attention to federal, foundation, and private support so that we can attain the margin of excellence we seek. The critical importance of our next capital campaign looms even larger."