Virginia Tech alumnus and former vice president for alumni relations Tom Tillar is the Class of 2019 class ring namesake.

In addition, Patty Perillo, vice president for student affairs since 2012, has been named the class sponsor. Selected by each class, the ring namesake and sponsor are honorary roles.

"Our class year of 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Tillar's graduation from Virginia Tech in 1969,” said Ring Design Chair Lily Bloomberg, of New York, a junior majoring in industrial design in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. “With that, and his long career of service to the university and support of Class Programs during his time with Alumni Relations, it seemed perfect to honor him as our class's ring collection namesake."

Tillar is being honored for his lifetime career service to the university, which started after his graduation in 1969. He has been actively involved with Class Programs and also served as student treasurer for the Class of 1969. Since 2015, he has served as special assistant to the dean of the Pamplin College of Business. 

Perillo has supported the learning and growth that happens outside of the classroom. She has emphasized the importance of student engagement with student organizations and school tradition.

"Dr. Perillo has dedicated her life to helping others and it is reflected in her tireless support for students at Virginia Tech,” said Class President Billy Lin, of Virginia Beach, a junior majoring in business information technology in the Pamplin College of Business. “She has shared many inspirational words to all of us during our freshmen orientations. The Class of 2019 is honored to select Dr. Perillo as our class sponsor."

Beginning with the Class of 1991, the class ring design process has included the recognition of a distinguished Virginia Tech alumnus, alumna, university president, or administrator as ring collection namesake.  

Recent namesakes have included Homer Hickam ’62, who wrote "Rocket Boys" (October Sky), and three of Tillar’s Class of 1969 classmates, former university president Charles Steger, former CEO and treasurer Ray Smoot, and former head football coach Frank Beamer.

Officers for each class also choose a university faculty member or administrator to serve as honorary sponsor. Recent sponsors have included Robert Sumichrast, dean of the Pamplin College of Business for the Class of 2017, and retired Capt. Vince Houston of the Virginia Tech Police Department for the Class of 2018.

Since 1993, the Virginia Tech Alumni Association has provided sponsorship and advising to class programs, which includes the class ring tradition.

Written by Laura Wedin

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