To the Virginia Tech Community,

As the year comes to an end, I want to express my sincere appreciation for your many contributions to a successful fall semester. Each year brings unique challenges and opportunities, and with your steady commitment to our Principles of Community and the spirit of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), we move forward together.

I was pleased to be among those representing Virginia Tech at the governor’s Higher Education Summit on Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity last week as we continue strengthening support for academic freedom and free expression on our campuses and across the commonwealth. I appreciate your thoughtful and respectful engagement as these important conversations continue in the new year.

Fall semester brought the most competitive entering class in the university’s history along with strong retention rates with nearly 92 percent of last year’s incoming students, 90 percent of underrepresented minority students, and 88 percent of first-generation students returning for a second year.

To help support student success and our land-grant mission, this semester we launched Virginia Tech Advantage, our multiyear commitment to provide the resources and support needed to enable a successful transition to a fulfilling career for more than 5,500 Virginia students with financial need, including those from underrepresented and underserved communities.

This semester, several faculty members have received national recognition for their achievements. University Distinguished Professors Lindsey Marr and Robert Bodnar and Professor Shuhai Xiao were inducted into the national academies. Marr also was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, known as a “genius grant,” and she was named to Clarivate’s Highly Cited Researchers list, along with professors Wenjing Lou, Lina Quan, Walid Saad, Kwok Tsui, and Zheng “Phil” Xiang.

As we celebrate these achievements, I’m pleased to announce that our initiative to elevate the university’s reputation and impact will be known as Virginia Tech Global Distinction. As a leading global research university we engage top talent, deep and diverse partnerships, and interdisciplinary excellence to solve the most complex challenges in Virginia, the nation, and the world. Virginia Tech Global Distinction defines our land-grant mission, rooted in our commitment to our motto, Ut Prosim. You can learn more in today’s VT News story.

We will continue building on our strengths in 2024 as we advance these two strategic priorities.  I’ll have more to say about our plans and vision for the future in my State of the University Address on Feb. 7, 2024, at the Moss Arts Center. I hope you’ll join me in person or online.

Congratulations to our football team and the fans who traveled to Charlottesville to help them keep the Commonwealth Cup in Blacksburg for another year. We’ll all be cheering the Hokies to victory in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27.

Best wishes to our December graduates as we prepare to recognize your accomplishments at our commencement ceremonies next week.

Enjoy your winter break, take time to rest, recover, and reconnect with family and friends. I look forward to seeing you in 2024.

Go Hokies!

Tim Sands,

Share this story