top summer news stories
By Chris Pugh
Spectrum Volume 21 Issue 01 - August 27, 1998
Over the summer of 1998 administrative appointments and promotions captured the headlines in Spectrum as divisions and departments were re-organized.
In May Landrum L. Cross, who had just completed a three-year appointment as vice-president of Student Affairs, was named to the job. Cross was selected for the position following a national search.
"Lanny enjoys strong support from throughout the community," said Peggy S. Meszaros, senior vice president and provost in announcing the appointment. "We look forward to the leadership he will continue to provide in Student Affairs, especially in several priority areas that he plans to address.
In a move to address several of those new priorities, Cross reorganized the Dean of Students Office, re-assigning the top three people in the office to new positions.
Effective July 1, Cathryn (Goree) Turrentine, dean of students since 1995, was named director of planning and assessment for the division; Barbara J. Pendergrass, associate dean of students since 1995, was appointed dean of students; and Tom Brown, assistant dean of students since 1994, was promoted to associate dean of students.
Another administrative appointment was announced in early June when President Paul Torgersen named Benjamin Dixon as the university's vice president for multicultural affairs. Dixon is the first person to fill this position, which was created last October by Torgersen.
Another story topping the summer's news was the close of the successful Campaign for Virginia Tech, which ended on June 30 after raising $298.1 million. The university community left its mark on that fund-raising effort, joining alumni and friends in pushing the campaign 19.2 percent over its goal of $250 million. Since the start of the campaign in July of 1992 some 1,650 members of the Virginia Tech faculty and staff have contributed $5.7 million in gifts and commitments.
In other financial news, 1997-98 turned out to be a record year for private funding. Contributions from the private sector reached $48.9 million for the fiscal year, which ended June 30. The total represents a 13-percent increase over the previous high of $43.2 million in 1996-97.
In July Governor James Gilmore named two Richmond businessmen to the Board of Visitors. On July 1, Michael G. Miller and Gary P. Clisham began four-year terms on the 15-member governing board.
Miller and Clisham replace Robert B. Delano of Warsaw and Mitchell O. Carr of Staunton. Gilmore re-appointed BOV Rector James E. Turner Jr. of Fairfax and board member Donald W. Huffman, of Roanoke.
Grants and Program Expansions
Virginia Tech announced a number of grants and program expansions over the summer.
IBM selected Tech as one of four higher-education institutions to receive resources to create leading-edge applications for the Internet2 environment. Internet2 is the next generation of computer communication--the brainchild of a consortium of more than 100 U.S. universities--designed for on-line collaborative research, distance teaching and video-conferencing.
An agreement between the New River Valley Habitat for Humanity and the Virginia Tech Foundation on behalf of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies was announced in June. The College of Architecture will raise $35,000 for a project to build a home for the less fortunate while providing student volunteers and training for project supervisors.
Virginia Tech's partnership with historically black colleges and universities (HBCU's) launched new projects during its first official year of operation. Some of the major initiatives included: grants to increase minority representation in math and chemistry; a grant for a summer workshop to help students compete for scholarships and admission to graduate schools; and an initiative that shares instructional technology between schools.
Virginia Tech is beginning the first phase of a $754,000 state-funded research project that could lead to a tobacco-based industry for growing human pharmaceuticals in genetically engineered tobacco plants.
The Boeing Company has awarded a three-year, $125,000 grant to the Virginia Tech Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering for a program that gives undergraduates the opportunity to collaborate on design projects with their counterparts in other nations.
In other news, the Pamplin College of Business and Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management, have established a dual-degree program that will allow students to earn an MBA from Virginia Tech and a master of international management from Thunderbird.
Virginia's Secretary of Public Safety has entered into an agreement with Virginia Tech to develop a plan for a state-wide wireless-communication network that would enable state and local public-safety agencies to communicate with each other and share data.