Two Hokie alumni will receive awards for their significant contributions and service to Virginia Tech during the university’s commencement ceremony on May 11.

James Hatch, of Richmond, Virginia, and Mary Nolen Blackwood, of Midlothian, Virginia, are co-recipients of the Alumni Distinguished Service Award.

The award is presented at University Commencement each year.

Hatch is retired from the financial industry, but he maintains close ties and is actively involved with his alma mater, specifically Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business.

Currently, he is a member of the Pamplin Advisory Council, on which he has served as president and now is cabinet chair. He was a member of the national campaign steering committee and chair of the Pamplin steering committee for The Campaign for Virginia Tech: Invent the Future.

In 2010, he received Pamplin’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, which honors alumni for outstanding career accomplishments and contributions to the college.

From 2011 to 2015, Hatch was advisory board chair for the Department of Accounting and Information Systems. He is a member of Virginia Tech’s 1872 Society, the Pylon Society, and the Ut Prosim Society President’s Circle.

Hatch also is a two-term member of the Virginia Tech Foundation Board of Directors.

Hatch is a certified public accountant who worked for Arthur Andersen & Co., First Union Corp., and Wachovia Corp. He retired in 2004 as corporate controller and principal accounting officer at Wachovia.

Hatch has a bachelor’s degree in management from Lynchburg College and in 1972, he earned a master’s degree in accounting from Virginia Tech.

Blackwood believes that it is her duty to help the next generation of Virginia Tech students, and this mission drives her to serve her alma mater in many ways.

Blackwood, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Virginia Tech in 1973, was a founding member and the first female chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Roundtable. She continues to serve on the College of Science Dean’s Roundtable Advisory Board and is a lifetime member of the university’s Women in Leadership and Philanthropy Council.

She chaired the College of Science committee for the Campaign for Virginia Tech, which raised more than $62 million. In 2013, she was inducted into the College of Science Hall of Distinction.

Additionally, Blackwood is a member of the Ut Prosim Society President’s Circle, the Legacy Society, the Pylon Society, and she served on the Virginia Tech Foundation Board.

Throughout her career, she has worked for several state agencies in Virginia, and in the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University. She has a master’s degree in hospital and health administration from MCV/VCU.

Blackwood has been involved in numerous community organizations, including the Chesterfield-Colonial Heights Christmas Mother Program, the United Way, and as officer of election for Chesterfield County.

In 1988, Blackwood and her husband, Willis, a fellow 1972 Hokie graduate, founded Blackwood Development Co., a commercial real estate firm in Richmond.

Hokie loyalty is a family affair for the Blackwoods. Their two children, Morgan and Nolen, also are Virginia Tech graduates.

Written by Jenny Kincaid Boone

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