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Pat Artis honored with 2022 Alumni Distinguished Service Award

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Pat Artis ’71 was recognized with Virginia Tech’s Alumni Distinguished Service Award May 12. The 2022 award recognized four individuals with outstanding service to the university and the Virginia Tech Alumni Association.   

"The bag goes on out on its way." Eric Paterson recalls the time alumnus Pat Artis came to him about teaching in the Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering. "As an alumnus with a PhD from Virginia Tech and deep interest in aerospace. You know, I mean, he was an active pilot, he had owned airplanes in the past and was very active in rocketry. He seemed like a natural person to teach in the department." Pat was appointed Professor of Practice. Patterson said he had no idea what it would lead to. "Pat now teaches at least three or four different classes, including one of our very largest classes." Four classes, a full load from a man who retired after founding and leading a software consulting firm and returned to Blacksburg to share his passion with the next generation of engineers. "Pat teaches Introduction to Aerospace Engineering, which is our first class for the sophomore students in the AOE department. And it is, it is, it is critically important because it's where the student get their very first taste of the subjects. Pat has gone on to teach or develop and teach numerous courses and things that align with his true passions. So Pat has developed a booster design course, a course about designing rockets to put humans and payloads into orbit and beyond. And it started out as an elective. And now it's going to be part of our core Capstone Design series." Beloved as a tough but amazing and funny lecturer, Pat is just as active outside of the classroom. He's a mentor as well as an advisor to student clubs, including several rocketry teams. "He loves the material, number one. I think he truly believes in giving back to the next-generation of students, to the next generation of engineering students. So I think he loves sharing his knowledge with people. He knows how to deliver the material at the right levels for them." In addition to volunteering his time, Pat and his wife Nancy have made contributions across the university to further support programs and students, including those at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. "When it comes to Pat and Nancy Artis, they've done a step further by devoting their scholarship resources to students who come from the region, and come from Radford University in particular. And we're so happy to have this connection to the local community through scholarships. Because what we know from other medical school's experience is that the best way of retaining students to practice in our communities is to identify students who grew up in the community, attended college in the community, went to medical school and did residency here as well." "Pat Artis is a living example of Ut Prosim. All of these things are a real passion for him. And he's doing it. He's not doing it for any, he's doing just because he loves it."