Notable Virginia Tech alumni: alphabetical index
Sami Al-Mudhaffar (Ph.D. biochemistry 1967) is the minister of higher education in Iraq, overseeing the revamping of the country’s national educational system. Al-Mudhaffar returned to Iraq after completing his Ph.D. and became a lecturer on the teaching and research faculty in the College of Science at the University of Basrah. He became president of Baghdad University in 2003 but was forced to resign by the minister of higher education at that time. In February 2006, a car bomb hit his convoy, killing one civilian and injuring three others, including two of his bodyguards.
J. Ambler Johnston
J. Ambler Johnston (mechanical engineering 1904) was inspired by the work of famed neo-Gothic architect Ralph Adams Cram to design some of the basics -- including quadrangles and the use of Hokie Stone -- that are the foundations of Virginia Tech’s architectural style. He also designed Virginia’s State Office Building in Richmond. Johnston and Douglas Southall Freeman purchased many of the Civil War battlefields around Richmond, which later were given to the National Park Service. Two things bear his name: Virginia Tech’s largest residence hall and a fungus, Cylindrochytridium Johnstonii, which was discovered on his estate.
C.E. Andrews (accounting 1974) is president and chief operating officer of RSM McGladrey, a subsidiary of H&R Block. He is the former president and chief financial officer of SLM Corp. -- commonly known as Sallie Mae -- the nation’s leading provider of student loans and administrator of college savings plans. Andrews joined Sallie Mae in 2003 as executive vice president of accounting and risk management. Before joining Sallie Mae, Andrews worked at Arthur Andersen for 29 years, ultimately serving as global managing partner for Andersen’s audit and advisory services.
Howard S. Avery
Howard S. Avery (mining engineering 1927) was internationally known in the field of metallurgy. He conducted pioneering work in the areas of precise creep-rupture testing, thermal fatigue evaluation, and carburizing behavior. Two of his technical papers garnered Lincoln Gold Medal awards, and he received the first ever Award of the New York Chapter of the American Society of Metals. In 1995, he donated professional alloy samples, their photomicrographs, and related files to a special collection at Virginia Tech. At the time, the collection was independently appraised at more $400,000.
Kelso S. Baker
Kelso S. Baker (civil engineering 1955) began his engineering career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on a runway expansion project at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. After several positions with engineering firms, he established his own manufacturer’s agency in 1963. Baker Process Equipment Co. Inc. represents a number of companies that manufacture heat-transfer equipment, vacuum jet equipment, and analytical gas analyzers.
Jerry H. Ballengee
Jerry H. Ballengee (mechanical engineering 1962) became the president and chief operating officer of Union Camp, a Fortune 250 company. The Covington, Va., native retired in June 1999 when International Paper Co. acquired Union Camp.
Stephen K. Bannon
Stephen K. Bannon (urban affairs 1976) is chairman of the board of Genius Products, a leading independent home entertainment distribution company. Prior to joining Genius, Bannon sold Bannon & Co., an investment-banking boutique he formed in 1990, to Société Générale. He is also the former CEO of Biosphere 2.
Stonie Barker Jr.
Stonie Barker Jr. (mining engineering 1951) became the president of Island Creek Coal Co. in 1970 when it was the fourth-largest producer of bituminous in the United States. Time magazine described him as a critical player in ending a three-and-a-half month national coal strike in the winter of 1978. He retired in 1984 as chairman of the board.
Frank Beamer (distributive education 1969), head football coach at Virginia Tech since 1987, directed his players through an undefeated season in 1999 and on to the national championship game in the Sugar Bowl, where the Hokies lost to Florida State. Throughout his career, Beamer has earned 10 coach of the year awards and the 2004 Humanitarian Award, won three Big East Conference championships and four ACC championships, and guided the Hokies to 18 consecutive bowl appearances.
Wilson B. Bell
Wilson B. Bell (biology 1934; M.S. 1935; Ph.D. 1952) co-developed a new vaccine to protect calves against bovine leptospirosis, which had cost livestock raisers throughout the country thousands of dollars daily.
Marian Spearman Bengel
Marian Spearman Bengel (architectural engineering 1949) was the first woman in Tennessee to become a licensed professional engineer.
Floyd Bennett (aerospace engineering 1954) was chief of the landing analysis branch of the Manned Spacecraft Center. He designed the landing trajectory for the Apollo 15 moon expedition of July 1970, and a hill on the moon was named for him in recognition of his work. Bennett Hill is a high point in the Hadley-Apennine descent area that was used as a landmark for the landing module Falcon.
Bridget Ryan Berman
Bridget Ryan Berman (business administration 1982) is the retired chief executive officer of Giorgio Armani Corporation, the wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of Giorgio Armani S.p.A. A 20-year veteran of department and designer store retailing, Berman returned to the fashion industry following a stint as vice president and chief operating officer of retails stores for Apple Computer. Previously, Berman worked at Polo Ralph Lauren for 12 years, ultimately as group president of retail.
