From the Dean — November 2015


Alan Grant, dean

Alan Grant, dean

Dear Colleagues,

On Oct. 8, many faculty and staff members and graduate students from the departments of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Horticulture, and Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science gathered for a picnic, giving those who would be part of a new School of Plant and Environmental Sciences an opportunity to mingle and socialize. The get-together was at the excellent suggestion of John Galbraith and others, who with the significant input from Jamie Lucero, organized the event at the Schmidt Pavilion on the grounds of the Turfgrass Research Center. Over 100 attended the event. Progress on the plans for the proposed new School continues among the various working groups.

SPES event

Faculty, staff, and graduate students from three departments mingle at the Turfgrass Research Center and talk about the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences.

On Saturday, Oct. 24, the college partnered with the Virginia livestock industry to honor five new inductees into the Virginia Livestock Hall of Fame. The ceremony was held at the Alphin-Stuart Livestock Arena and included the unveiling of portraits of the new members, who hail from academia and industry and have demonstrated significant contributions to the agricultural industry and its people in Virginia and beyond. The portraits are permanently displayed in the arena. This year’s inductees are: Olive K. Britt (honored posthumously); Richard H.L. Chichester III; Allen F. Harper; Gary Minish; and David Notter. Read more about these exceptional individuals in the Virginia Tech News release.


The college’s annual Scholarship Banquet was held on Oct. 29 at the Inn at Virginia Tech. Over 400 students, family members, scholarship donors, special guests, and faculty and staff members gathered to congratulate the scholarship recipients and to thank the donors who support the students and our programs. Many thanks to our speakers Daniel Giraldo Herrera, student in HNFE and biochemistry; and Turner Gravitt, director at Southern States Cooperative for sharing their experiences and thoughts during the evening program. The college is very fortunate that so many individuals provide support for so many students and many of the programs in the college. A big thank you goes to Jamie Lucero and staff members for an outstanding event.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Galbreath, a junior majoring in agribusiness, and the campus ambassador for Agriculture Future of America, an organization that identifies and supports high-achieving students by preparing them for careers in agriculture. Elizabeth will be one of the TEDx Virginia Tech speakers on Thursday, Nov. 19 at the Moss Arts Center. Visit the TEDx Virginia Tech website for tickets.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to peruse the new Agency 229 Annual Report, it is now available online or can be downloaded as a PDF. Read how the partnership and dedication of Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station are making a positive impact.

Lastly, the annual Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign is underway. Last year, Virginia Tech donated a record $318,656 to CVC charities across the state and more than $1.4 million during the past five years. The goal for CALS is $46,077. Community resources are often stretched to capacity, but CALS and the Virginia Tech community can make a difference.


Alan Grant

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