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University to rename building for Moss

By Matthew Winston

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 03 - September 11, 1997

Virginia Tech will rename an office building at the university's Corporate Research Center for Thomas W. Moss Jr., Virginia Tech alumnus and 52nd speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates on Saturday, Sept. 13.

The dedication ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at Research Building One located in the Corporate Research Center across from the Virginia Tech airport.

The Thomas W. Moss Jr. Research Building will honor the long-time member of Virginia's General Assembly, who is noted for his strong support of education in Virginia. Moss graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in building construction in 1950.

"We are privileged to be able to recognize Mr. Speaker in this manner," said Virginia Tech President Paul E. Torgersen. "The Moss Research Building is a tribute to a man whose life-long achievements and dedication to his alma mater, higher education, and the entire Commonwealth of Virginia are his legacy. Virginia Tech is honored to have the opportunity to show our gratitude and respect for a such a distinguished alumnus."

The Board of Visitors this past spring approved a resolution naming the building after Moss. The board noted Moss's record of distinguished service and commitment to the state of Virginia as well as his loyalty and generosity to his alma mater.

Moss was a member of Virginia Tech's Corps of Cadets during his undergraduate years. After earning his degree, he embarked on a successful career in law and public service. He was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1966 representing the 88th district in Norfolk. He was named Legislator of the Year by the Virginia Association of Locally Elected Constitutional Officers in 1989. Moss was elected majority leader in 1980 and speaker of the House in 1991.

Throughout his professional career, Moss has been active in the community and has received many honors and awards for his service. He served on the Lay Advisory Board of the DePaul Hospital and as chairman of the American Cancer Society. Moss also serves on the boards of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Moss has continued to serve his alma mater in a variety of leadership capacities. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association and is a former president of the Tidewater alumni chapter. In 1994, Moss was honored by Virginia Tech with its Alumni Distinguished Service Award. He is also a member of the Ut Prosim Society through which the university recognizes major donors.

"Mr. Speaker has embodied the university's motto "Ut Prosim--That I May Serve," Torgersen said. "His record of service to the community and the commonwealth is matched by his continued service and support for the students at Virginia Tech."

In 1996, Virginia Tech received a $500,000 commitment from Moss, as part of a bequest, to support several special funding initiatives. A portion of the gift will go to the German Club, a registered student service organization affiliated with the university. Half of the Moss gift will endow a Professorship of Public Administration in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, and another $50,000 will be used to award scholarships to undergraduate students in the Industrial Design Program in the college. The remainder of the gift will fund the Thomas. W. Moss Jr. Fund for University Priorities.

In 1993, the Virginia Tech Foundation honored Moss by establishing the Tom Moss Endowed Leadership Scholarship at Virginia Tech. The $50,000 scholarship created a financial-aid package awarded to undergraduate students, chosen on the basis of scholastic achievement and financial need.

"Mr. Moss has been an inspiration to me and for my career in leadership," said Ronnie Stephenson, a Hampton native, who was the first recipient of the Moss Scholarship. "I view him as both a benefactor and a role model, as he has personally influenced my goals in my quest to lead a life of service.

"He has provided me with an understanding on how public servants should be," said Stephenson, who was student-body president at Virginia Tech and who currently serves in Moss' previous position as president of the Tidewater chapter of the Alumni Association. Stephenson, who graduated from Tech in 1995, credits Moss with helping him work in the Office of Congressional Affairs at NASA, Langley after his graduation.

The building to be dedicated is one of 11 buildings at the university's research park. Nine buildings are occupied while two more are under construction. The Moss building currently houses several university-affiliated research centers including Software Technology Labs, among others. Other tenants include Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology, Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties Inc., and two private research companies, Galaxy Scientific Corporation and Global Opportunities.

A brief reception will follow the building dedication ceremony.