To the Virginia Tech Community,

Welcome to the start of the 2017-18 academic year! There is no better time of year in the commonwealth and especially, on our Blacksburg campus. The energy, the anticipation, and the renewed support of a strong and vibrant community define the end of summer and the beginning of the fall semester. For students, faculty, and staff who are new to Virginia Tech, we welcome you with open arms. You are now a Hokie and we will do our best to make you feel at home.

Virginia Tech is beginning the year with momentum — record demand for admissions, record giving to the university, and exciting new approaches to some of the most innovative academic programs in the country. The new Honors College, the School of Neuroscience, and a host of interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs are attracting growing interest.

Beyond Blacksburg, we are building the Virginia Tech Carilion Health Sciences and Technology campus in the Roanoke Innovation Corridor with our partners, Carilion Clinic and the city of Roanoke. We are breaking ground for the first research building with our partners at the Tech Center in Newport News, and we are charting a course for a greater presence in the National Capital Region in transdisciplinary fields, such as integrated security, data and decisions, intelligent infrastructure, global systems science, and the adaptive brain. These “Destination Areas” link programs and people in Blacksburg to every corner of the commonwealth, providing opportunities for undergraduate research and internships where the resources, opportunities, and partners reside.

Although Virginia Tech’s future has never been brighter, we are starting this year in the midst of a national crisis — a search for our soul as a nation and a divisive discourse about identity, human rights, racism, and free speech. The recent events in Charlottesville and in cities across the country demand that we stand up against hate, racism, and white supremacy. Yet, this upheaval presents an opportunity to lead and learn at Virginia Tech.  Our Principles of Community, our living motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), and our commitment to InclusiveVT all guide the way forward. I ask you to embrace this opportunity to engage in civil discourse across differences, to be mindful of your individual freedoms and the rights of others, to commit to learning more about the rich history of our peoples, and to use this knowledge to lead in service toward a stronger community and a better future for our nation.

I hope you will join me at the State of the University Address on Sept. 29 at 3:30 p.m. in the Moss Arts Center. I look forward to sharing our aspirations, our challenges, and our progress with you then.

Go Hokies!
Tim Sands,

On Twitter @VTSandsman

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