To the Virginia Tech community,

Welcome to a new semester and a new decade!

I hope you enjoyed the winter break and are ready for an eventful year. Our campuses continue to grow and evolve.  It will be exciting to watch the Creativity and Innovation District continue to take shape in Blacksburg. The Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC will open its new building in Roanoke, and the first phase of its research partnership with Children’s National Medical Center will launch in Washington, D.C.

Luiz DaSilva will join us as executive director of the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative, leading a network of higher education and industry experts to build an ecosystem of cyber-related research, education, and engagement. In Alexandria, we expect to announce an inaugural leader for the innovation campus and welcome the first class of students in our new masters of engineering degree in computer science. Virginia Tech is poised to make a difference in 2020, in the lives of our students, in our communities of discovery, across the commonwealth, and beyond.

We will strengthen our engagement with partners and the regions where they are located, both urban and rural. This is the same design principle behind our Cooperative Extension offices in every county and city and our Agricultural Research and Extension Centers strategically located in 11 communities across the commonwealth.

As we grow our research and academic facilities in Blacksburg, explore health science and technology in Roanoke, focus on national security in Arlington, advance automotive performance in southern Virginia, and develop technology and innovation partnerships in the greater Washington, D.C., area, it is important to remember that we are one university, one interconnected network of campuses, with a mission to serve our communities, the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.

In 2020, we need to ensure that our geographic distribution is an asset, with every student, staff member, faculty member, and partner experiencing Virginia Tech as one university, regardless of their location. Connecting our communities of discovery can become a signature strength in attracting and retaining talent and strategic partners.

We must also ensure that every member of our community receives the same university experience regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, and veteran status. Inclusion must be part of our university’s identity as our institutional and individual commitment to Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).  

This year, each one of us will have an opportunity to make a difference in some way. I especially want to encourage our alumni and friends to be part of Virginia Tech’s mission in 2020. We are looking for mentors, internships, and volunteers as well as donors. Boundless Impact: The Campaign for Virginia Tech seeks to engage 100,000 alumni and raise $1.5 billion to advance excellence across our programs and strategic priorities, and to make a difference in the university’s future for generations to come.

Welcome to a new year and a great new decade for Virginia Tech.

Go Hokies!

Tim Sands,


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