Cathy Lally, assistant to the vice president for alumni relations at Virginia Tech, received the university's 2015 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.

Lally has been part of the alumni relations team for 23 years, joining the office initially as a part-time receptionist, moving to part-time chapter support, then full-time chapter support, and then assistant to the vice president.

“Cathy’s responsibilities have grown exponentially over the years as she has proven to be a loyal, capable, and trusted employee,” Tom Tillar, interim senior vice president for advancement, wrote in his letter of nomination. “This trajectory doesn’t happen without dedication, aptitude, understanding, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to support the team.”

In 2014, two college alumni directors departed, and Lally “did not hesitate to step in and volunteer to serve the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and the College of Science as their temporary alumni director while continuing with her regular responsibilities within alumni relations and coordinating both searches,” noted Tillar. 

For the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, Lally stepped in immediately and joined the planning committee for its 50th anniversary celebration. She set up and managed registration; coordinated function space, accommodations, catering, and entertainment; and helped guide a committee with her expertise in event planning and logistics.

“Cathy’s calm and constant presence allowed our college to move ahead with a major alumni event on the heels of the departure of our alumni director,” Jack Davis, Reynolds Professor and dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, wrote in his letter of nomination. “She provided advice and expertise when we needed it most and despite her other usual duties was always available for questions, last-minute meetings, or requests. Perhaps most importantly, she anticipated our needs and thought of things as no one else did.”

She continues to help the College of Science with its alumni program and will do so until a new alumni relations director is found.

“She is the quintessential ‘go-to person’ within the alumni relations staff,” added Tillar. “She has spent her career serving our alumni and association with an exceptionally high sense of responsibility and commitment.”

In addition to support for alumni programming, Lally serves on several university-wide committees including Human Resources Partners, the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign for the United Way, Hokie Wellness Champions, the administrative and fiscal officers group, and the athletics game entertainment committee.

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.

Share this story