Nancy Gard McGehee, professor and J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Junior Faculty Fellow of Hospitality Management in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, has received the university's 2014 Alumni Award for Excellence in International Research.

Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in International Research is presented annually to a faculty or staff member who has had a significant impact on international research at Virginia Tech. Selection is based on contributions to the internationalization of Virginia Tech, global impact, significance of the project, and sustainability of the project. Recipients are awarded $2,000.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2001, McGehee conducts research on rural tourism development and volunteer tourism management.

Her research in rural tourism development has spanned nearly 20 years and has included work in the area of sustainable enterprise and innovation in tourism in such diverse locales as Mexico, Australia, Portugal, and Haiti. 

McGehee has collaborated with researchers from Australia, England, New Zealand, South Korea, China, and Italy. She also recently delivered the keynote address at the international rural tourism development conference in Aveiro, Portugal, where she discussed the connection between leadership and successful rural tourism development. She is particularly interested in the role of bridging and bonding social capital as a catalyst for the success and cultivation of other forms of capital in rural tourism development.

McGehee is considered one of the top researchers in the area of volunteer tourism, and has worked on research in this area in countries including the Philippines, Mexico, Ecuador, and Haiti. She advocates for the use of social movement theory as a foundation which will minimize the negative impacts of volunteer tourism and maximize the positive impacts, resulting the creation of a new form of tourism which facilitates sustainable economic impact in host communities.

Based on the frequency of citations to her research, McGehee is among the top 5 to 10 percent of all scholars worldwide engaged in research on rural tourism development and volunteer tourism.

She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Travel Research and the Journal of Sustainable Tourism, a frequent invited reviewer for Tourism Management, and a coordinating editor for the Annals of Tourism Research.

McGehee received a bachelor’s degree from Marshall University, a master’s degree from North Carolina State University, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Virginia Tech.

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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