Class of 2021: Pamplin’s Grant Bommer finds his niche as a leader
Before arriving in Blacksburg for his first year, Grant Bommer was eager to become an active member of the Virginia Tech community – although he admits that when he first arrived on campus he experienced a bit of shock as he adjusted to college life and attempted to find his niche.
He adapted quickly. Bommer was soon elected president of the Class of 2021 and, by his senior year, was named the 2021 H.H. Mitchell Outstanding Leadership Award recipient.
“Receiving this award means everything to me,” Bommer said. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my professors and the entire Virginia Tech faculty. It shows me that they are aware of all that I do and it makes it even more worth it.
“It makes me want to do an even better job to make them all proud.”
Upon receiving dual degrees in finance and management this May, Bommer will spend the summer working for Leidos as a finance and business operations intern on the Enterprise Systems Transformation team. In the fall, he will return to Virginia Tech to pursue a Master of Science in business administration with a concentration in business analytics (MSBA-BA).
Bommer’s leadership journey at Virginia Tech started back in the summer of 2017 when he attended Hokie Camp, a three-day experience where incoming students can meet fellow Hokies and learn about life at Virginia Tech. His interest in student governance was sparked when his Hokie Camp counselor told him she was her class’s treasurer.
As a finance major, Bommer saw this as the perfect way to pair his area of study with an exciting leadership opportunity. However, when he attended the interest meetings in the fall, the class officers he spoke to encouraged him to run for president because they instantly saw great potential in him for the role.
Clearly, the decision to run for president paid off.
“The first thing I noticed after being elected was the sheer sense of community that existed at Virginia Tech, especially within the class office,” he said. “It was truly like a family.”
As he reflected on his involvement in class office over the past four years, Bommer noted one particular instance that stood out and made a profound impact on his leadership perspective.
“I think it clicked for me at the 2019 Ring Dance when I was fixing a problem that nobody else was seeing,” he said. “Everybody there was just having a good time and we [class officers] were working behind the scenes to make sure the magic was happening. Seeing the people attending the event smiling and having a good time made it all worth it. That’s when you know you’re putting on an event that’s bettering your collective experience, and that’s why we [class officers] do what we do.”
Bommer added that, although the Class of 2021 was not able to hold a Ring Dance in person due to the ongoing pandemic, he and his fellow class officers are committed to continuing the Ring Tradition, one of the most cherished elements of Virginia Tech culture, for the Class of 2021 at a later date.
“Our Ring Dance was canceled due to the pandemic, and something that I’ve learned through this experience is the importance of having alternate plans in place,” Bommer said. “We will have a celebration for our class, and we will be able to have the Ring Dance, and that is possible due to the planning in place.”
In addition to his duties as class president, Bommer has dedicated much of his time to advocacy for the student body through the Commission on Student Affairs, Order of the Gavel, and the Task Force on the Future of Student Governance, which is working to reinvent the structure of Virginia Tech’s class office.
The Commission on Student Affairs, he explained, “ensures that student opinion, sentiment, and beliefs are respected as well as used in decision-making processes.” Order of the Gavel brings student voices to the attention of university administration as well, acting as a more direct advisory board to the vice president of student affairs.
As the undergraduate era comes to a close for Bommer, he looks forward to launching his career and staying connected to Hokie Nation long after graduation, which, of course, includes returning to Blacksburg when the Hokies take the field at Lane Stadium.
“I look forward to coming back in the fall for tailgates on game day weekends and jumping to ‘Enter Sandman’ with my alumni friends,” Bommer said. “Professionally, I plan to be a management consultant, but above all else, I plan to be a proud and active alumnus of Virginia Tech.”
— Written by Alison Monahan