Ray Smoot honored with emeritus status
Ray Smoot, former vice president for administration and treasurer at Virginia Tech and former chief executive officer of the Virginia Tech Foundation, has been conferred the title of vice president for finance and treasurer emeritus by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
The emeritus title may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive an emeritus certificate from the university.
From the time of his arrival as an undergraduate student in 1965 to his departure as chief executive officer of the Virginia Tech Foundation in 2012, Smoot has fully devoted his scholarship, administrative acumen, and passion for higher education to Virginia Tech.
During the nearly five decades he spent with Virginia Tech — only briefly interrupted to pursue his Ph.D. at Ohio State University — Smoot served the university in many roles, including managing the university’s real estate and property acquisitions, insurance, athletics department, charitable giving, cash management, and venture capital efforts to review research and technology disclosures, as well as establishing the university’s international centers, licensing university trademarks, and establishing and leading several corporations.
As he served in his many administrative roles at the university, Smoot simultaneously served as the secretary-treasurer of the Virginia Tech Foundation, managing its assets, endowment, and investment portfolios.
Over the course of his 35 years with the Virginia Tech Foundation, Virginia Tech grew significantly in size, scope, and influence. When Smoot first became administrator of the Virginia Tech Foundation in 1977, the endowment stood at approximately $4 million and total assets were approximately $11 million. When he retired in 2012, the foundation was a solid and expansive enterprise, with an endowment of nearly $600 million and assets valued at more than $1.21 billion.
Along the way, Smoot’s vision and leadership led to the creation in 1985 of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center Inc., an incubator for entrepreneurship and innovation that has served as a home for hundreds of companies, has employed thousands of workers, and achieved internationally acclaimed success.
In addition, his commitment to the university and the region resulted in bringing together the City of Roanoke, the Norfolk and Southern railroad, and the Virginia Tech Foundation to renovate and create the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center.
Also during his time at Virginia Tech, Smoot helped build institutional capacity at the foundation and university for job creation and economic development. In addition to the Corporate Research Center and Hotel Roanoke projects, he oversaw the creation of the European Studies Center, the Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington, and the Turner Street development in Blacksburg, which today includes the North End Center.
Even in retirement, Smoot continues to serve the university and the region in education, business, and community roles that include efforts to stimulate and support regional economic development.