FOR LT. COL. EDIE MANGIBIN FAIRBANK ’95, joining the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets staff felt a lot like coming home.

“The Upper Quad is where I learned so much about myself, personal and professional relationships, leadership, and followership,” said Fairbank, a Corps of Cadets graduate who retired from the U.S. Army in October 2020 after 24 years of service.

Fairbank is now the alumni director assistant, working alongside Cmdr. Nate Brown ’98, also a corps graduate. Brown retired from the U.S. Navy this fall after 23 years and now serves as the corps’ new alumni director.

“I always thought I would enjoy a leisurely retirement from the Army, playing golf and riding my Harley,” Fairbank said. “But when I attended Corps Reunion 2021, I knew the Upper Quad was where my heart belonged.”

Nearly a quarter of the corps’ staff are alumni, bringing diverse career experiences to the cadets they mentor.

“Having faculty and staff members from all different experiences, not just Virginia Tech, provides our students and cadets the best possible resources as they develop into the young adults who will venture out and make our nation a better place,” Brown said. “Having said that, the opportunity to have Corps of Cadets alumni in such plentiful numbers provides people whom cadets can instantly relate to and receive mentorship from.”

Brown and Fairbank are hard at work looking to strengthen the bond between corps alumni and Virginia Tech.

In addition to Brown and Fairbank, alumni on staff include:

  • Katie Mallory ’04, executive officer
  • Ken Mallory ’06, assistant director of the Citizen-Leader Track program
  • Capt. Jamie McGrath ’90, U.S. Navy (retired), director of the Maj. Gen. W. Thomas Rice Center for Leader Development
  • Lt. Col. Travis Sheets ’05, U.S. Air Force (retired), deputy commandant
  • Col. Robert Shelton ’95, U.S. Air Force (retired), deputy commandant

“Many consider their Hokie experience to be the years that they spent as a student,” Brown said. “Our firm belief is that those undergraduate years were only the cost of admission to a lifelong Hokie experience.”

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