• Winter 2014-15

    Volume 37, Number 2

    Virginia Tech Magazine, winter 2014-15

  • A motto with real meaning

    Tom Tillar '69

    Since President Timothy Sands arrived on campus more than seven months ago, he has made several astute observations about Virginia Tech based on his perspectives of other institutions he has attended or served. One of those observations involves how our university motto is woven so tightly into the fabric of the university and the entire Hokie Nation. Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), adopted in the late 1800s, is both a life value and a commitment of paramount importance to students, faculty, and staff. For alumni, the motto remains embedded in their lives and is practiced daily through their professions, volunteerism, and commitments to family and personal relationships.

    President Sands' discovery is a refreshing observation and a confirmation of a phenomenon we generally take for granted. Yet there are many examples of how our university benefits from the service rendered by its campus family and its many thousands of alumni spread across the globe. We are fortunate to have a culture of service that is instilled in every student and faculty and staff member, often extending into their lives beyond Tech.

    Service at Virginia Tech is best illustrated by the philanthropic and volunteer service projects performed by students, both within student organizations and on a collective basis. Thousands of students come together for large-scale events, such as the annual Big Event, where they perform up to 1,000 service projects on a single Saturday. For a number of years, Relay For Life has been staged as a 24-hour event that raises in excess of $500,000 annually, setting consecutive national collegiate fundraising records for cancer research.

    In communities around the world, our alumni engage in every conceivable avenue of service to better their communities and the quality of the human condition. Many of our alumni chapters engage in service activities, and they continue to increase both their hours of service and numbers of projects adopted each year. There is no better tribute to our university than those who honor our motto by living it each day and building on the reputation that so easily captured the attention of our new president. He discovered in his first days on campus that Virginia Tech truly is "for life," an attitude which includes a motto that is practiced with pride and real passion.

    Tom Tillar '69
    Vice President for Alumni Relations

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

    The Drillfield Series continues in 2015 with weekends devoted to fine dining, energy, the history and legacy of Southwest Virginia, student applicants, and a women's weekend, along with special events to connect with fellow alumni for a golf tournament or a microbrew festival. Make plans now to attend these events designed for alumni and their families and friends, and take advantage of the specially discounted accommodations available at The Inn at Virginia Tech.

    Food for Thought »
    Feb. 20-21

    Experience a taste of the Southern Hemisphere at the Alumni Association's annual food and wine-pairing weekend. Enjoy a light, healthy lunch paired with delicious labels from Australia and New Zealand. A food demonstration by The Grove chef and a wine presentation are also included. At dinner, partake in a progressive sequence of locally sourced food inspired by the flavors of Latin America and enhanced by wines from Chile, Argentina, and more. A Friday option (for an additional $35) includes preparing a meal with an executive chef at one of Tech's award-winning dining halls.
    $150 per person

    What Fuels our Planet? »
    March 20-21

    At panel discussions with Virginia Tech faculty and industry representatives, hear unbiased perspectives on the energy sources that power the planet. Tour Virginia Tech's energy research facilities. Learn how technology advancements are creating new opportunities to harness alternative energy sources and how developments at the university have the potential to change local communities and the world. The weekend culminates with the Union Bank Innovation Challenge, at which student teams will present business plans focused on clean energy.
    $150 per person

    Smithfield Plantation

    The Rich Heritage of Southwest Virginia »
    June 5-6

    Enjoy lectures and tours of regional homes in this historical look at the pioneers who settled the area in the 18th and 19th centuries, influencing the origin of Virginia Tech. Highlights include a lunch and tour at Smithfield Plantation, the original home of four Virginia governors, with a presentation on the contributions of Col. William Preston and the opening of Kentucky lands for settlement by colonists pushing westward. James I. Robertson Jr., author and Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus, will be among the featured speakers.
    $150 per adult; $100 per child age 5-12

    Alumni and Legacy Weekend »
    July 10-11

    The "Day in the Life of College Admissions" program assists 2016 and 2017 high school graduates and their parents in navigating the application process. Program highlights include pointers for conducting an effective college search, a behind-the-scenes look at college admissions, and application preparation tips from admissions professionals.
    $130 per adult; $100 per student

    Women's Weekend at Tech »
    July 17-19

    Connect to self, to others, and to Virginia Tech. Feed the soul, enlighten the mind, and invigorate the body as we connect and network with alumnae, women friends, family members, and fans, as well as faculty, administrators, staff, and students. You will engage and celebrate with women who love Virginia Tech, while getting to know several of our women leaders, including Professor Laura P. Sands, the university's first lady, and Board of Visitors Rector Deborah Petrine (business administration '78). Join in this special weekend to care for yourself and deepen connections with the Virginia Tech community.
    $150 per person

    Other 2015 events

    Smithfield Plantation

    3rd Annual Hokie Classic Golf Tournament at the Pete Dye River Course »
    June 15

