Government service

These alumni are recognized for their government service.


Letitia Long

Letitia Long (electrical engineering 1982) is chief of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, the agency that tries to make sense of what spy satellites see. Long is the first woman to head a major U.S. intelligence outfit.

Deborah A.P. Hersman

Deborah A.P. Hersman (international studies 1992; political science 1992) was sworn in as the 12th chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board on July 28, 2009, following her nomination to the post by President Obama and confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Her two-year term as chairman runs until July 2011. She is also serving a second five-year term as a board member.

Chet Culver

Chet Culver (political science 1988), a former scholarship player for the Virginia Tech football team, was elected governor of Iowa in 2006 (he lost a re-election bid in 2010), only the second Democrat to hold that position in the past 30 years. Prior to winning the gubernatorial race, Culver served as Iowa’s 29th secretary of state and, when elected to the post in 1998, was the nation’s youngest secretary of state. He was re-elected to the position in 2002. Culver is the son of former Iowa Sen. John Culver.

Elizabeth Brownlee Kolmstetter

Elizabeth Brownlee Kolmstetter (M.A. psychology 1987; Ph.D. 1991) is deputy associate director of national intelligence for human capital within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence deputy. In 2002, as assistant administrator for workforce performance and training at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Kolmstetter implemented a post-9/11 congressional mandate to hire and train a federalized workforce of 55,000 airport security screeners for the TSA.

Timothy Fields Jr.

Timothy Fields Jr. (industrial engineering 1970) was assistant administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. He is the only EPA official to win the prestigious Presidential Rank Award -- the highest civilian service award available to government employees -- four times. The award recognizes outstanding leadership of programs that have produced concrete, long-term benefits.

Richard T. Crowder

Richard T. Crowder (agricultural and applied economics 1960; M.S. 1962) was nominated by President George W. Bush, confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and in January 2006 sworn in as the chief agriculture negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, an agency of more than 200 people who negotiate directly with foreign governments to create trade agreements, resolve disputes, and participate in global trade policy organizations.

S. Vance Wilkins Jr.

S. Vance Wilkins Jr. (industrial engineering 1957) was the first Republican to become speaker of Virginia’s House of Delegates.

Thomas W. Moss Jr.

Thomas W. Moss Jr. (building construction 1950) was speaker of Virginia's House of Delegates.

Earl J. Shiflet

Earl J. Shiflet (animal science 1940) was Virginia’s first-ever secretary of education under Gov. Linwood Holton and was secretary of commerce and resources under Gov. Mills Godwin.

William E. Dodd

William E. Dodd (M.S. general science 1898) was U.S. ambassador to Germany. He disapproved of the Nazis and resigned his post. His article "Germany Shocked Me" appeared in a 1938 issue of The Nation.

Claude A. Swanson

Claude A. Swanson (1877) was governor of Virginia from 1906-10. He also spent 12 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and 23 years in the U.S. Senate. At the time of his death, he was secretary of the Navy under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was never defeated at the polls in a primary or general election. (Did not graduate.)