The following is an open letter to the Virginia Tech community from President Charles Steger.

On March 14, 2012, the university marked the seventh anniversary of the signing of our Virginia Tech Principles of Community. As we reflect on the history of Virginia Tech, it is important that we recognize the significance of these Principles to our institutional culture.

The signatures on the principles represent a partnership among all segments of the university community to create and maintain an environment where bias and exclusion are continually rejected and where our excellence as an institution is pursued through an approach of inclusion and respect for the individual. Every day, each of us is presented with opportunities to reflect these principles in our actions towards others in our learning, discovery, and engagement efforts.

Ultimately the full value of these principles is realized when individual and collective actions recognize and utilize diversity as an asset in building a strong future for our university.

This year, Virginia Tech has embarked on an effort to reaffirm our principles through the Strong Together Initiative. This initiative, led by the Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, is comprised of programming and promotional efforts designed to increase awareness of the Principles of Community. Through this initiative, students, employees, and the greater community are being presented with new opportunities to learn about our institutional diversity and recognize the common experiences and values that unite us as a community.

As Virginia Tech sets its sights on a new horizon, our excellence as an institution is linked to our ability to foster a climate that is inherently mindful of our common humanity. Indeed it is this recognition of this common humanity that should fundamentally drive our institutional efforts to make an impact on the global society.

I encourage all members of the Virginia Tech community to renew their commitment to the Principles of Community and to support actions that embody a spirit of being “strong together.”

Charles Steger

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