From the Dean – November 2014

Alan Grant, dean

Alan Grant, dean

Dear Colleagues,

On Oct. 17, the university celebrated the installation of Timothy Sands as the 16th president of Virginia Tech. The installation ceremony, held in Burruss Hall, was attended by many internal and external stakeholders and officials. The guest speaker was France Cordova, director of the National Science Foundation and president emerita of Purdue University where she served as president from 2007 to 2012. President Sands’ inaugural address highlighted Virginia Tech’s 21st century array of disciplines and our longstanding leadership in interdisciplinary collaboration that reinforces our future as a balanced and comprehensive institution. He laid out his vision, discussed moving Virginia Tech to a higher rank among U.S. universities, addressed the need for resources to attract and retain talented faculty and staff, and spoke of focusing on philanthropy to provide access to students who would not otherwise be able to experience Virginia Tech. The day’s events ended on the drillfield with a pass in review by the Corps of Cadets and an ice-cream social featuring performances by a variety of student organizations. The installation was the second day of a three-day celebration that started on Thursday with a spirit rally before the Virginia Tech vs. University of Pittsburgh football game and ended on Saturday with a community pizza party and a pick-up basketball game with President Sands in McComas Hall. Many thanks to everyone who participated and contributed to the events.

On Oct. 22, Bruce Alberts joined faculty, staff, and students in the Fralin Auditorium for a talk on STEM education and the role of the scientific community in fostering greater science literacy. Alberts is a prominent biochemist committed to improving science and mathematics education. Formerly the president of the National Academy of Sciences and the editor-in-chief of Science, he is now the Chancellor’s Leadership Chair in Biochemistry and Biophysics for Science and Education at the University of California, San Francisco.  Many thanks to Nancy Dudek and Jody Jellison and others for making Alberts’ visit to Virginia Tech such a great success.

President Sands visited the college on Oct. 30 to meet faculty, staff, and students. In the morning he met with several undergraduate students and faculty members who highlighted college activities in various academic areas. This was followed by a series of short presentations on programs in water and in food safety and nutrition, as well as our international activities. Later there was a reception in the HABB1 pilot plant for Sands to meet and greet college faculty and staff. Sands enjoyed the opportunity to address the college, to respond to questions, and meet many of you. The success of this event was due to the work of many individuals throughout the college who worked together on the preparation of posters, presentations, planning of reception details, etc.  On behalf of CALS, I thank everyone involved for making the event a success.


Alan Grant

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