StricklerBy Sookhan Ho
Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 27 - April 6, 1995
Education has always been a special interest of businessman Charles O. "Chip" Strickler, the 1995 recipient of the Alumni Distinguished Service Award.
Strickler, who earned a bachelor's degree in business administration at Virginia Tech in 1961, is president of Rocco Inc., a family-owned poultry processing and food-manufacturing company in Harrisonburg that is one of the country's largest poultry producers. Strickler has served on many education boards and committees in his local community and in the state. At Virginia Tech, he served on the Pamplin College of Business Advisory Council and on the board of directors of the Virginia Tech Foundation, and is a charter member of the university's Ut Prosim Society.
He has contributed major gifts for various academic programs at Virginia Tech, including $20,000 last summer to provide scholarships for Pamplin undergraduates to participate in four separate study/travel abroad programs to China, Russia, Eastern Europe, and Western Europe. Without Strickler's support for the supplemental scholarships, Pamplin Dean Richard E. Sorensen says, the college would not have found it feasible to organize the programs for the small number of students able to afford the tuition and travel costs. "Chip's generosity made it possible for us to continue implementing our initiatives in international business education."
With his older brother Robert, Strickler contributed funds to support an endowed professorship, the Strickler Professorship in Entrepreneurial Studies, at the Pamplin College. The gift enabled the college to recruit management professor James Lang, a renowned expert in entrepreneurship and small business. Strickler has also given funds to support scholarships in veterinary medicine and in animal science. He also served on the Virginia Council on Economic Education and on the advisory board of James Madison University's business school.
Strickler has won recognition in Virginia and throughout the poultry industry on the east coast for his leadership and entrepreneurial abilities. He served as president of the National Turkey Federation and of the Virginia Turkey Association, and chaired the Governor's Turkey Industry Task Force Committee. He also served on the boards of the Southeastern Poultry and Egg Association, the Virginia Poultry Federation, and the Virginia Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
His awards include the Distinguished Service Award from the Virginia Poultry Federation, the Business Person of the Year Award from the Harrisonburg/Rockingham Chamber of Commerce, and the Distinguished Service Award from the Harrisonburg Jaycees.