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Roy named to first Smith professorship

By Sally Harris

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 02 - August 31, 1995

The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors has established the Gloria D. Smith Professorship in Black Studies, on the recommendation of Athletic Director David Braine, with funding provided by the Athletic Association.

Lucinda H. Roy, associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences and associate professor of English, is the first recipient of the professorship. She will hold an adjunct appointment in the Black Studies Program during the two-year appointment.

The professorship, established with a $200,000 endowment from the Athletic Association, is named for Smith, who came to work at Virginia Tech in 1983 as an assistant professor in University Counseling Services, retired in 1993, and died not long after. She was known as a pillar of the Montgomery County community and a leader in the black community, not so much as a political force, but as a mentor and mother figure.

At Tech, she developed a rare and special following of students from all races, and they stayed in touch with her for years after graduation, according to Brian Warren, director of the University Counseling Center and Student Health Services. She had a special quality with students who needed a counselor and could accomplish a great deal through her warmth and absolute commitment to people in need of any kind, Warren said. "I think this is a substantive as well as a symbolic gesture by the Athletic Association," President Paul Torgersen said. "Through it, the association acknowledges the relationship between athletics and academics and supports academics at the university--in this case the Black Studies Program."

The stipend that goes to the professor from the endowment is not salary, Torgersen said, but is to be used to buy academic materials, support graduate or undergraduate students, and further the professor's professional development.

Braine said minority athletes have made significant contributions to the development of Virginia Tech athletic programs. "We hope that the establishment of this professorship, in honor of Gloria Smith, will also serve to honor our athletes and the part they have played and will continue to play in Virginia Tech athletic achievements," Braine said. In choosing Black Studies to benefit from this professorship, Braine said, the university also recognizes the national record of minority athletes and "their history of opening doors, broadening opportunities, and contributing toward harmony and understanding among all Americans."

Roy came to Virginia Tech as a lecturer in 1985 and quickly became an important contributor to the university, advancing to assistant professor, associate professor, assistant dean for special projects, then associate dean for curriculum, outreach, and diversity. She has continued to teach while serving as an administrator.

She has initiated a number of programs while at Virginia Tech, including VTOPS (Virginia Tech Outreach Project for Schools) and Project CI, a partnership with alumni from the Christiansburg Institute, the regional high school for African Americans until segregation of the public schools was ended in 1968. She is co-founder of the Service-Learning Program at Tech and of SWAP, a diversity initiative in the College of Arts and Sciences. She also developed the Arts and Sciences Educational Technologies Initiative.

In other board action, Loren Paul Rees, management science professor in the Pamplin College of Business, was appointed to the Arthur Andersen/Andersen Consulting Alumni Professorship in Information for Management. The endowed professorship was established in 1987 by Arthur Andersen, Andersen Consulting Alumni and Friends, and the Arthur Andersen Foundation recognizing the long association with the college. Rees began his tenure at Virginia Tech in 1981 in the Department of Management Science.

His current research focus is on the development of computers that will learn how to improve management-science tasks. He has published research articles in many of the leading journals in the fields of management science and information technology. Rees has received the W.E. Wine Award, the College of Business Teaching Award and the 1984 Stanley T. Hardy Award, a national award for the greatest contribution to the field of production and operations management. He is also a member of the Virginia Tech Academy of Teaching Excellence. Mathematics professor John A. Burns was named the first Hatcher Endowment Professor of Mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences. Burns is a co-founder of the university's Interdisciplinary Center for Applied Mathematics and the Center for Optimal Design and Control. Burns began working at Virginia Tech in 1974.

He has received two Certificates of Teaching Excellence and hs directed 12 Ph.D. dissertations and two master's theses.

Burns served as vice president in the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and has been an advisor to the National Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

English professor Michael Squires was named as the first Clifford A. Cutchins III Endowed Professorship in the College of Arts and Sciences, funded by NationsBank, formerly Sovran Financial Corp. The endowment, established by Sovran Financial Corp. in honor of its former CEO and former Virginia Tech rector of the Board of Visitors, Clifford A. Cutchins III, was established in 1989.

Squires began his career at Virginia Tech in 1969. He was inducted into the Academy of Teaching Excellence in 1977 and has served in many positions in the Department of English, including director of undergraduate studies and department head. Squires is an internationally recognized scholar of D.H. Lawrence studies, having written, edited or co-edited seven books. He received the 1984 Harry T. Moore Distinguished Scholar Award in recognition of his lifetime contribution to and encouragement of D.H. Lawrence studies.