Mary Hunter, fiscal director for the Charles E. Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has received the university's 2014 President's Award for Excellence.

The President's Award for Excellence is presented annually to up to five Virginia Tech staff employees who have made extraordinary contributions by consistent excellence in the performance of their job or a single incident, contribution, or heroic act. Each recipient is awarded a $2,000 cash prize.

Hunter has worked at Virginia Tech for more than 33 years, the past 16 years has been with the Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She plans to retire at the end of the current academic year.

“To say that Mary’s contributions, work ethic, and leadership with the department have been exception for many years would be an enormous understatement,” wrote W. Samuel Easterling, the Montague-Betts Professor of Structural Steel Design and department head, in his letter of nomination. “What sets Mary apart is the breadth of support across multiple units within Virginia Tech over many years . . . and the other characteristic that stands out is the level of leadership and guidance she regularly provides.”

Among the many projects Hunter has been involved in include grant and contract administration, purchasing, and the management of funding faculty salaries from various sources during the academic year and summer. She invested a great deal of time developing a departmental financial system called DEPART that helps units manage and reconcile their funds. This system has been adopted by many departments across the university.

“Mary separates herself from other fiscal administrators at the university by the senior administration’s reliance on her expertise as it develops and implements new financial systems,” wrote Rodd Hall, senior associate director at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, in his letter of support. “She is almost always among the first to be called upon to test ideas for new systems, and then usually pilots systems once implementation begins. Her work has been exemplary and vital to the university’s success.”

In his letter of support, Ed Nelson, associate dean for administration and chief of staff for the College of Engineering, wrote, “I attribute the high esprit de corps of the civil and environmental engineering department, in large part, to Mary’s years of talented service and importantly to her commitment to improve university administrative services.”

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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