In a rich slate of feature stories, faculty and alumni profiles, and university news of note, the winter 2012-13 edition of Virginia Tech Magazine showcases several efforts that embody the university’s commitment to service, outreach, and diversity.

Organized by renowned poet and Virginia Tech University Distinguished Professor Nikki Giovanni, a star-studded event, “Sheer Good Fortune: Celebrating Toni Morrison,” was held Oct. 16, 2012, in Burruss Auditorium to honor Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison. Free tickets for the celebration, which featured a performance by Grammy winner India.Arie, were claimed in just 28 hours.

In 2000, Virginia Tech’s Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center administered an international competition to select the architectural design for the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C. The center’s extensive pro bono work on this distinguished project exemplifies both the university’s commitment to outreach and diversity and the fulfillment of its land-grant mission.

In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, which established the nation’s land-grant universities, opened up access to higher education, and promoted economic development, three experts offer their perspectives on how the land-grant mission remains vital and vibrant today — especially at Virginia Tech. Addressing the significance of that mission in the 21st century are John Dooley, CEO of the Virginia Tech Foundation; John Provo, director of the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development; and Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

In the magazine’s fourth installment of a series on the blossoming tech sector and economic growth in the Roanoke and New River valleys, the workings of the Blacksburg offices of cloud-computing company Rackspace reveal what makes the town such a great place to live, work, and play. Virginia Tech alumnus Doug Juanarena, an entrepreneur and investor, leads the Blacksburg office’s young workforce. 

An alumnus profile of Maurizio Porfiri, who earned an M.S. and Ph.D. in engineering mechanics, captures the genius of a scientist who aims to create a robotic fish designed to steer animals away from potential dangers.

And in the latest installment of How Tech Ticks, clinicians and students in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine take equine care on the road in the New River Valley to ensure that area horses remain in good health.

The Web version of Virginia Tech Magazine features online-only multimedia content. Hard copies of the magazine can be requested by emailing Jesse Tuel, magazine editor.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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