    Join fellow alumni, guests, and friends for a captain's choice golf tournament at the award-winning Pete Dye River Course. Registration includes greens fees, cart, scoring and door prizes, a commemorative keepsake, adult beverages, lunch, and a post-tournament dinner in the beautiful clubhouse overlooking the New River. Enjoyable for golfers of every skill level, the tournament will feature several coaches and former players from the university.
    $135 per person; $500 per foursome

    2nd Annual Summer Beer Festival at Virginia Tech »
    June 27

    Calling all craft beer lovers! Experience a unique beer festival with live entertainment, guest appearances, and more than 40 local, regional, and national breweries pouring their best brews. Join friends at the Holtzman Alumni Center for frosty tastings and food favorites from local restaurants. Those who arrive early on Friday, June 26, can join in a "tap takeover" in downtown Blacksburg featuring some of the brews offered on Saturday.
    $25 per person in advance; $35 on day of festival; $60 VIP section admittance

    Learn more about these events »


    Winter 2014-15

    Sowing the Future: Part Two

    Fortune-telling and other uses of big data at Virginia Tech

    The Sensors Within: Goodwin Hall knows where you are

    The Science of Virginia: Inaugural science festival captivates thousands

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    Board of directors

    The Alumni Association Board of Directors, comprised of 32 elected directors and nine honorary directors, met in October 2014 to review Alumni Association programs, including networking initiatives, diversity outreach, corporate and entrepreneurship activities, student mentoring opportunities, and efforts to engage more alumni. The board meets next in April, with its committees holding various meetings in the interim.

    Virginia Tech Alumni Association Board of Directors


    Matthew M. Winston Jr. '90 – president
    A. Carole Pratt '72 – vice president
    Lance L. Smith '68 – past president
    Thomas C. Tillar Jr. '69 – secretary-treasurer


    Deseria Creighton Barney '87
    Mary Virginia Jones Berry '62*
    Daniel W. Bird Jr. '60*
    Morgan E. Blackwood '02
    Marvin J. Boyd '00
    Gordon "Gordy" Bryan '82
    Kendley J. Davenport '84
    Lisa Carter Ellison '86
    A. Jerome Fowlkes '88
    Kathleen Kyger Frazier '04
    William M. Furrer '91
    Colin L. Goddard '08
    Harry N. Gustin II '43*
    Travis E. Hardy '01
    William B. Holtzman '59*
    Thomas H. Hughes '80
    Gene A. James '53**
    Michael T. Kender '83
    Adeel S. Khan '09
    William C. Latham '55*
    Nathan T. Lavinka '11
    Mark S. Lawrence '80
    David E. Lowe '63*
    Jacob A. Lutz III '78
    Lisa Glasscock Miller '87
    Jean S. Montague '69
    Brian C. Montgomery '03
    Thomas W. Moss Jr. '50*
    Melissa Byrne Nelson '92
    James P. O'Connell '97
    Susan Bull Ryan '68
    Gregory J. Sagstetter '07
    Judy McIntire Springer '95
    Karen E. Torgersen '78, '86
    Ellen B. Vance ' 76
    G.T. Ward '49, '52*
    Justin A. Yalung '05
    Kai M. Zuehlke '05

    *Honorary directors

    The Alumni Association Board of Directors nominating committee has proposed the following nominees for election to three-year terms from 2015 through 2018. Please vote for up to six nominees and return the ballot by April 1. Results will be announced at the board meeting in late April.

    ____  Thomas J. Fast (management, finance '06), Long Island City, New York
    ____  Deborah J. Barackman-Flippo (marketing management '83), Centennial, Colorado
    ____  Colin L. Goddard (international studies '08), Washington, D.C.
    ____  Gregory J. Sagstetter (philosophy, political science '07), Moseley, Virginia
    ____  Brian T. Sullivan (political science '93), Princeton, New Jersey
    ____  Claudia K. True (biological sciences '81, D.V.M. '86), Ashland, Virginia

    Write-in nomination




    Return to: Virginia Tech Alumni Association; Holtzman Alumni Center (0102); 901 Prices Fork Road; Blacksburg, VA 24061

    New Black Alumni and Ex Lapide societies

    Black alumnae

    New alumni societies have been formed to serve the interests of black alumni and LGBTQA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual, and other) alumni, and the Alumni Association welcomes the opportunity to engage with and learn from these Hokies through the programs created by their societies.

    The Black Alumni Society is an organization serving all black alumni. Future activities include the 2015 Black Alumni Summit in Tidewater, Virginia, and the 2016 Black Alumni Reunion on the Blacksburg campus.

    Ex Lapide ("out of stone," in Latin) is a society for LGBTQA+ alumni and their allies. Activities include a fall reunion held in October, a fall tailgate with the University of Virginia's Serpentine Society, and the Year Zero Graduation Reception with recent grads.

    The societies work to promote closer fellowship among their constituents, establish and strengthen relationships with the university, and assist with the university's ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts.

    Both societies are affiliated with the Virginia Tech Alumni Association and the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost. For more information, contact Latanya Walker at or 540-231-8970. To receive information about the societies, visit and sign up for the mailing list(s).

