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including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

A message from President Paul Torgersen

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 05 - September 21, 1995

As president of Virginia Tech and as a member of its faculty, I occasionally am accorded moments filled with sheer joy and unmitigated pride. They are singular moments, savored in the course of an often busy schedule. As a teacher, the emotions might be triggered by having in class today the son or daughter of one of my many former students. As president, I may experience such a moment when reading an unsolicited letter. Two letters from parents, received within a recent two-week period, are cases in point.

The first was from a mother whose son, a second-year student, had lately recovered from cancer surgery and-thanks in large part to the unstinting support of a group of faculty members and administrators-was back in the classroom. "The love they showed my son is beyond words," she wrote. "I now know exactly what Mike meant after his first visit to Virginia Tech when he said, `It just feels good.'" The second letter, sent by the parents of an engineering student, was in praise of a professor who had helped their daughter realize her dream of studying Russian and of working in the space program. "When [we] visited the campus four and one half years ago," they said, "we met with Dr. Baehr to discuss the possibility of combining Engineering and Russian Language Studies. His encouraging words were, `At Virginia Tech, everything is possible.' We had no idea of the weight of his words and of his personal involvement."

So much of the essence of Virginia Tech shines through in these letters: a great university that is comprehensive in its educational scope but committed to creating an attentive, nurturing atmosphere for the individual; a faculty and staff of the highest quality who are responsive to the challenging needs and aspirations of students; and a student body whose work and study ethics spawn attributes that have proven invaluable in the building of successful careers. These are the constants residing at the very heart and soul of Virginia Tech's land-grant mission and why-after nearly 125 years-that mission of teaching, research, and public service continues to make such a world of difference in so many lives.

The Campaign for Virginia Tech is about preserving these intrinsic strengths. It is about making good on a pledge to current undergraduate students to control the cost of education and the level of tuition increases; to ensure, with few exceptions, that undergraduate lectures will be taught by regular faculty members; to guarantee that the most distinguished professors will teach undergraduate courses; and to provide all incoming students with thoughtful academic advice. It is about keeping promises and commitments to those who will learn and teach in our classrooms and laboratories and on our playing fields in the next century.

In a very real sense, the Campaign for Virginia Tech is for all those future students who see this campus for the first time and say "It just feels good" and for every professor who can assure a concerned parent, "At Virginia Tech, everything is possible."

Paul E. Torgersen, president