Charles "Jack" Dudley of Blacksburg, Va., director of the University Honors Program will retire from the university in July after 34 years of service.

Over the past 18 years Dudley has served as the director of the university honors program. Through his leadership and guidance, the program has grown significantly and has seen many successes along the way.

Some of Dudley’s most notable accomplishments during his tenure include, the establishment of Hillcrest Hall and the first two floors of Main Campbell Hall as honors residence communities – where over 200 honors students have the opportunity to live and learn together in an environment that offers mentoring and fosters friendships.

Dudley said he is pleased with the creation of the honors baccalaureate degree – the most difficult degree conferred at Virginia Tech. He has formed and maintained countless relationships with generous donors throughout the years. “As the honors program grew, the resources grew,” said Dudley. As a result, Virginia Tech’s honors students have been given opportunities to travel, to study, and take part in undergraduate research. Dudley said undergraduate research is invaluable in an undergraduate’s education.

Dudley also noted that many of the students who have won university honors scholarships have gone on to win major national scholarships – a testament to the value and the goodness of having donors that support the program.

“As director of the honor’s program for the past 18 years, Jack Dudley has done a tremendous job for the university, and more importantly for thousands of students, Jack possesses both a strong resolve and an unwavering commitment to excellence," Charles W. Steger, president of Virginia Tech said. "He challenges students to push the envelope of their abilities — to try new experiences and new ways of learning — and he works tirelessly to provide them with opportunities for intellectual growth and stimulation. With a clear vision and hard work, Jack has immensely strengthened and enhanced the university honors program. We are extremely grateful for his many outstanding contributions to the honors program and to the university.”

Eighteen years ago, there were approximately 405 honors eligible students at Virginia Tech – today there are over 1,700 honors students and another 2,200 that are honors eligible. Dudley said he is proud of the evolution of the university honors program and he is especially proud of the successes Virginia Tech’s honors students have enjoyed once they have graduated.

Most important though to the success of the university honors program, Dudley noted, is the participation of faculty. They teach classes and colloquia, they oversee independent study and tutorial efforts of the students, and they guide undergraduate research. In all, several hundred faculty members participate in university honors activities each year – they are the heart of the program, said Dudley.

Dudley, a native of Georgia, attended the University of Georgia where he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1964. Five years later, Dudley earned his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Oregon. Then he headed home to the University of Georgia to teach. In 1974, Dudley joined Virginia Tech where he became an associate professor in sociology until 1990 when he became the university honors program director.

Although Dudley is retiring, he says his wish is to teach a university honors colloquium, pick back up where he left off on a few writing projects he’s enjoyed throughout the years, and maybe find time for his hobby of painting.


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