Charles W. Steger honored as President Emeritus
Former Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger, who served the university in several capacities for 40 years, has been conferred the title of “president emeritus” by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
The title of emeritus may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands. Nominated individuals who are approved receive an emeritus certificate from the university.
Beginning in 1974, Steger served his alma mater first as a faculty member, then as program chair, dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies from 1981 to 1993, acting vice president for public service from 1990 to 1993, vice president for development and university relations from 1993 to 2000, and ultimately as president of the university from 2000 to 2014.
As Virginia Tech’s 15th president, Steger outlined and implemented a bold vision commensurate with standards of global excellence — with students always at the center — and vaulting the university to new levels of prominence among the nation’s leading research universities.
His presidency was one of the longest and most impactful in Virginia Tech history.
Graduate and undergraduate enrollment as well as the student quality profile reached all-time highs. Nearly 107,000 degrees were awarded. He strengthened the research enterprise by creating interdisciplinary institutes and grew annual research expenditures from $193 million to $494 million. He oversaw the creation of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute and concluded the largest fundraising campaign in the history of the university exceeding $1.1 billion.
An architect of growth, Steger oversaw the largest expansion of the physical plant in university history by adding more than 2.5 million square feet of buildings during his presidency.
Committed to the arts, Steger was the driving force behind the Moss Arts Center and created the Steger Prize for Poetry.
Other highlights of his presidency included the university’s adoption of A Plan for a New Horizon: Envisioning Virginia Tech 2012-18; the Principles of Community in 2005, and the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment in 2009 and the fulfillment of Virginia Tech’s 50-year-old dream to join the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2003.
When Virginia Tech was visited by unprecedented tragedy in 2007, Steger led the university through an extended recovery with his leadership, for which he received the Chief Executive Leadership Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, District III in 2009
Steger received his Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1970, a Master of Architecture degree in 1971, and Ph.D. in environmental science and engineering in 1978, all from Virginia Tech.
After leaving Virginia Tech in 1971 to pursue a career in the private sector, his passion for teaching brought him back to the university to join the architecture faculty. He subsequently earned two teaching awards, authored a portion of a textbook, and was promoted to full professor in 1993.
When he was appointed dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at the age of 33, he was the youngest dean of architecture in the country. For his contributions to the field of architectural education, he was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 1990 and subsequently received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Virginia Society AIA in 1996.
In tribute to his long dedication to international scholarship, he received the 2010 Michael P. Malone International Leadership Award from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. In 2014, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors and Virginia Tech Foundation jointly named Virginia Tech’s Center for European Studies and Architecture in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland, The Steger Center for International Scholarship.
A recognized leader in higher education in Virginia, Steger’s most notable contributions included his role in the passage of the Higher Education Restructuring Act, which took effect in 2006. Steger chaired the Virginia Council of Presidents for two terms and was appointed by five Virginia governors to boards dealing with higher education, homeland security, information technology, and international education.
To bring greater visibility to Virginia Tech at the state and national levels, Steger served on a number of boards, some of which include the National Institute of Building Sciences, the boards that oversee the Center for Innovative Technology and the Jefferson National Lab, the Executive Committee of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, and the Northern Virginia Technology Council.
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.