Mary V. Berry
Mary V. Berry (mechanical engineering 1962) had a record of attaining "firsts" for women engineers during her four decades with the Atlantic Research Corp., later Aerojet. Her peers regard her as the definitive expert on the engineering development of the rocket motors for the Multiple Launch Rocket Motor. She was the first woman registered as a professional engineer in Virginia and the first woman appointed to the State Board of Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Landscape Architects. She was the first woman engineer appointed by a Virginia governor to serve on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, the first woman to receive Tech’s Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, and the first woman to serve on the College of Engineering’s Advisory Board.
William E. Betts Jr.
William E. Betts Jr. (architectural engineering 1932, 1933) lettered in varsity football and graduated first in his engineering class. As an undergraduate, he was elected to Phi Kappa Phi and Tau Beta Pi and was a member of the German Club and the Monogram Club. In 1938 in Lynchburg, Va., he and his friend, A.P. Montague Jr., founded Montague-Betts Co., a structural steel fabricator for major construction projects, including the World Trade Center. He became chair of the company in 1956, a position he retained for more than 40 years. He was also among the World War II troops that landed on Omaha Beach.
Walter J. Biggs Jr.
Walter J. Biggs Jr. (1906) was a nationally known illustrator for Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, House & Garden, and other magazines. His status as one of the nation’s foremost illustrators was firmly established with his 1963 election into the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame.
William C. Bixby
William C. Bixby (electrical engineering 1942) was editor of Look magazine, a weekly general interest magazine published in the United States from 1937 to 1971. It was widely viewed as a competitor to Life magazine.
J.M. Bland (general science 1902) was the first president of Ruritan National, a civic service organization founded in 1928 that today has about 30,000 members across the nation.
Terry Blevins (accounting 1983; master's 1985) is executive vice president and chief financial officer of Landmark Media Enterprises. She helped lead the successful sale of one of Landmark's most lucrative assets -- The Weather Channel -- to NBC Universal and private-equity firms just before the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers.
Jody Breckenridge (biology 1975) is a vice admiral in the U.S. Coast Guard, serving as commander of the Coast Guard Pacific Area.
John A. Brothers
John A. Brothers (chemical engineering 1962, 1966; materials engineering science 1968) spent his career with Ashland Inc., a company with annual sales of $8 billion when he retired as its executive vice president in 1999.
David Tucker "Towhead" Brown
David Tucker "Towhead" Brown (agricultural engineering 1902) was commissioned by President Herbert Hoover in 1930 to go to Panama to work on the Inter-American Highway and was subsequently placed in charge of the work. Examining 190,000 square miles of territory, he completed the survey of the most practical route from Mexico to Panama City. (Did not graduate.)
Mary Brumfield (biology 1923; M.S. 1925) was the first female student to graduate from Virginia Tech. She enrolled in 1921 with four other women as the school’s first coeds; as a transfer student, she graduated in two years. She then enrolled in the master’s program and received a second degree from the university.
Jim Buckmaster (biochemistry 1984) is CEO of Craigslist, a centralized network of online urban communities that features free classified ads and forums on multiple topics. In January 2000, Buckmaster was hired by the then-5-year-old company as lead programmer. He was promoted to CEO in November 2000.
J. Scott Burhoe
J. Scott Burhoe (sociology 1976) assumed duties as the 39th superintendent of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., in January 2007. Rear Adm. Burhoe’s staff assignments have been focused primarily in human resources. He has a master’s of public administration from American University and earned his commission after graduating from Officer Candidate School in 1977.
Julian Ashby Burruss
Julian Ashby Burruss (civil engineering 1898) was the first Tech alumnus to become president of his alma mater. He served 26 years, longer than any other president in school history. Through his efforts, women were admitted to Virginia Tech and the military requirement was reduced from four years to two. He was also the first president of the Normal and Industrial School for Women (now James Madison University) in Harrisonburg, Va. Each campus has a Burruss Hall that honors his memory.
Charlie L. Byrd
Charlie L. Byrd (business administration 1946) was an internationally famous, classically trained jazz guitar virtuoso who recorded more than 100 albums and helped introduce the bossa nova to the United States. His records included the million-seller "Jazz Samba” and the Grammy-nominated "Brazilian Soul.” He also wrote scores for films and music for stage productions and made several international trips as a goodwill ambassador for the State Department. (Did not graduate.)
Mitchell Byrd (wildlife science 1949; Ph.D. 1954) is chancellor professor emeritus of biology at the College of William & Mary, where he served as chairman of the department for 13 years. More notable are his contributions to conservation. He was instrumental in the repopulation of peregrine falcons east of the Mississippi River and also is associated with the return of bald eagles to the East Coast.
Edward H. Cahill
Edward H. Cahill (engineering mechanics 1909) designed in 1915 the first mapping camera ever used from an airplane in America, becoming a pioneer in the design of uniquely American instruments for photogrammetic mapping. He was a vice president of Brock and Weymouth in Philadelphia, and his designs, which were developed by Norman and Arthus Brock, became known as the Brock Process of aerial mapping. His work was placed in the archives of the Smithsonian Institution, the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, and the International Society of Photogrammetry in Enschede, Netherlands. (Did not graduate.)
William Addison "Add" Caldwell
William Addison "Add" Caldwell (agriculture 1876) was the first student to register at Virginia Tech, known at the time as Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College. Caldwell walked about 28 miles from his Virginia home in Craig County to Blacksburg to register.
