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Osborne to retire from College of Engineering after 28 years

By Lynn Nystrom

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 29 - April 23, 1998

"Deans come and go, but Jack is the bedrock on which the college operates," said College of Engineering Dean F. William Stephenson. On July 31, Associate Dean for Administration Jack Osborne will retire after 28 years with the college.
Osborne, who began his career in engineering in 1970 as administrative assistant to then-Dean Paul Torgersen, has been responsible for a myriad of issues fundamental to college operations, including personnel matters, budgets and financial affairs, and facilities planning and maintenance. He joined the staff of Virginia Tech in 1969 after earning his master's degree in business administration from the university.
"Perhaps the thing I'm proudest of in my work is my perception that college personnel believe that their concerns really do matter to my office, and that prompt attention will be given to them," Osborne said.
Complete budget decentralization is another accomplishment he regards with pride. Under the Program and Budget Responsibility Center concept, he explained, engineering department heads are given all of their resources on July 1 each year, along with primary responsibility for budget management. "I believe the department heads appreciate being given the opportunity to manage their resources to the fullest extent possible, with a minimum of control from the Dean's Office."
"Being a part of the college and seeing it rise to its current position of national and international prominence has been especially rewarding," Osborne said. "I want to thank President Torgersen for making my involvement in engineering possible when he hired me in the spring of 1970." Osborne has helped to oversee the college's growth. When he came to the college, there were about 3,000 undergraduate engineering students and 160 faculty members. Research expenditures were only $946,000. This year, undergraduate enrollment is 4,600, the college has 264 faculty positions, and research expenditures have increased to more than $44 million.
"I believe the enjoyment of one's work is dependent just as much on the people you work for and with as on the content of the job," Osborne said. "I have had the best of both worlds--a rewarding job, highly motivated colleagues, and truly superb leadership from deans Torgersen, Clough, and Stephenson. And for whatever contributions I might have made to the college, a large measure of credit goes to Sara Barnett, who came to engineering about the same time I did, and who works for me as business manager. Her competence and ability to solve problems quickly are acknowledged throughout the university."
"I will miss my friends at Virginia Tech," Osborne added. "I truly appreciate all they have done to make my career here so satisfying and enjoyable."
"Jack has always been unfailingly responsive and helpful," Stephenson said. "His knowledge of the college is encyclopedic. As a faculty member, department head, associate dean, and now dean, I have found Jack to be a source of useful advice and utter reliability. He is a gem."
Stephenson has announced that Rodd Hall will assume the position of associate dean on August 1. Hall, currently the director of business services for the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (CRC) and the Virginia Tech Foundation, was selected from a large field of candidates within and outside of the university.
Hall received his B.S. magna cum laude in 1986 and his MBA in 1989 from Tech's R.B. Pamplin College of Business. He has held positions as a pricing analyst for United Telephone in Bristol, Tennessee, and as business manager of the Tech Foundation. In his current position, he manages all business and operational elements for the CRC, an 11-building, $25-million facility, and is responsible for all general business functions of the foundation, which has about $400 million in assets.
"Rodd impressed everyone during the interview process," Stephenson said. "He has served with distinction in his present position and I am confident his skills, energy, and enthusiasm will bring many benefits to the college in years to come."