    Class of '64 and the Old Guard

    Class of 1964

    A total of 330 alumni and guests, including 180 members from the Class of 1964, returned to campus in fall 2014 for a 50th reunion. They toured campus to explore how Virginia Tech is inventing the future and enjoyed a Hokie football victory against Western Michigan. Each year, the reunion banquet includes induction into the Old Guard, an organization of alumni who graduated more than 50 years ago.

    Alumni who reach this milestone anniversary are automatically members of this honored group of Hokies and are invited to return to campus each year for the Old Guard Reunion. The next Old Guard Reunion, on May 20-22, includes anniversary dinners for the classes of 1945 (70th), 1950 (65th), 1955 (60th), and 1960 (55th), and dinners for the classes of 1961, 1962, 1963, and 1964. Registration opens early in 2015.

    Learn more and see highlights from the May 2014 Old Guard Reunion »

    Columbarium expanded

    Virginia Tech's columbarium

    Located on a grassy knoll with a view of the Duck Pond, Virginia Tech's columbarium contains niches for either individual or dual interments. Each niche is covered with a maroon granite square on which name(s) will be engraved with gold-filled lettering. A few of the first 60 niches are still available to reserve, and an expansion housing an additional 60 niches was recently completed. For more information or to reserve a niche, contact Jay Whitlow at 540-231-6285 or

    2015 travel tours

    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
    Hosted by Dwight Shelton, vice president for finance and chief financial officer
    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
    Hosted by Patricia A. Perillo, vice president for student affairs
    Go Next, Oceania Cruises' Marina
    Aug. 1-14 • $5,499* (air included)
    The splendors of Northern Europe await you while sailing from London to Copenhagen aboard Oceania Cruises' elegant Marina, hosted by Patricia A. Perillo, vice president for student affairs. Depart Southampton for Belgium, and travel back in time in 14th-century Bruges, a lovely city of quaint gabled buildings. Next is eclectic Amsterdam, Europe's dynamic cultural hub filled with galleries and museums, followed by the port of Warnemünde, where a drive takes you to Berlin, a city teeming with landmarks. Explore the "City of Roses and Ruins," Visby, encircled by 13th-century walls, then continue to Helsinki, where ultra-modern masterpieces coexist with stunning medieval structures. Sail to one of Russia's most enchanting cities, St. Petersburg, to visit its cathedrals and majestic palaces. Before concluding your voyage in Copenhagen, admire the old-world charms of Tallinn.

    North America's Five Majestic Great Lakes
    Go Next, MS Saint Laurent
    Aug. 1-10 • $4,199*

    Baltic Marvels
    Hosted by Tom Tillar, vice president for alumni relations
    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. Listed price is the base price 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.

    Successful alumni connect through Hokie Nation Networking

    The Virginia Tech Alumni Association offers Hokie Nation Networking, a professional networking program designed to bring alumni together to make long-lasting connections. (The association's multifaceted efforts in networking were described in this magazine's fall edition commentary by Tom Tillar.) Whether you are recruiting employees, identifying new clients, or looking for a job or career change, there are Hokies who can help.

    A cornerstone of the program is a series of professional networking events that target specific professions and connect alumni with experts in those fields. These events provide opportunities for Hokies to grow in their careers, identify new talent to bring into their organization, and discuss trends in their field.

    A recent Hokie Nation Networking event centered on finance took place at the Sobe Bistro and Bar in Arlington, Virginia, on Oct. 28, 2014. Alumni gathered for an evening of professional networking, drinks, and appetizers. The event was sponsored by Wells Fargo, Ameriprise Financial, and Access National Bank. Previous events have focused on real estate, hospitality and tourism, technology careers, and the collective areas of legal, financial, insurance, and banking services.

    This spring, the Alumni Association will host a technology-focused event during the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. Open to all alumni, the event will be held from 6-8 p.m. on March 16 at the Capital Factory in Austin.

    Proposed or planned events, topics, and locations include startup companies in Blacksburg, Virginia; defense in Washington, D.C.; energy in Houston; finance in Charlotte, North Carolina; aerospace in Huntsville, Alabama; healthcare in Nashville, Tennessee; real estate in Richmond, Virginia; biotechnology in Baltimore; engineering in Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina; and startups in Boston. To submit recommendations for an event or to learn more about the program, please contact Katie Marquis at

    In addition to events hosted by the Alumni Association, alumni chapters are hosting networking events throughout the country. For information about events taking place in your area, find your local chapter's website or Facebook page at If you don't have a local chapter and are interested in starting one, please contact Ginny Ritenour at

    To strengthen the networking initiative, the Alumni Association offers a suite of online resources at The Hokie Nation Network site leverages LinkedIn, the alumni directory, job listings (no PID or password required), webinars, and other career resources designed to help Hokies connect with fellow alumni. These resources can be invaluable to anyone interested in professional networking and career growth.

    For more information about Hokie Nation Networking, please visit or contact Katie Marquis at

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