Allison Mays has been named the director of the Virginia Tech Southwest Center in Abingdon.

Mays previously served in a number of roles at Emory & Henry College, including most recently as director of government relations. At the Southwest Center, she will assume the responsibility of extending Virginia Tech’s research, engagement, and graduate credit programs in the region. The center offers a variety of programs and services, including workforce and economic development, K-12 STEM education, and community outreach.

“We are excited to have Allison Mays join our team at Virginia Tech,” said Susan E. Short, associate vice president for engagement. “Her extensive experience in positions of leadership across Southwest Virginia will be a valuable asset to the center as it continues to connect the university’s resources to the needs of this region.”

The Southwest Center is part of a network of Commonwealth Campus Centers run by Outreach and International Affairs. With locations in Richmond, Roanoke, Newport News, and Abingdon, the centers work to fulfill the university’s land-grant mission by creating mutually beneficial community partnerships, providing professional development programs, and building collaborations to enrich discovery and learning.

“The Commonwealth Campus Centers are an important part of Virginia Tech’s commitment to serving the people of the commonwealth,” Short said. “By cultivating community relationships, engaging in regional collaborative efforts, and providing exceptional learning experiences, they are improving the quality of life and the human condition across Virginia.”

In addition to Emory & Henry, Mays has held significant leadership roles with organizations such as Mount Rogers Community Services, Healing Hands Health Center, and the Barter Theatre. From 2015-19, she served on the Washington County Board of Supervisors. She is currently a member of the board of directors for the Birthplace of Country Music, the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, the YWCA of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, Project Glade, and Virginia Ed Strategies.

“My skills and background have provided me with an in-depth knowledge of the needs of our region, and I am looking forward to leveraging the resources available at Virginia Tech to meet the diverse needs of Southwest Virginia,” she said.

The center is located at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon. Established as a state agency in 1991, the higher education center partners with public and private colleges and universities to provide degree programs, certificates, and professional development courses.

“I look forward to welcoming Allison to the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, where we are committed to serving the needs of our community and our academic partners, like Virginia Tech,” said David Matlock, agency head and executive director of the higher education center. “I know Allison to be a great communicator with a servant’s heart. I look forward to collaborating with her to strengthen the regional economy by providing higher education and professional development training of the current and future workforce.”

A native of Washington County, Mays is a graduate of Emory & Henry College.

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