David Calhoun (accounting 1979) is chairman and CEO of The Nielsen Company. Previously, Calhoun, who joined GE upon graduation, served as president and CEO of GE Aircraft Engines; president and CEO of Employers Reinsurance Corporation; president and CEO of GE Lighting; and president and CEO of GE Transportation Systems.
Archie Cannon (business administration 1950) retired from the U.S. Army in 1987 as the deputy chief of staff, personnel, for the U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army. During his service, Cannon held a variety of command and staff positions in places such as Germany, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. He has been honored and recognized with awards and decorations that include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.
C. Hunter Carpenter
C. Hunter Carpenter (agricultural engineering 1902; graduate student 1903-04, 1905-06) was the first Virginia Tech player elected to the National Football Hall of Fame. He played fullback on the 1899 and 1900 teams and halfback on the 1901, 1902, 1903, and 1905 teams, serving as captain in 1902. In 1904, he went to the University of North Carolina for a year of law study and played on the football team.
Brad CasperBrad Casper (finance 1982) is president of the Phoenix Suns, one of the winningest franchises in National Basketball Association history. Casper is the former president and chief executive officer of Dial Corp., maker of Dial soap, Purex laundry detergent, Renuzit air freshener, and other consumer products. Under his leadership, the company has grown, improved its score on a national consumer satisfaction index, and built a state-of-the-art headquarters and research-and-development center that represents the largest new-facility investment worldwide by its parent company, German multinational Henkel.
Robert E. "Bob" Castle Jr.
Robert E. "Bob" Castle Jr. (electrical engineering 1976; M.S. 1978) was a flight director in Mission Control at NASA’s Johnson Space Center from 1988 to 2003. He directed more than 25 space shuttle missions either as the flight director or the mission operations director, including the lead work on the first space shuttle mission to dock with the Russian Mir space station and the first shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS). He led preparations for the space shuttle mission "5A" that carried the U.S. laboratory module Destiny into orbit in 2001. NASA presented him with its Stellar Award for his outstanding leadership in the development of the flight control team operations concept and Russian interfaces to support the ISS.
Betty Chao (industrial engineering and operations Ph.D. 1983) is founder and CEO of Westech International Inc., a 320-employee company that works on various U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Defense contracts. She has been honored as DOC National Minority Female Entrepreneur of the Year, 2001; SBA Region VI Minority Small Business Person of the Year, 2002; and Minority Business and Professionals Network Fifty Influential Minorities in Business, 2004.
Julian Cheatham (business administration 1933) went to work immediately after graduation for the Georgia Hardwood Lumber Co. that his brother Owen had started in 1928. Cheatham rose to the ranks of executive vice president and director before retiring in 1975 from the family company, which had grown into one of America's largest corporations, the Georgia-Pacific Corp. Tech’s Cheatham Hall was named in his honor in 1972.
Chi-Tung Sidney Chen
Chi-Tung Sidney Chen (M.S. agriculture and applied economics 1929) was a star athlete in China. He distinguished himself in China as the national titleholder of high and low hurdles, established a record in the Far Eastern Olympics, was the chief pitcher for the Shanghai baseball team, played center on China’s basketball team in the Far Eastern Olympics, and served as captain of the Chinese track team in the Seventh Far Eastern Olympics.
Ed Clark (horticulture 1977) is president and general manager of the Atlanta Motor Speedway and executive vice president of Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns NASCAR tracks in Atlanta, Charlotte, Bristol, Fort Worth, Las Vegas, and Sonoma, Calif.
Vernell “Bimbo” Coles
Vernell “Bimbo” Coles (housing, interior design, and resource management 1990) was Virginia Tech’s first student-athlete to participate in the Olympics, playing point guard on the 1988 U.S. basketball team in South Korea. He is the all-time leading scorer in the Metro Conference with 2,484 points. He played in the NBA, ending his 14-year career with the Miami Heat after the 2003-04 season. Today he lives and works in West Virginia, where he grew up. (Did not graduate.)
Joseph H. Collie
Joseph H. Collie (chemical engineering 1950) is a Danville, Va., native who established his own chemical distribution firm, Southchem Inc., in 1969. By the end of 1992, when the entrepreneur was ready to sell his business, sales had reached $58 million. In 1995, he and his wife, Barbara, presented Virginia Tech’s Department of Chemical Engineering with a $1 million gift to establish a chaired professorship dedicated to developing an interdisciplinary program in chemical distribution and marketing.
Charles B.D. Collyer
Charles B.D. Collyer (mining engineering 1919) established, in 1928, a record for a trip around the world -- 23 days and 15 hours. He traveled by monoplane, which he piloted; steamer; and rail. Collyer and a passenger traveled approximately 20,000 miles at an average speed of 800 miles per day. They broke the former record by almost five days. In October 1929, Collyer also established an east-to-west non-stop flight record by covering the distance from New York to Los Angeles in 24 hours, five minutes, bettering the existing record by two hours. He was killed when his plane crashed in November 1929 while he was attempting to break the west-to-east nonstop flight record. (Did not graduate.)
Trish Cox (marketing 1990; M.B.A. 1993) is chief operating officer of Schwab Advisor Services, a division of Charles Schwab & Co. Cox oversees the development and delivery of custodial, operational, and trading support services to some 6,000 independent, fee-based investment advisor firms.
