Tom McAvoy, senior laboratory specialist in the Department of Entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences 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.

McAvoy has worked in the Department of Entomology during his entire 37 year career at Virginia Tech.

He has had a lasting impact in Virginia on the management of non-native invasive pests of agriculture and forest. McAvoy has published 32 papers in peer reviewed journals, and was senior author of 15 of these papers. He also published eight additional papers and has given 26 presentations at professional meetings.

In 2005, McAvoy received the first-ever Andy Swiger Land Grant Award, given to a Virginia Tech faculty or staff member for outstanding contributions and service to the agriculture industry through work in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“Tom conducted some of the earliest and much needed studies on the effectiveness and movement of imidacloprid, a chemical now registered and widely used for controlling the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) throughout the East,” wrote Brad Onken, a retired program coordinator for the U.S. Forest Service. “In the realm of biological control, Tom’s accomplishments have been invaluable. Tom is highly respected in the HWA research community and his enthusiasm and dedication has helped resource managers from Maine to Georgia with their struggle to manage hemlock resources.

In addition to his work responsibilities, McAvoy provided the leadership in creating Virginia Tech’s Employee’s Spouse and Dependents Scholarship program for incoming students. The program has awarded more than 140 scholarships totaling more than $93,000.

In 2012, the book, "The Grove: Recipes and History of Virginia Tech’s Presidential Residence," was published and the proceeds from its sale went to support the scholarship program. McAvoy’s contributions were formally recognized in the preface of the book.

“Tom is a shining example of how good Virginia Tech and its people are,” wrote Scott Salom, professor of entomology, in his letter of support. “His sole role comes down to helping others and he is tireless in that role. Tom is a special employee.”

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