Developments at Virginia Tech

The official Tumblr of Virginia Tech's Office of University Development, located at the Gateway Center on the corner of University City Blvd., and Prices Fork Rd., in Blacksburg, Va.

This website is maintained by the Development Communications team headed by Albert Raboteau, Gary Cope, Rich Polikoff, and Erica Stacy.

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Keeping the McCormick homestead fires burning

Written by Christina Koomen

A familiar expression goes, “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.” But for Virginia Tech, one donor family’s legacy might be summed up, “As ye reap, so shall ye sow.”

The legendary Cyrus McCormick family revolutionized agricultural production when they developed the mechanized horse-drawn reaper on their farm in Steeles Tavern, Va., (shown above) and in turn amassed a fortune that now provides both ongoing support and scholarships that benefit Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

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The W.E. Skelton 4-H Educational Conference Center at Smith Mountain Lake, considered by many to be one of the United States’ leading 4-H centers, celebrates 50 years this summer!

The center is named for William E. Skelton, who through his own philanthropy, and his leadership positions in 4-H and Extension, helped make the center what it is today.

Visit the center online at


A mostly empty Virginia Tech. Photos were taken a few days before Summer Sessions started. Have you ever seen the Drillfield empty?

Only in photos!

Congratulations to Tom McAvoy, senior laboratory specialist in the Department of Entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, on receiving a 2014 President’s Award for Excellence.

In addition to his work responsibilities, McAvoy provided the leadership in creating Virginia Tech’s Employees’ Spouse and Dependent Scholarship program for incoming students. The program has awarded more than 140 scholarships totaling more than $93,000 combined.

Pictured above, are Tom (center) and parents and students who have benefited from the program in recent years.

Click here to read the full article.

Virginia will dedicate its Moss Arts Center on April 25, less than four years after breaking ground on the $100 million facility that is home to the university’s Center for the Arts and Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology. The event will begin at 1 p.m. and is open to the public.

The renowned artist P. Buckley Moss, for whom the Moss Arts Center is named, in recognition of her philanthropic support of its construction, is scheduled to speak. The program also includes remarks from Gene Fife and William C. “Jack” Davis, whose donations also helped make the facility possible, and Ruth Waalkes, executive director of the Center for the Arts, who also is the university’s associate provost for the arts.

Click on the photo above to learn more about the dedication.

Congratulations to Virginia Tech student David Mackanic! The junior from Cary, N.C., double majoring in engineering in the College of Engineering and chemistry in the College of Science and a University Honors student, has been awarded a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for the 2014-15 academic year.

Mackanic is also the recipient of a Pratt Scholarship through the College of Engineering. The scholarship is made possible through an endowment established by the estate of Mr. John Lee Pratt of Stafford County in 1975.

Click on the photo above to read more about the Goldwater Scholarship.

Dwight D. Viehland, professor of materials science and engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, was recently named the Jack E. Cowling Professor of Engineering by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The Jack E. Cowling Endowed Professorship was established as part of the bequest by the late John E. “Jack” Cowling who graduated from Virginia Tech in 1939 with a chemical engineering degree. The professorship recognizes faculty excellence and recipients hold the professorship for a period of five years.

Click on the photo above to read more.

Congratulations to Hesham A. Rakha, professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech and director of the Center for Sustainable Mobility at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. He was recently named the Samuel Reynolds Pritchard Professor of Engineering by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The Samuel Reynolds Pritchard Professorship was established by the late Walter A. Buchanan Sr. in 1992 in honor of Prichard, who served as the dean of the College of Engineering from 1918 to 1928. The professorship recognizes excellence in engineering research.

Click on the photo above to read more.

Virginia Tech Dairy Science Professor Katharine Knowlton

Congratulations to Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences professor Katharine Knowlton, who was recently named the Colonel Horace E. Alphin Professor in Dairy Science by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The professorship was established in 2013 through a gift from Alphin, a member of the Virginia Tech Class of 1934, to support outstanding teaching and research faculty in the Department of Dairy Science. The recipient holds the professorship for a five-year term.

Knowlton, a member of the Virginia Tech community since 1998, has been widely recognized for excellence in teaching, advising, and scholarship.

Click on the photo above to read the full article.

Former U.S. Secretary of Education, host of the nationally syndicated “Morning in America” radio show, and author William J. Bennett will give the Cutchins Distinguished Lecture, “The Promise of America in Challenging Times,” at Virginia Tech on Thursday, March 27, 7:30 p.m., in Burruss Auditorium.

The event is free and open to the public, no tickets needed. Free parking for the event is available around the Drillfield, in the Perry Street lots, and in the Perry Street parking garage near Prices Fork Road. Find more parking information online, or call 540-231-3200.

The Cutchins Distinguished Lecture is sponsored by the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Rice Center for Leader Development and the Pamplin College of Business and is also held in celebration of Founders Day.

The lecture series is named for the late Clifford A. Cutchins III, a former bank chairman and rector of the Board of Visitors. Cutchins received a degree in accounting in 1944.

Click on the photo for more details about Bennett’s lecture.