Dudley to address Tech's Fall Commencement
By David Nutter
Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 15 - December 11, 1997
The director of the university honors program, Charles "Jack" Dudley, will be the keynote speaker at the undergraduate Fall Commencement ceremonies Saturday, Dec. 20. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. in Cassell Coliseum.
As director of the university honor's program, Dudley has been responsible for the expansion of the program and the significant number of national awards Virginia Tech students have won, culminating in the university's first Rhodes Scholar in more than three decades.
Dudley says that one of his major accomplishments was opening the way for increased student and faculty participation in the program.
He says the honors program has grown from 450 students seven years ago to about 1,600 students today. That increase, and the nature of the unique learning environment the program engenders, are the also the focus of his address on the 20th.
"What A Conversation We've Had," the title of Dudley's speech, will spotlight the lessons both faculty members and students have learned and the times they have shared together.
During Dudley's tenure, Virginia Tech students won 12 Goldwater scholarships, two Udall scholarships, two Madison scholarships, one British Marshall scholarship, and one Truman scholarship.
"So much of what we learn takes place outside of the traditional classroom setting," Dudley said. "I want to focus my talk on that."
As a sociologist, Dudley is particularly proud of his work to create an art of sociology by the direct involvement in the production of plays and films. His scholarly work has led to his participation in such diverse efforts as a producer for "The Party Scene," a look at social stratification through the work of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest," and as a consultant to such productions as "True West," "All In The Timing," "The Bedtime Story," and "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead."
Dudley was selected for the Alumni Teaching Award in 1977-78 and 1986-87. The sociology department honored him with its outstanding teaching award in 1987.
Before taking over leadership of the honors program in 1990, Dudley, a sociology professor, served as an assistant and then associate professor. He came to Virginia Tech in 1974 from the University of Georgia where he was an assistant professor. He earned his Ph.D. at George in 1969.