Ruth Lytton, professor of financial planning in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, recently received the 2012 Heart of Financial Planning Award.

A faculty member in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics since 2006, Lytton was recognized for her work with the Financial Planning Program at the university, which prepares students for careers as financial advisors. She also serves as the university’s director for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc., which grants and upholds the CFP certification as the recognized standard of excellence for personal financial planning.  

“I am humbled to be the recipient of this award from the Financial Planning Association. The alumni and the combined efforts of Virginia Tech faculty and financial planning professionals who have served as program supporters and mentors are truly the ones who should be recognized by this award – not me,” Lytton said. “My role has simply been to guide, motivate, and help others discover their passion for financial planning.”

It has been 15 years since the Financial Planning Program on the university campus was first registered with the Board of Standards.  It was recently recognized by Financial Planning magazine as one of the nation’s top 10 universities for financial planning education.

“I am proud to have served as program director during that time and to have watched it mature from a few students to one of the largest and most recognized undergraduate programs in the country,” Lytton said.

In 2007, the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics registered with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. to provide a financial planning option for its undergraduate students. At the same time, the Department of Finance in the Pamplin College of Business registered a CFP Certification Education track. These collaborative programs offer students two avenues to prepare for a career in financial planning. They study several topics, including estate planning, insurance planning, and risk management.

More than 150 students study financial planning at Virginia Tech; some of whom were Lytton’s students who won the Ameriprise Financial Planning Invitational competition in 2004 and 2007.  This year, three Virginia Tech teams placed in the top eight of the final rounds of the Financial Planning Association/Ameriprise/Certified Financial Planner Board Financial Planning Challenge.  One of the Virginia Tech teams won the knowledge component of the competition and placed second nationally, receiving $5,000 in program support.   Recently, she helped establish the Financial Planning Association student chapter at the university. She has accompanied student volunteers to the national association conference for 12 years.

Lytton received her master’s degree in consumer studies and her Ph.D. in resource management and family economics, both from Virginia Tech. She has co-authored two financial planning textbooks that are used to prepare the next generation of financial planners. She has received various student association, university, and national professional association awards for her contributions as a teacher, researcher, and career/academic adviser, including the College of Human Resources Certificate of Teaching Excellence, College of Human Resources and Education Excellence in Undergraduate Student Advising Award, and the Virginia Tech Award for Excellence in Career Advising.




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