From the Dean — May 2016

Alan Grant, dean

Alan Grant, dean


This is the time of the year when the university announces many faculty and staff members and students for the annual Awards of Excellence. Congratulations to those in CALS who are being honored:

  • Alex Niemiera, professor of horticulture and CALS assistant dean of student programs is receiving the 2016 William E. Wine Award for Teaching Excellence. The selection process includes nominations of candidates by students, faculty, and alumni in each college, and the selection of three faculty members across the university. Each Wine Award winner receives an automatic induction into the Academy of Teaching Excellence.
  • Nada Tamim, director of undergraduate programs for animal and poultry sciences is receiving the university’s Alumni Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Academic Advising. Established by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the award is presented by the Office of the Provost to a Virginia Tech faculty member who has been particularly effective and dedicated to undergraduate student advising. Recipients are nominated by colleagues or students and are selected by a committee of former award winners.
  • Ted Ellmore, retired programmer in Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences is receiving the university’s 2016 Staff Career Achievement Award. Created to recognize retiring staff members, the award is presented to individuals who have distinguished themselves through exemplary performance and service during their university careers.
  • David Close, consumer horticulture specialist and Virginia Cooperative Extension state master gardener coordinator, is receiving the 2016 Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension – Specialist Category. Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension is presented annually to two Virginia Cooperative Extension faculty members – one specialist and one agent – who have made outstanding contributions to the land-grant mission of the university.
  • Steven B. Hopkins, Virginia Cooperative Extension agriculture and natural resources agent in Orange County, Virginia, is receiving the 2016 Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension – Agent Category.

Over 160 CALS faculty and staff members with were honored recently at the University’s Service Recognition luncheon and dinner events. The events recognize employees who have served the university for 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, and 45 or more years. We appreciate and thank everyone for their dedication over their many years with us.

Emma T. Helm of New Castle, Virginia, is being honored as the CALS Outstanding Senior, making her one of the eight 2016 Virginia Tech Outstanding Seniors. Helm has been conducting undergraduate research in meat science and muscle biology in the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences and has received a Fralin Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship. She also designs and delivers youth livestock programs for extension and is involved in several leadership roles for the Block and Bridle Club.

The college also honors our outstanding graduate students each year:

  • Tanya Halliday is our 2016 Outstanding Ph.D. Graduate Student. She began her graduate studies in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise in 2011. After graduation, Halliday will be part of a highly competitive NIH-T32 postdoctoral training grant at the University of Colorado.
  • Carly MacDougall is our 2016 Outstanding Master’s Degree Student. She is also studying in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, and is pursuing her M.S. degree in dietetics.

At the end of the academic year, each of the academic departments also recognize outstanding seniors. The full list can be found here.

CALS commencement ceremonies will be held on Thursday, May 12 and Friday, May 13. Along with numerous graduate degrees in CALS, we expect about 750 undergraduate degrees to be conferred this year. Many departmental events are scheduled to honor our graduating students, too. I hope many of you will be able to participate in some of these celebrations. And special thanks to our faculty and staff for creating an effective learning environment for our students.


Alan Grant

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