In early August, I had the pleasure of welcoming alumni and friends to the CALS Alumni Organization event on the evening before Ag Expo, the state’s largest annual field day. More than 70 alumni and friends of the college attended the event, held at Good Luck Cellars in Kilmarnock. We were joined by horticulture doctoral student Cain Hickey, who is based at the Alson H. Smith Jr. AREC and gave a special presentation on the state of the wine industry in Virginia.
This year’s Ag Expo was held at Bleak House Farm, operated by the Downing family in Lottsburg, Virginia. The theme, “Northern Neck Agriculture: 400 Years and Still Growing,” highlighted the important role of Virginia agriculture, the commonwealth’s largest industry, to the state’s economy. More than 1,800 people attended the event that included over 140 exhibitors showcasing the latest agricultural equipment, services, and technology. The program included many presentations by faculty, staff, and students.
Back on campus, the college held a welcome session for new students on Sunday, Aug. 24. About 250 students attended the get-together. There are nearly 700 new students in CALS this fall, including freshmen and transfer students, along with 70 new students in the Agricultural Technology program. Of these incoming undergraduate students, 35 CALS students participated in Virginia Tech’s Summer Academy in July. Participation in the Academy has tripled since its inception in 2012.