Michael Weaver, professor emeritus of the Entomology Department in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension from the Entomological Society of America (ESA).  

This award acknowledges the immensity of an individual’s career long contributions to the field of extension entomology. It honors those who show strong leadership, educational strategy, and innovation in their extension program. Weaver has demonstrated all of these qualities over his 40-year career.

Weaver has been a part of the Virginia Tech community even before being hired in 1980. He earned his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech, as well as earning degrees from West Virginia University (M.S.) and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Prior to his recent retirement, Weaver was the director of Virginia Tech Pesticide Programs (VTPP), a Virginia Cooperative Extension program with the goal of educating the public in pesticide safety, integrated pest management, and youth science outreach.

While leading VTPP Weaver has obtained many honors: the Commonwealth of Virginia award for 22 years of outstanding service to the Virginia Pesticide Control Board; editor-in chief of the Journal of Pesticide Safety Education; president of the American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators (AAPSE); the Virginia Tech Extension Excellence Award; the Virginia Tech Andy Swiger Land Grant Award; the AAPSE Life Member Award; and in 2018 was conferred emeritus status by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

His impact on extension and youth outreach education throughout Virginia will be felt long after his retirement. Weaver served as the principal or co-principal investigator of more than $15 million in grants and contracts related to extension programming. In 2011, Weaver and his team created Virginia Tech’s Hokie BugFest, an annual event which has grown to become the largest non-athletic public event at Virginia Tech, with over 10,000 attendees in 2019. He also created Hokie BugCamp, an immersive summer program for young children interested in entomology. 

Mike Weaver posing with 4-H insect collection award winners in 2016.
Michael Weaver posing with the Virginia 4-H insect collection contest winners in 2016. Photo by Whitney Weaver for Virginia Tech.

Weaver also delved into Virginia Tech’s past, working to restore the legacy of the university’s first entomologist, William Bradford Alwood. To memorialize Alwood, Weaver created the Alwood Extension Award for students excelling in extension programs and had a bur oak dedicated to Alwood. The tree, now named the Alwood Oak, was planted by the first Virginia Tech entomologist over 100 years ago. The entomologist and his impact on the university are commemorated in a permanent memorial next to the tree.

Alwood Plaza photo in 2021
The Alwood Plaza plaque in 2021. Photo by James Mason for Virginia Tech.
Alwood Oak Dedication photo in 2021
The Alwood Oak dedication on the Drillfield in 2021. Photo by James Mason for Virginia Tech.

This ESA award is the culmination of Weaver’s career long effort to Virginia Tech’s motto Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

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