University's accomplishments noted
Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 31 - May 9, 1996
Virginia Tech, other state universities, and many of the nation's higher education systems struggled with reduced state appropriations throughout the 1990s.
While some may feel that higher education lost ground during the turbulent first part of this decade, Virginia Tech faculty members and administrators continued to advance the institution in spite of hard times.
A recently completed report by the offices of the provost and executive vice president, The University Plan-Progress Toward Goals, demonstrates a solid string of accomplishments. "The early `90s were tough years, but this is a vibrant university. I see many things to be positive about and this report is yet one more example," said Peggy Meszaros, provost and senior vice president.
"We've been through such tough times financially that we can be oblivious to the good things happening around us. Despite the obstacles, we have a lot to be proud of," says Minnis Ridenour, executive vice president and chief financial officer.
Highlights of the report, which can be found on the university's web pages or obtained from Lou Ann Phipps at 1-7784, show some noteworthy progress.
Early initiation and commitment to restructuring placed Virginia Tech as a leader among colleges and universities nation-wide in effecting change. As of January 1996, more than $175 million had been raised toward the $250 million effort of the Campaign for Virginia Tech, the most ambitious fundraising goal in the institution's history. More than 434,000 square feet of space-eight new or extensively renovated buildings-has been opened for use since 1991. An additional 896,000 square feet of academic or student-life space has been authorized for construction. Annual sponsored-research expenditures continued to increase to $148.3 million in 1993-94.
Expansion of off-campus graduate and public-service programs were made possible by opening the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center, the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, the Roanoke Valley Graduate Center, and groundbreaking of the new home for the Virginia Tech/University of Virginia Northern Virginia Center.
The core curriculum for undergraduates was significantly revised and a writing requirement implemented. The Center for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching was created to give leadership to faculty development efforts campus-wide. The Center for European Studies and Architecture opened in Switzerland and so did a new Study Abroad Office on campus, providing opportunities for hundreds of students to have an international education experience in countries around the world.
Opening of a new residence hall, Burke Johnston Student Center, and Squires Student Center; major renovations and changes in campus dining services; and the introduction of the Hokie Passport contributed to improved student-life experiences. The university reestablished its leadership in information systems through the Blacksburg Electronic Village, integration of advanced computing and communications technology into the curriculum, aggressive movement from a mainframe to a distributed computing environment, and redesign of business processes to take advantage of new technology.
The Corporate Research Center grew to eight buildings housing more than 40 firms employing almost 800 people. With 28 patents secured in 1994, Virginia Tech ranks sixteenth among U.S. universities for the number of patents issued that year and fifth among universities without medical schools. The Alumni Association merged administratively with the university, with the professional staff of Alumni Relations coordinating alumni programs, working with alumni volunteers, and facilitation the mission and goals developed by the Alumni Association Board of Directors.