Matthew R. Gabriele, associate professor of Medieval Studies in the Department of Religion and Culture in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences  has been selected to serve as faculty principal in the Residential College at West Ambler Johnston

The residential college offers students a diverse social and intellectual environment that allows members to learn from each other. The focus is on the experience of spending time with friends, classmates, and faculty, leading to a transformative college experience.  

More than 800 students ranging from freshmen to graduate students from all academic disciplines are currently a part of the college.

Frank Shushok, senior associate vice president for Student Affairs and associate professor of higher education calls Gabriele a uniquely gifted faculty leader.  

“His intellectual acumen is palpable, as is his earnest commitment to the holistic learning of students," said Shushok. "West Ambler Johnston has landed another ideal champion for the aims of the residential college model at Virginia Tech.”

Gabriele is no stranger to West Ambler Johnston. He has served as associate principal of Hickory House since the residential college opened in 2012. Gabriele, together with wife Rachel and son Uly, say they anticipate being active partners in the process, as they replace outgoing Faculty Principal Ben Sax.  

“Rachel and I have some specific things that we want to accomplish,” said Gabriele, “but more generally our goals for the coming years are relatively simple. We want to nurture and protect all the good work that Dr. Sax and the rest of the faculty, the students, and staff have done over the past two years, and more solidly direct the undergraduate residents of the college towards academic and intellectual exploration.”

Gabriele points to his time as an undergraduate at the University of Delaware, when a professor took an interest in his progress. 

“It’s that kind of direct faculty-student engagement outside of the classroom that I’ve tried to model in the residential college as an associate faculty principal for the last two years, and want to continue going forward.”

Gabriele went on to receive a master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

The residential college is open to all Virginia Tech students regardless of major, class year, or honors status. Students are selected based on their desire to be involved in a dynamic community that emphasizes student engagement, academic success, and dedication to good citizenship. Students may apply online.

Share this story