Edward Spencer and Angela DeSoto were recognized by Virginia Tech's Student Government Association for their exemplary leadership and contribution to the Virginia Tech community with the first Zenobia Lawrence Hikes Leadership Award and the first Don Williams Service Award.

Spencer, vice president for the Division of Student Affairs, received the first Zenobia Lawrence Hikes Leadership Award. The award is designed to honor a student, administrator, faculty, or staff member who has displayed exemplary leadership during that year.

Zenobia Lawrence Hikes was named vice president for student affairs at Virginia Tech on Sept. 1, 2005, having previously served as vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga. Her strength and leadership helped unite the Virginia Tech community — most notably in the hours and days following the tragic events of April 16, 2007. She died from complications following cardiac surgery in 2008.

Spencer was appointed vice president for student affairs on Nov. 1, 2008, following Hikes' death. He provides leadership and oversight for the 15 departments in the Division of Student Affairs, including areas such as housing and dining, career services, student activities, student health, recreational sports, and the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets.

"I am humbled and honored by being chosen for this award for a number of reasons: it's being named for a very special administrator, mentor, and leader — the late Zenobia Lawrence Hikes; the fact that I am the first recipient of this new award; and the fact that the award was given by students, specifically the student government association," said Spencer.

DeSoto, of Chester, Va., a senior majoring in environmental policy and planning, in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, was recognized by the student government association with the Don Williams Service Award for her involvement in the Environmental Coalition and Green Team over the last four years and her desire to make a difference on the Virginia Tech campus relating to issues of sustainability. DeSoto has also worked closely with the Climate Action Commitment and Sustainability Plan and the student government association to promote sustainability within the Virginia Tech community and nationwide.

Don Williams is the executive director of Virginia Tech Services, which has given over $42 million back to the Virginia Tech community in its 40 years of operation. Williams has been very involved in working with student groups at Virginia Tech, offering support in a variety of ways. Recently, for example, Virginia Tech Services donated 20,000 T-shirts to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, offering support to the Virginia Tech 3.2 Mile Run in Remembrance on April 16, 2009, and working with students to make the Hokie Effect and Hokies on Fire programs a success.

The award recipients were chosen by the elected officers of the student government association. The awards are intended to recognize any student, staff, faculty, administrator, or organization that over the past year has demonstrated leadership or service to the university and the student government association.

Written by Melanie Harris.

Share this story