William A. Cox
William A. Cox (mechanical engineering 1934) co-founded the Cox-Frank Corporation, a Norfolk, Va., mechanical and general contractors firm. After several years, Cox bought out Frank, and the firm was eventually renamed Cox-Powell in recognition of another Virginia Tech engineering alumnus, J.V. Powell Jr. Powell, a chemical engineering graduate, eventually became a partner.
Roger Craig (biology 1999, biochemistry 1999) became the highest one-day total winner on the game show “Jeopardy!” in 2010. He won $77,000 in one evening, surpassing the previous record of $75,000. His seven-day total winnings of $231,200 -- amassed before his run as the show’s champion ended Sept. 21, 2010 -- was third highest for the show, excluding tournaments.
William S. Cross
William S. Cross (industrial engineering 1941) founded Cross Sales and Engineering Co. in Greensboro, N.C., in 1954. Under his chairmanship, the Cross company grew to become one of the largest distributors of fluid power products in the United States, with branches in eight states. It is also a leader in the use of computer-aided design for the fabrication of hydraulic power units.
Roger K. Crouch
Roger K. Crouch (M.S. physics 1968; Ph.D. 1971) twice served as the scientific astronaut with the Columbia space shuttle in 1997. Now he is the lead scientist for the NASA office that selects and funds the scientific experiments on the shuttles and on the International Space Station. On one mission, he carried a Virginia Tech banner into space.
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.
James H. Crumley
James H. Crumley (distributive education 1969; M.S. education, basic studies 1975) has been hailed as the founding father of camouflage -- the bark and leaf pattern -- clothing for hunters.
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.
Dell Curry (sociology 1990) was selected 15th overall in the 1986 NBA draft by the Utah Jazz and played in the league for 16 years, 10 of them for the Charlotte Hornets. Curry, who earned the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award after the 1993-94 season, retired from basketball in 2001. In 1998, Curry started the Dell Curry Foundation in Charlotte, N.C. -- since renamed Athletes United for Youth -- which helps area youth through skill-based programs and community service projects.
Clifford A. Cutchins III
Clifford A. Cutchins III (accounting 1944) was a member of the Virginia Tech class slated to graduate in 1944 but whose members were called to serve in World War II. After serving as a captain in the U.S. Army in the Pacific Theater, Cutchins returned to Virginia Tech. He later began working in the banking industry and rose in the ranks to become chairman and CEO of Sovran Financial Corporation (now part of Bank of America).
Carroll Dale (vocational and industrial education 1964) was Tech’s first All-American football player. As a professional, he won one NFL championship and two Super Bowl rings. He was selected for the Pro Bowl in 1969, 1970, and 1971 and has been inducted into four halls of fame.
David J. D'Antoni
David J. D'Antoni (chemical engineering 1967) was named the senior vice president of Ashland Inc. in 1988 and the president of Ashland Chemical Co. In 1999, Ashland Inc. named him its senior vice president and group officer and a member of its executive committee. From 2001 until his retirement in 2004, DʼAntoni also headed Valvoline Oil and Ashland Paving and Construction Co., the largest highway paver in the United States.
Harper Dean (horticulture 1904), a special writer for Country Gentleman and Saturday Evening Post, achieved fame in the field of journalism. In 1922, his story "The Reverend Meddler” in Country Gentleman was made into the movie “Go Straight.”
John T. DeBell
John T. DeBell (civil engineering 1968) started his own business in 1974 with a colleague and called it Bengston and DeBell. The business doubled each year for the next five years, and then he added two partners. By 1987, the business had 300 employees. In the late 1990s, Burgess and Niple Inc. assumed 100 percent of the company’s stock, and DeBell stayed on as an owner and retained his place on its board of directors.
Henry J. Dekker
Henry J. Dekker (accounting 1947) served as an officer in the Pacific during World War II, then returned to Blacksburg, Va., to complete his degree, after which he went to work for the university. After a two-year stint as university treasurer, Dekker launched a 36-year career in the textile industry. He was founder and president of the North American operations of French couturier Louis Feraud. He retired as vice chairman in 1991 and returned to Blacksburg. Dekker served on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors from 1989 to 1997, including a term as rector. He died in June 2011 at age 90.
Robert B. Delano
Robert B. Delano (animal science 1945) retired as president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, an independent, non-governmental, voluntary organization that works to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans and to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities.
Nicholas H. DesChamps
Nicholas H. DesChamps (mechanical engineering 1962, 1967) started DesChamps Technologies in 1974. His company developed the Wringer, the first product in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning industry that allowed the control of humidity inside a building without overcooling it. As a result, the company moved from a $7-million-a-year operation to some $30 million a year. DesChamps sold his business to Munters Corp. and remained as an executive vice president until July 2009.
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.
Doug Domenech (forestry and wildlife management 1979) was appointed secretary of natural resources by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. Domenench oversees eight agencies charged with protecting the commonwealth’s air, water, soil, and wildlife. Domenech served in a number of leadership roles in the U.S. Department of the Interior from 2001 to 2009, including deputy chief of staff to the secretary of the interior.
