Thirteen Virginia Tech alumni will serve on the university's Multicultural Alumni Advisory Board, which engages Virginia Tech graduates in university efforts to strengthen its commitment to a diverse and inclusive community.

The new members include:

  • Melinda F. Emerson-Heastie (Class of 1994) of Drexel Hill, Penn., president, Quintessence Multimedia, Upper Darby, Penn.
  • Jerome Fowlkes (Class of 1988) of South Riding, Va., president and CEO, Fowlkes Development Corp., South Riding.
  • Adriane James (Class of 1980) of Norfolk, Va., USA Corps of Engineers, Norfolk.
  • Calvin Jamison (chair, Class of 1977)) of Richmond, Va., senior vice president and chief administrative officer, Hampton University, Hampton, Va.
  • Kimble Reynolds (Class of 1988) of Martinsville, Va., attorney, Martinsville.
  • Wayne Robinson (vice chair, Class of 1980) of Greensboro, N.C., pastor, New Millennium Christian Center, Greensboro.
  • Edwin A. Larroy Rodríguez (Class of 2005) of Manati, P.R., diversity consultant, Blacksburg.
  • Marguerite Harper Scott (Class of 1970) of Apex, N.C., social studies teacher, Cary High School: adjunct faculty, NC Teach Program, North Carolina State University.
  • Pierre Thomas (Class of 1984) of Falls Church, Va., Justice Department correspondent, ABC News, Washington, D.C.
  • Vera Turner (Class of 1983) of Alexandria, Va., director of individual giving, PBS, Arlington, VA.
  • Bevlee Watford (Class of 1981) of Blacksburg, director, Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity, College of Engineering, Virginia Tech.
  • James Watkins (Class of 1971) of Hampton, Va., dentist, Hampton.
  • Chaketa Whitfield (Class of 2000) of Chesapeake, Va., credit programs budget analyst, USDA Farm Service Agency, Washington, D.C.

“We are fortunate to have many alumni of diverse backgrounds and heritages that can help Virginia Tech enrich its multiculturalism and diversity,” said Virginia Tech President Charles Steger. “We welcome the creation of a new advisory board of alumni to guide our efforts in this important dimension of the university.”

“The Multicultural Alumni Advisory Board will work closely with the Virginia Tech Alumni Association and with the Office of Multicultural Affairs to assist us with diversity initiatives, and for its members to become a part of those initiatives,” said Tom Tillar, vice president for alumni relations. “It is our hope that the board can strengthen alumni programs, admissions programs, and general networking among alumni of common ethnic origins.”

Calvin Jamison will chair the advisory board. He said he has great anticipation the new Multicultural Alumni Advisory Board will help Virginia Tech achieve its current diversity initiatives, and develop new ones.

”It is important that the university engages all cultures as it advances among institutions nationally,” said Jamison. “Virginia Tech’s aspiration to be an even greater university can only be achieved by the inclusion of all people in the process.”

“I graduated in the Class of 1970, which affords me a greater appreciation of the early challenges for people of color at the university,” said Marguerite Harper Scott, who was one of the first six African American women admitted to Virginia Tech. “I can see how far we have come, and how far we can go. I joined this advisory board hoping the university will benefit from our past experiences.”

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech is the most comprehensive university in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is among the top research universities in the nation. Today, Virginia Tech’s eight colleges are dedicated to quality, innovation, and results through teaching, research, and outreach activities. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.

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