Timothy Duffy of Andover, Mass., a senior double majoring in finance and accounting  in the Pamplin College of Business, has been selected 2014 Man of the Year. Cassidy Dawn Grubbs of Powhatan, Va., a senior majoring in English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, has been selected 2014 Undergraduate Woman of the Year.

The Virginia Tech Undergraduate Man and Woman of the Year awards recognize two graduating students who have achieved overall excellence during their undergraduate careers at the university. They are the most prestigious non-academic undergraduate awards given at Virginia Tech and are awarded to those students who have exceptional and balanced achievement in academics, leadership, and service. The recipients exemplify the qualities and values important to a Virginia Tech education, captured in the university motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

Award recipients are selected by a committee of students, faculty, and administrators from across the academic colleges and the Division of Student Affairs. The division sponsors and administers the annual awards, now in their 62nd year.

Timothy Duffy, Undergraduate Man of the Year

Duffy is a University Honors student who has made the Dean’s List every semester. He currently has a perfect 4.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale). Duffy will graduate in December 2014.

“Tim has taken advantage of every opportunity," said Robert P. Stephens, associate dean for undergraduate affairs, associate professor of history, and associate principal in the Honors Residential College. “He has proven himself an exceptional undergraduate scholar, a dedicated and widely admired leader, and a man who truly embodies Ut Prosim as a way of life.”

As credit division head for BASIS (Bond and Security Investing by Students), Duffy worked with other students to successfully manage a $5 million fund for the university. He gained further practical experience in internships with PricewaterhouseCoopers and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Duffy traveled to Riva San Vitale, Switzerland, as a Presidential Global Scholar. He was named scholar of the year by his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi.

Duffy earned numerous competitive scholarships, including the Joseph R. Jenkins Scholarship in Accounting, John W. Fox Memorial Scholarship, Cooke Honors Scholarship, Pamplin Rising Junior Merit Scholarship, Presidential Alumni Scholarship, Willis P. Blackwood Scholarship, and Pamplin College of Business Freshman Scholarship.

As director of service and president of the Honors Residential College, Duffy led efforts to build a network of vital community relationships. He organized Habitat for Humanity builds, toy and food drives, and forged an award-winning partnership with the Virginia Head Start Association, through which HRC students volunteer at local preschools on a weekly basis.

He spent winter break on a service trip to Dangriga, Belize, with other Hokies, where they taught computer literacy skills to teachers and helped rebuild a community playground. Duffy said, “It was enormously moving to receive such immense gratitude for teaching skills we often take for granted.” He also took an active role in the Newman Community.

Derek D. Klock, assistant professor of practice in finance, said, “While he certainly strives for excellence both inside and outside of the classroom, Tim’s willingness and ability to enable those around him to achieve this same excellence is what I find so special. He always cares about the impact his decisions have on others – a true mark of a servant-leader. His innate leadership, service, and outreach ability are likely to make us proud to have awarded this honor to him years from now.”

Duffy is the son of Michael and Virginia Duffy.

Cassidy Dawn Grubbs, Undergraduate Woman of the Year

“My experience at Virginia Tech has redefined my understanding of education," Grubbs said. "More than a student, I consider myself a learner, an inventor, an ambassador, a leader, and a servant. My opportunities allowed me to form invaluable relationships and to challenge my assumptions of the world ― and of myself.”

A member of the Hillcrest Honors Residential Community, Grubbs was selected for the inaugural Presidential Global Scholars program, a rigorous, semester-long study abroad program at Virginia Tech’s Center for European Studies in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland. 

While there, she studied the cultural and structural influences on Switzerland’s education system, research which was later presented at the Deans’ Forum on Global Engagement.  

Grubbs earned the University Honors Class of 1954 Scholarship, which allowed her to travel to two national education conferences and to visit Finland and Sweden to study their cultures and education systems. She won the English Speaking Union Scholarship to study at Oxford, where she represented Virginia Tech in the creative writing program. She is a recipient of the Hillcrest Honors Residence Hall Scholarship.

A college ambassador for Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Grubbs also represents students as the SGA director of academic affairs and co-sponsored the first annual Undergraduate Opportunities Fair, an event for students to learn about the broad range of innovative academic options on campus. 

She is a member of the Board of Visitors representatives’ student advisory committee, providing insight and leadership on issues in undergraduate education at Virginia Tech. Grubbs is co-founder of Innovate EDU, a student group that promotes creative educational dialogue.

“Through her emphasis on improving learning opportunities for those around her, Cassidy has embodied and enacted a tightly coherent vision throughout her time at Virginia Tech, one that unifies her excellence in scholarship, leadership, service, and commitment to our university,” said Paul Heilker, a faculty member with the Presidential Global Scholars Program and associate professor of English.

This semester, Grubbs is taking part in an experimental class on community writing, in which she collaborates with teachers and leads writing projects and workshops for students in Montgomery County Public Schools.

Grubbs is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

Citing her “academic accomplishments, her commitment to making Virginia Tech a better place, and her ability to represent the university,” Terry L. Papillon, assistant vice-provost, director of University Honors, and professor of classics, said, “I have absolute confidence that she will succeed, flourish, and make a difference.”

Grubbs is the daughter of Michelle and David Grubbs.

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.

Written by Sandy Broughton.

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