Lynne Doughtie (accounting 1985) is national managing partner of KPMG's U.S. advisory services. She is a member of the firm's management committee and helps develop strategy, training, and risk management initiatives. She was named to Consulting magazine’s 2009 list of "Women Leaders in Consulting" -- one of only eight women honored and one of only two named in the leadership category. Doughtie was also recognized by Diversity Journal ("Women Worth Watching") and Accounting Today ("Women in Accounting").
Fred D. Durham
Fred D. Durham (civil engineering 1922) became president of C. Lee Cook Manufacturing Co. and in 1955 merged it with three other firms to form the Dover Corp. His daughter Eleanor Davenport and her family presented $5 million to the College of Engineering for scholarships and fellowships. Durham Hall is named in his honor.
Mark Embree (mathematics and computer science 1996) became Virginia Tech’s second Rhodes Scholar in 1996. Embree is formerly a professor of computational and applied mathematics at Rice University and is now a professor of mathematics in the Division of Computational Modeling and Data Analytics major in Virginia Tech's College of Science.
John R. Eoff Jr.
John R. Eoff Jr. (applied chemistry 1904) contributed more to the then-modern knowledge of winemaking than anyone since Louis Pasteur.
Gilbert L. Faison
Gilbert L. Faison (electrical engineering 1947) joined Roache and Mercer in 1959 and within two years became a full partner in the mechanical and electrical engineering consulting firm. He retired from Roache, Mercer, and Faison as president and chair. He was also a founding member of the Advisory Board for Virginia Tech’s Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Robert E. Femoyer
Robert E. Femoyer (1944) was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for heroism in World War II. In action over Germany, he navigated his anti-aircraft-riddled airplane, a B-17 Flying Fortress, to safety in England, saving the lives of his crew even though he was mortally wounded -- and in fact refused morphine to stay alert enough to return to base. He died on Nov. 2, 1944, an hour after landing his plane. Feymoyer Hall honors his memory. (Did not graduate.)
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.
Peggy Fox (communication 1986) is a reporter for the CBS affiliate station WUSA-TV (Channel 9) in Washington, D.C. Fox has won numerous awards, including three Emmys, the first in July 1997 for her news feature, “Playing with Lead,” about toxic lead paint coating on playground equipment in the D.C. area.
Edwin Broun Fred
Edwin Broun Fred (M.S. agriculture 1907) was president of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. During his 13-year tenure, enrollment tripled, the faculty nearly doubled, the annual operating budget quadrupled, and the university had its biggest building boom in campus history. In 1947, he received the Medal of Merit for his part in the field of biological warfare.
Antonio Freeman (housing and residential management 1995) played in the NFL from 1995-2004. The wide receiver was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1995 and played with them until 2001, during which the team played in two Super Bowls and won one. He was also a member of the 1998 Pro Bowl team. In addition to his second stint with the Packers -- 2003-04, after which he retired -- Freeman played for the Philadelphia Eagles. During his career, Freeman had three 1,000-yard receiving seasons. In 2006, Freeman won a Pop Warner Award for his work with youth.
Doug Fritz (marketing 1982) is president of Richmond International Raceway. He is also on the board of directors at the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, the Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Virginia Performing Arts Foundation, and the Richmond Sports Backers. In April 2005, Fritz was named Henrico County Business Leader of the Year.
Brian Keith Fulton
Brian Keith Fulton (urban affairs 1989) is president of Verizon West Virginia. Previously, he was vice president of AOL Time-Warner Foundation and former associate director of the National Urban League. He was recognized by Ebony magazine in 1991 as one of the "30 Leaders of the Future" and by the Discovery Channel in 1996 as a "Contemporary Leader." He received a Computerworld Smithsonian Award for technology innovation, the highest information technology honor for a civilian.
Carl E. Garrison III
Carl E. Garrison III (forestry and wildlife 1978) received the American Tree Farm System’s 2010 Sustained Excellence Award, which honors state foresters who have been strong advocates and supporters for the American Tree Farm System. Garrison, who has served as Virginia state forester since 2004 and was recently reappointed by the governor, is responsible for the administrative, policy, organizational development, and operational areas associated with maintaining the value of the state’s forest resources.
Clifton C. Garvin
Clifton C. Garvin (chemical engineering 1943; M.S. 1947) served with the U.S. Corps of Engineers in the South Pacific for three years before returning to Blacksburg, Va., to earn his master's degree in 1947. Afterward, Garvin went to work for Exxon Corp., where he worked his way up from process engineer in the refineries to president in 1972. He was selected as its chairman and chief executive officer in 1975 and remained CEO until his retirement in 1986. During Garvin’s tenure, Exxon was the world’s most profitable company.
Julien E.V. and Antoine A.M. Gaujot
Julien E.V. Gaujot (1893) and his brother, Antoine A.M. Gaujot (1900), both received the Medal of Honor. Stationed at Douglas, Ariz., in 1911, Julien saw several people killed by stray gunfire from across the Mexican border. Infuriated, he rode his horse across the border in the face of the gunfire, halting further bloodshed and leading five Americans to safety. Antoine was recognized for bravery shown at San Mateo, Philippines, in 1899. Under heavy fire, he swam a river and returned to his own forces with a boat, the only means of passage for his forces to pursue insurrectionists. (Did not graduate.)
