The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors met for its quarterly meeting today in Blacksburg, and among several actions, adopted operating and capital budgets for fiscal year 2009-10.

The total university budget of $1.032 billion is slightly larger than the adopted fiscal year 2008-09 budget of $1.012 billion. The increases stem from increased building and operating costs in auxiliaries (primarily athletics and the residence and dining system), a $2.5 million increase in financial aid, and a projected increase of about $17 million in sponsored research.

State funding for the educational enterprise, the University Division, is down significantly. The adopted budget of $479 million, down from the fiscal year 2008-09 budget of $482 million, would have been far more dire if not for $15 million infusion of federal stimulus monies appropriated by the General Assembly. In addition, expected tuition revenue increases will also partially offset losses in state general fund appropriations.

The university will receive $32 million less in total state support (for all general fund supported programs) in fiscal year 2009-10 than the previous year. State appropriations to the educational division move from $178.5 million in fiscal year 2008-09 to $150.8 million in fiscal year 2009-10.

The board approved a new Master of Public Health degree. Administered through the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, the program will draw upon faculty expertise in veterinary medicine, education, statistics, food science, entomology, human development and others.

The board passed a resolution to adopt the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment and Sustainability Plan. Through this 14-point plan, the university seeks to be a leader in campus sustainability. Among goals in the university climate action commitment are plans to pursue LEED Silver certification or better for all new buildings and renovations, a 35 percent recycle rate by 2012, specific targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, reductions in electric usage, improvements in transportation efficiency, and many other measurable sustainability goals.

University President Charles W. Steger commended Professor John Randolph, Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, and the many students who championed the effort working with faculty and staff on the Energy and Sustainability Committee to develop the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment and the proposed Sustainability Plan.

The board itself is taking steps to improve its sustainability quotient. This was the first paperless meeting for the board and administrative participants. Using laptops and drawing from documents in a new board of visitors “portal,” administrators and board members shared and reviewed information without paper. Prior to this meeting, board members and administrators were equipped with three inch notebooks and myriad documents for review.

In other actions, the board took action to name the Patton Hall library for the late G.V. Loganathan of the Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Loganathan, who was lost in April 16, 2007 tragedy was a dedicated and decorated educator with numerous teaching awards, a highly regarded scholar, greatly loved by his students and colleagues.

The board also approved the appointment of Rick Rudd, professor and head of the Department of Agriculture and Extension Education and interim director of Virginia Cooperative Extension, as the Virginia Cooperative Extension Professor of Excellence in Community Viability. In addition, two faculty members and one librarian were honored with emeritus status.

The next regular quarterly meeting of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors will be held Aug. 30-31 on the Blacksburg campus.

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