Andrew Becker, associate professor of Latin and Ancient Greek Languages, Literatures, and Cultures in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, and Trudy Harrington Becker, senior instructor in the Department of History, both in the Classical Studies Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, will share the university's 2014 Alumni Award for Excellence in International Education.

Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in International Education is presented annually to a Virginia Tech faculty or staff member who has had a significant impact on international education. Selection is based upon contributions to the internationalization of Virginia Tech, the impact on students, the impact on the campus and community, the significance of the initiative, and the sustainability of the initiative. Awardees receive $2,000.

For more than 16 years, this husband and wife team have worked together to make the history, culture, and relevance of Ancient Rome come alive for their students through their teaching and outreach efforts.

“As teachers for two semester long courses at Virginia Tech’s Center for European Studies and Architecture in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland; as directors and teachers for five summer courses in Riva and Rome; as co-leaders and teachers for a summer program in Greece; and as their college’s coordinators of the spring Riva program for four years, they have provided transformative experiences for hundreds of fortunate students,” wrote Mark Barrow, professor and chair of the Department of History, in his nomination letter. 

“The Beckers constantly strive to show their young charges just how relevant the ancient world remains to the problems and concerns we face today.”

As teachers and leaders of study abroad experiences, the Beckers provide student experiences that highlight themes that are timely, scholarly, and relevant. They find ways to connect readings, themes, and writing assignments to issues of significance across Virginia Tech programs.

In addition, the couple works to recruit a wide range of students, especially first generation college students, and to create opportunities that are deeply fulfilling for them.

A large number of students who have studied abroad with the Beckers have followed their experience with additional international experiences. Some students have gone on to participate in additional study abroad programs. Others have taken jobs as education abroad leaders, others have taught English overseas, and some have gone on to join the Peace Corps.

In 2007, Trudy Harrington Becker received Virginia Tech’s Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching, and she received the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring in 2011.

In 2013, Andrew Becker received the National Academic Advising Association’s Faculty Advising Award and the university’s Alumni Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising. He also has received other university-wide awards, including the William E. Wine Award and the Diggs Teaching Scholar Award.

Both have received other college awards, including a joint award for Excellence in International Initiatives in 2013.

Trudy Harrington Becker received her bachelor’s degree at the College of the Holy Cross, a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida. Andrew Becker earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Cambridge University, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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