Alexander Giacco (chemical engineering 1942) was CEO and chairman of the board of Hercules Inc., which manufactures and markets chemical specialties used in making products for home, office, and industrial markets. In the 1980s, Giacco was recognized for his leadership role in the chemical industry, including being named twice as one of the 10 Outstanding Chief Executive Officers in United States Industry by The Financial World.
Robert C. Gibson
Robert C. Gibson (mechanical engineering 1961) is the chairman of Clark Nexon, one of the nation’s top 500 architecture and engineering design firms. In the past decade alone, the firm has won 11 distinctive design awards under Gibson’s leadership.
George R. Goodson Jr.
George R. Goodson Jr. (mechanical engineering 1949) is the chairman of Warwick Plumbing and Heating. It is one of the largest mechanical contracting firms in Virginia, grossing upwards of $50 million annually.
William H. Goodwin Jr.
William H. Goodwin Jr. (mechanical engineering 1962) began his career with IBM and later started Commonwealth Computer Advisors, a computer-leasing company known today as CCA Financial Inc. Over the years, Goodwin increased his business portfolio by purchasing and selling various companies, and he is now chairman of the board of CCA Industries Inc., a diversified holding company. Goodwin and his wife, Alice, created the Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research.
Charles O. Gordon
Charles O. Gordon (industrial engineering 1942) was co-owner of Tri-City Beverage Co. in Johnson City, Tenn., which bottled the first Mountain Dew around 1950. He developed and marketed Dr. Enuf, a vitamin-laced soft drink. He was also the mayor of Johnson City.
John Grado (industrial engineering and operations research 1951) was selected by Litton Industries as corporate vice president in 1967 when it acquired Fitchburg Paper Co. He built the group into a $300 million operation. After almost two decades, Grado established his own company, Technographics. The John Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering is named for him.
Earle D. Gregory
Earle D. Gregory (electrical engineering 1923), known as the "Sgt. York of Virginia" by newspapers nationwide, was the first native Virginian to receive the Medal of Honor. At Bois de Consenvoye, France, on Oct. 18, 1918, he single-handedly captured 22 German soldiers and two machine guns, saving countless American lives. The university’s Gregory Guard precision drill team is named in his honor. (Did not graduate.)
H.C. Groseclose (agricultural education 1923) and W.S. Newman (M.S. agriculture 1919) founded the Future Farmers of Virginia in 1926, which evolved into the Future Farmers of America.
Jack Guynn (industrial engineering 1964) was president of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank -- one of 13 people who set the nation’s economic policy with former reserve chairman Alan Greenspan -- from January 1996 until he retired in October 2006. He joined the Atlanta bank in 1964.
Charles O. Handley Jr.
Charles O. Handley Jr. (biology 1944) was a renowned scientist, author, and teacher who worked for the Smithsonian for 53 years. As curator of mammals at the National Museum of Natural History, he was generally regarded as the world’s foremost expert on Latin American bats. In recognition of his work, several animal species were named for him: a hummingbird, long-tongued bat, mouse possum, pygmy mouse, and wingless bat fly, among others.
J.R. Hardesty (engineering 1900) designed "Uncle Sam’s Strong Box," the U.S. gold bullion depository in Fort Knox, Ky. (Did not graduate.)
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.
Kylene Barker Hibbard
Kylene Barker Hibbard (clothing, textiles, and related arts 1978) was crowned Miss America in 1979.
Homer Hickam (industrial and systems engineering 1964) has written several best-selling novels, including Rocket Boys, which was made into the film “October Sky.” His books often reference his life experiences, which include growing up in a coal-mining town, serving in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, working as an engineer for the U.S. Army Missile Command and NASA, and scuba diving.
Joseph R. Inge
Joseph R. Inge (agricultural and applied economics 1969) concluded a 38-year military career in 2007 as deputy commander, U.S. Northern Command, and vice commander, U.S. Element, North American Aerospace Defense Command. Lt. Gen. Inge currently serves as a consultant to the United Nations, as well as numerous educational institutions and firms.
Vahan Janjigian (MBA 1982; Ph.D. finance 1985) is vice president and executive director of the Forbes Investors Advisory Institute and Forbes’ chief investment strategist. He is editor of the Forbes Growth Investor and Forbes Special Situation Survey newsletters and a regular contributor to Forbes magazine and Forbes.com. He is the author of Even Buffet Isn't Perfect: What You Can -- and Can't -- Learn from the World's Greatest Investor.
W. Robert Jebson Jr.
W. Robert Jebson Jr. (metallurgical engineering 1956) developed Environmental Systems Service Ltd. (ESS), a professional service company with a supporting environmental laboratory, in 1973. From its origins with water and wastewater projects to dairy testing, ESS eventually expanded into food analysis. For more than 30 years, the company has remained privately owned.
James B. "J.B." Jones
James B. "J.B." Jones (mechanical engineering 1944) earned national recognition in 1991, three years after his retirement, when the American Society of Mechanical Engineers presented him the James Harry Potter Gold Medal for contributions in thermodynamics. After earning his master’s and Ph.D. at Purdue, he taught there from 1945 to 1964. In 1964, Jones returned to Blacksburg, where he headed the Department of Mechanical Engineering for 19 years and was named the Lingan S. Randolph Professor of Mechanical Engineering.
