In response to the announcement that Charles W. Steger will step down as president, Virginia Tech Board of Visitors Rector Mike Quillen has appointed a search committee to assist the board in finding the university's 16th president.

“A university governing body has few roles as important as this – appointing a president to lead our great university," said Quillen. "We worked hard to find a balance of constituency representatives, but still keep the group to a workable size, to assist us as we embark on this important task."

Quillen notes that in addition to the advisory role of the search committee, the board will invite comments from the broader community through many channels.

Through the work of the search committee, the university and broader public will be invited to contribute their suggestions about characteristics that will best serve the university. Input will be collected through the presidential search website electronic surveys and through email submission to Traditional mail is also welcomed; a mailing address will be provided on the presidential search website. In addition, forums are planned for students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters.

“The committee and our external search firm will help garner input from various constituency groups around the state over the next several months," said Quillen. "We will have meetings in Blacksburg and elsewhere in Virginia. We want to hear from students, alumni, supporters, and actually, anyone interested in Virginia Tech’s future. We will work quickly but expeditiously. I am confident that we can find an outstanding candidate."

The committee members include:

  • George Nolen, Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, committee chair;
  • John Lee, Virginia Tech Board of Visitors;
  • Deborah Petrine, Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, committee vice chair / communications;
  • John Rocovich, Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, committee vice chair / compensation and contracts;
  • Stephanie Adams, professor of engineering education;
  • Erica Bennett, undergraduate student, electrical engineering;
  • Jacqueline Bixler, Alumni Distinguished Professor and chair, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures;
  • Ben Davenport, Virginia Tech Foundation Board and past rector, Virginia Tech Board of Visitors;
  • Dennis Dean, University Distinguished Professor and director, Fralin Life Science Institute and Virginia Bioinformatics Institute;
  • Patricia Dove, C. P. Miles Professor of Science, Department of Geosciences
  • Robert Dunay, T.A. Carter Professor, School of Architecture and Design
  • Jeff Earley, assistant provost for finance
  • Jesus de la Garza, professor of civil and environmental engineering
  • Alan Grant, dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Justin Graves, graduate student, education leadership and policy studies
  • Sarah Karpanty, associate professor of fisheries and wildlife
  • Arthur Keown, professor of finance
  • Anne Khademian, professor, Center for Public Administration and Policy, and director, School of Public and International Affairs
  • William Knocke, associate vice president for research programs
  • X.J. Meng, professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathology
  • Gen. Lance Smith (ret.), president, Virginia Tech Alumni Association
  • Sue Teel, financial services specialist, Department of Physics

The search committee will be supported and staffed by Minnis E. Ridenour, executive vice president and chief operating officer emeritus, and staff and graduate students in the Office of the Senior Fellow for Resource Development.

The first committee meeting is scheduled for June 2, 2013.  A website posted at  will be updated as new information becomes available. 

The office of the search committee can also be reached by email at and by phone 540-231-0851.

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.

Share this story