From President Tim Sands: Finishing the year the Hokie way
To the Virginia Tech community,
As we wrap up an eventful and successful academic year, I want to thank all of you — students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends — for your hard work and commitment to our community. Thanks to you, we were able to return to the in-person experiences that set Virginia Tech apart. I hope you have been enjoying your time learning together in class, relaxing on the Drillfield, and participating in The Big Event, Relay for Life, the Run in Remembrance, and all the other signature spring Hokie activities. I look forward to celebrating the Class of 2022 at next week’s commencement ceremonies.
This year helped us truly appreciate what it means to be a Hokie. Our ongoing Sesquicentennial Celebration provided an opportunity to reflect on our institution’s historical impact on the land, people, and prosperity of the commonwealth. Our 1872 Forward celebration reconnected us to our roots in a way we had not fully acknowledged before. And we celebrated 100 years of women at Virginia Tech.
As we celebrate our past, we are also building for the future. On our Blacksburg campus, the renovation of Holden Hall is complete, and construction is underway on a number of projects, including the Data and Decision Sciences Building, Hitt Hall, the Multi-Modal Transit Facility, and the Undergraduate Science Laboratory Building. In Roanoke, we’re working to expand enrollment in the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, and the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC is recruiting research teams to fill a new building. The Innovation Campus has named its first cohort of affiliated faculty, enrollment is expected to increase to 350 Master of Engineering students this fall, and the first building is on track to open in 2024.
Our alumni, supporters, partners, and friends have been a tremendous source of support and encouragement over the past year. It was wonderful to be back in person for this year’s Ut Prosim Society weekend as we celebrated Boundless Impact: The Campaign for Virginia Tech surpassing the $1 billion milestone. We are well ahead of pace, so we are raising the campaign goal to $1.872 billion.
There were many noteworthy achievements this year. We announced partnerships with Amazon to explore machine learning and artificial intelligence and Northrop Grumman to support research and instruction in quantum information science and engineering. We won the top national award for excellence in entrepreneurship education from the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. And just last week, Virginia Tech broke into the top 100 of the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking, the only global ranking that assesses campus operations, research, education, and outreach in relation to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We ranked 98th out of 1,406 universities in 106 countries and tied for fifth in the U.S., with high metrics in sustainable practices, climate action, reducing hunger, and addressing inequalities. This ranking is especially relevant to us because it measures our impact on the well-being of our students, our communities, and the world around us.
And what a year it’s been for Virginia Tech Athletics! Four ACC Championships — men’s and women’s indoor track and field, the men’s basketball tournament, and the softball regular-season title — and two individual NCAA Champions — Rachel Baxter in the pole vault and Lindsey Butler in the 800 meter. Lindsey also won ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for indoor track and field, and Elizabeth Kitley and Justyn Mutts swept the top ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards for basketball. The men’s and women’s basketball teams both went to the NCAA tournament — that’s five in a row for the men and twice for the women. Our women’s track and field team finished sixth at the indoor NCAAs, and wrestling finished eighth at the NCAAs. Mekhi Lewis won ACC Wrestler of the Year. The men’s swimming and diving team recorded its top NCAA finish in history at No. 11, and the women placed 23rd. Dave Cianelli swept the ACC Coach of the Year awards for indoor track and field, winning this award for both the men’s and women’s teams, and Tony Robie won ACC Wrestling Coach of the Year. More excitement is ahead, with our softball team currently ranked No. 2 in the country, and our baseball team ranked fifth. And as I noted in my report to the Board of Visitors last month, our student-athletes win with teamwork, resilience, and humility — the Hokie way!
I hope all of you have an opportunity to take some well-deserved time to relax and spend time with family and friends over the summer. I look forward to seeing our campuses filled with excitement and energy again in the fall.
Let’s Go Hokies!