Dennis M. Kamber
Dennis M. Kamber (civil engineering 1964) built his own company, Kamber Engineering, into a major local engineering firm practicing in Maryland, Northern Virginia, and West Virginia. During his career, he has managed projects as large as $3.5 billion, and continues to work today as senior vice president of global water management for ARCADIS, a top-five global company focusing on infrastructure, the environment, and buildings.
William D. Kilgore Jr.
William D. Kilgore Jr. (mining engineering 1957) is retired from co-ownership of Kanawha Eagle LLC. He also served as chairman and CEO of Anker Coal Group and Anker Energy Group.
Sybille Klenzendorf (fisheries and wildlife M.S. 1997; Ph.D. 1902) leads conservation initiatives for various animals, including elephants, rhinos, tigers, orangutans, and leopards. Klenzendorf currently serves as the managing director for the species conservation program at the World Wildlife Fund. In her role, she oversees the training of game wardens, carnivore ecology, human-wildlife conflicts, and anti-poaching units for some of the most critical wildlife habitats on Earth.
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.
Alfred E. Knobler
Alfred E. Knobler (ceramic engineering 1937) was the founder, chairman, and CEO of Pilgrim Glass, a company widely known for its cranberry glass and the only maker of American Cameo Glass in the country. Although the company closed in 2002, the glass remains a highly desired collector’s item.
Barbara Knuth (fisheries and wildlife science Ph.D. 1986) is vice provost and dean of the Graduate School at Cornell University. She is also a past president of the American Fisheries Society.
Hoda Kotb (communication 1986) is the co-anchor of the fourth hour of "TODAY." Kotb has also been a "Dateline NBC" correspondent since April 1998 and the host of the weekly syndicated series "Your Total Health" since September 2004. Kotb has received numerous awards, including the 2008 Gracie Award for Individual Achievement, the 2008 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University award, and the prestigious Peabody in 2006 for her "Dateline NBC" report "The Education of Ms. Groves." The four-time Emmy nominee also won the 2004 Headliner Award, the 2003 Gracie Award, and the 2002 Edward R. Murrow Award.
Christopher C. Kraft Jr.
Christopher C. Kraft Jr. (aerospace engineering 1945) did much of the pioneering work for the country’s manned space program. As director of flight operations at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas, he was responsible for landing men on the moon and returning them safely to Earth. In 1972, he became director of the center, later renamed the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. He has been called "a true pioneer in all of the United States manned programs for exploring the vast reaches of space."
John H. Kroehling
John H. Kroehling (ceramic engineering 1948) earned a Purple Heart and a Soldiers Medal serving in World War II. In 1991, he retired from Dupont to start JH Kroehling Associates. He operates the business from his home in Williamsburg, Va., continuing to provide catalyst maintenance services to General Motors, Chrysler, and Toyota assembly plants.
Michelle Krusiec (theatre arts 1995), the former host of “Travelers” on the Discovery Channel, has made more than 30 guest appearances on primetime television shows. In 2002, Krusiec premiered her original one-woman show, “Made in Taiwan,” at the HBO Aspen Comedy Festival, where Hollywood Reporter named her one of its Top Ten Rising Stars. Krusiec’s performance in the Alice Wu film “Saving Face” garnered her a Best Actress nomination for the Golden Horse award, Asia's equivalent to the American Academy Award.
Edward Hudson Lane
Edward Hudson Lane (electrical engineering 1910) and his father founded the Standard Red Cedar Chest Co., later known as Lane Furniture, in 1912. He played a significant role in the success of the Student Aid Association at Virginia Tech. Lane Stadium bears his name. (Did not graduate.)
William C. Latham
William C. Latham (general agriculture 1955) is the president and CEO of Budget Motels Inc., which he established in 1973 to launch one of the very first Days Inn franchises in the United States. Budget Motels, which provides economy-priced hotels, currently owns and operates eight Days Inns and one Comfort Inn. In 2006, the university dedicated the William C. and Elizabeth H. Latham Agriculture and Life Sciences Building to honor Latham and his wife.
John R. Lawson II
John R. Lawson II (geophysics 1975) is president and chief executive officer of W.M. Jordan Co. Inc., the largest construction company based in Virginia with nearly 400 employees. Under Lawson’s leadership, W.M. Jordan Co. has achieved annual revenues exceeding $360 million. Lawson received the Ernst and Young Virginia Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2004. The Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech was named for Lawson and his former classmate, Ross Myers.
William W. Lewis Jr.
William W. Lewis Jr. (physics 1963) was Virginia Tech’s first Rhodes Scholar and went on to earn a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Oxford in 1966. Lewis has held positions with the U.S. Department of Defense, Princeton University, the University of California, the World Bank, and the U.S. Department of Energy. He was the founding director of the McKinsey Global Institute of McKinsey and Co., one of the nation's most prestigious and influential management-consulting firms. He also has published regularly in the Wall Street Journal, the International Herald Tribune, and The New York Times.
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.
Joseph R. Loring
Joseph R. Loring (electrical engineering 1947) started his private practice in 1956, Joseph R. Loring & Associates Inc., and has provided essential engineering services for many of the era’s renowned public and private building projects. They range from high-rise office towers and corporate headquarters to universities, libraries, hospitals, airport terminals, courthouses, and correctional facilities around the world.
