Former defensive coordinator Bud Foster has been named the Class of 2022 class ring namesake, and Rosemary Blieszner, Alumni Distinguished Professor and senior Fellow in the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Tech, has been named class sponsor.

The ring namesake and sponsor are honorary roles selected by each class. Foster and Bleiszner will be honored at Ring Premiere on Oct. 7 and then at Ring Dance in March 2021.

Foster, who came to Virginia Tech to work under former head football coach Coach Frank Beamer, retired as associate head coach at the end the 2019 football season after 33 years. As one of college football’s most decorated defensive coordinators, Foster was the creator of the legendary Lunch Pail Defense in 1995, which has remained a symbol of blue-collar work ethic and persistence in the Hokies football program. Foster continues to serve as an ambassador for the program.

“We are pleased to honor coach Foster as our class ring namesake,” said ring design chair and public relations and creative writing major Jaylin Kimble, from Haymarket, Virginia. “He is a Hokie legend who continues to serve and stay connected with Virginia Tech.”

Blieszner, a faculty member at Virginia Tech since 1981, teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on aging, late life families, spirituality and resilience, friendship, and research methods. She was named Alumni Distinguished Professor in 2002 and served as dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences from 2017-2019.

“With her position as co-chair of the Sesquicentennial Steering Committee, Dr. Blieszner is a perfect fit for the role of our class sponsor,” said class president and public relations major Danielle Panico, from Hanover, Massachusetts. "She is a leader and friend to so many in the Hokie community, always looking for ways to propel the university forward in its goals."

Beginning with the Class of 1991, the class ring design process has included the recognition of a distinguished Virginia Tech alumnus, alumna, university president, faculty member, or administrator as ring collection namesake.

Recent namesakes have included Vice President for Alumni Relations Emeritus Buddy Russell ’52, poet and University Distinguished Professor Nikki Giovanni, former Vice President for Alumni Relations Tom Tillar ’69, and former head football coach Frank Beamer ’69.

Officers for each class also choose a university faculty member or administrator to serve as honorary sponsor. Recent sponsors have included Art Keown, alumni distinguished professor in Pamplin College of Business; Maj. Gen. Randal Fullhart, commandant of the Corps of Cadets; and Patty Perillo, former vice president for student affairs.

Student and Young Alumni Engagement of Advancement provides sponsorship and advising to class programs, which includes the class ring tradition.

— Written by Laura Wedin M.F.A. ’84

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