To the Virginia Tech community,

As our spring semester comes to a close, I want to thank all of you for the energy and engagement you have contributed to an important academic year, especially our graduates! I look forward to celebrating with them during commencement as we welcome trailblazing leader and philanthropist Jean Case as our keynote speaker.

This year, I had the opportunity to visit each of our colleges and reflect on our progress. Over the past five years, we have become a stronger university. This academic year has been pivotal as we define and focus our goals to support our aspirations to become a top-100 global research university and to make the Virginia Tech Advantage more accessible and affordable for students.  We also launched the new Residential Well-being initiative to promote student success and inclusion.

We’re investing in our future by expanding infrastructure and recruiting talent to meet our growing needs. In Blacksburg, we can begin to imagine what the North Academic District will looking like following the completion of several projects next year, including the Data and Decision Sciences Building, the Multi-Modal Transit Facility, the Undergraduate Science Laboratory Building, Hitt Hall, which includes a new dining facility, and two new elevator towers to improve accessibility.

The new Corps Leadership and Military Science Building and a new residence hall on the Upper Quad are also scheduled for completion next year as the Corps of Cadets prepares to celebrate 50 years of women in the corps.

The unique profile of the first building of our Innovation Campus is rising in Alexandria, where we celebrated the placement of the final beam this year. And we’re excited about the next phase of growth for the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke.

This year expanded our global perspective as we rolled out the red carpet to welcome the president of Botswana in our first state visit, and Provost Clarke led a delegation to India to announce the opening of a satellite office.

U.S. News and World Report ranked Virginia Tech fourth among the best global universities in the U.S. for electrical and electronic engineering. Our online Master of Information Technology program was ranked third, one of several highly ranked graduate programs.

What a great year for Virginia Tech Athletics with four ACC Championships in men’s and women’s indoor track and field, women’s basketball, and wrestling and our first individual NCAA Champion in swimming and diving. Women’s basketball and coach Kenny Brooks took us to the Final Four for the first time in history with a record 31 wins.

It was a year of accomplishments for faculty as well, including Bevlee Watford named to the National Science Board, Linsey Marr named to the National Academy of Engineering, M.A. Saghai Maroof named fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Rafael Davalos and Roe-Hoan Yoon named fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NIA), Robert Gourdie named senior member of NAI, and Menah Pratt and Robert Weiss named fellows of the American Council on Education.

I want to personally thank everyone who attended and viewed the Information Privacy panel discussion I hosted with University Distinguished Professor France Bélanger last month.  We had a stimulating conversation with several university experts and students about these important issues and the growing research focus at Virginia Tech.

Students, good luck on your finals and take care of yourself during the upcoming break.  I look forward to kicking off a new academic year with you in the fall. There are exciting opportunities on the horizon, and I encourage you to take full advantage of the Virginia Tech experience when you return.

Have a great summer and let’s go Hokies!

Tim Sands,


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