Robert C. Macon
Robert C. Macon (mechanical engineering 1912), a major general commanding the 83rd Infantry Division during World War II, accepted the surrender of German Gen. Maj. Botho Elster and his 18,850 troops and 754 officers near Beaugency, France, in what Life magazine called "one of the largest and most fantastic surrenders in this war."
William J. Madia
William J. Madia (Ph.D. chemistry 1975) is vice president for the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Previously he was director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, serving also as CEO of laboratory contractor UT-Battelle LLC and executive vice president for Battelle’s business with the U.S. Department of Energy. In 1999, Madia was named Laboratory Director of the Year by the Federal Laboratory Consortium.
Harold L. Martin
Harold L. Martin (electrical engineering 1980) is chancellor of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Previously, he had been senior vice president for academic affairs for the 16 institutions of higher education that comprise the University of North Carolina system.
Ray E. Martin
Ray E. Martin (civil engineering 1964, 1968) served as president and CEO of Schnabel Engineering Associates. Upon retiring, he started his own consulting business relating to design and rehabilitation of dams and building foundations. He helped lead the efforts to create Virginia Tech’s Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science. In recognition of his service, the College of Engineering presented Martin with the Distinguished Service Award in 1993 and its Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2003.
Joseph T. May
Joseph T. May (electrical engineering 1962), a delegate in the Virginia General Assembly since 1993, was honored in 1996 with the Virginia Lifetime Achievement Award in Industry. In 2000, he received the Governor’s Legislative Leadership Award in Technology, and in 2002 he was named the Virginia Biotechnology Legislator of the Year. The owner of 22 patents and of his own business, EIT, which designs, manufactures, and sells electronic products, May is considered the resident technology expert in the General Assembly.
William C. McAllister
William C. McAllister (engineering mechanics 1965) founded Colonial Mechanical Corp. in Richmond, Va., in 1972. Over the next 25 years, the company grew to employ almost 800 people and ranked 42nd in size among mechanical contractors in the United States. He created the McAllister Emerging Leadership Scholarships and the McAllister Leadership Scholarships, and he is founder of the Cotillion Club Alumni Association.
Charles N. McBryde
Charles N. McBryde (M.S. 1892), son of VAMC President John McLaren McBryde and the first student to receive a graduate degree at Virginia Tech, was one of the discoverers of a serum for the prevention of hog cholera that saved untold millions of dollars. It was prepared and sold by numerous large commercial firms and was used all over the world.
Sharyn E. McCrumb
Sharyn E. McCrumb (M.A. English 1985) has written 21 novels (as of 2010) that explore culture, especially Appalachian culture, and has won numerous awards for her books, including a Kentucky Colonel honorary title. Several of her novels have made the New York Times best-seller list, and she is the only three-time winner of the Agatha Award.
John B. "Jack" McKay
John B. "Jack" McKay (aerospace engineering 1946) was one of the first seven pilots selected to fly the X-15 for NASA. He achieved astronaut status for taking it to an altitude of 56 miles and a speed of 398 mph. In 1995, George Allen, then the governor of Virginia, declared a John B. McKay Day in honor of his contributions to the space industry.
Benjamin McKelway (general agriculture 1917) was editor of the Washington Evening Star and president of The Associated Press. (Did not graduate.)
E. George Middleton
E. George Middleton (mechanical engineering 1950) was one of Norfolk’s leading residents. He chaired the school board, the campaign for South Hampton Roads, and several other groups, receiving numerous awards for his efforts. He also ran E.G. Middleton Inc. Electrical Contractors until his death.
Nicholas M. Mihalas
Nicholas M. Mihalas (chemical engineering 1959) first worked for GE and then moved on to Timex, where he was named president in 1977 and was tasked with re-engineering Timex wristwatch production to compete with international companies. Subsequently, he was awarded the J.L. Lemkuhl Award for his superior management and turnaround of Timex. He later established three companies: a real estate investment firm, a consulting engineering firm that specialized in the turnaround of underperforming companies, and an investment and management firm for early stage start-ups.
Mary G. Miller
Mary G. Miller (computer science 1985) formed Interactive Design and Development (IDD), an information technology development company and a producer of educational materials, at Virginia Tech and then took it private in 1991. Her clients include such organizations as the American Federation of Teachers, members of the health care industry, and Fortune 500 companies. In 1996, IDD was recognized as one of the Top 100 Multimedia Developers in the United States. For the past 20 years, Miller has also assisted both Democratic and Republican governors of Virginia in technology matters.
Jimmie W. Monteith Jr.
Jimmie W. Monteith Jr. (mechanical engineering 1941) received the Medal of Honor posthumously for courage and gallantry while leading his men in destroying an enemy emplacement on the Normandy beachhead on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Monteith Hall honors his memory. (Did not graduate.)
William A. Moon Jr.
William A. Moon Jr. (geology 1955; M.S. 1961) received an Honorary Order of the British Empire, an equivalent of knighthood bestowed by the queen of England on foreign nationals, "in recognition of his contribution to Texaco and the United Kingdom upstream oil and gas industry."
E. Towson Moore
E. Towson Moore (electrical engineering 1958) has served as president and CEO of Wilmore Electronics Co. Inc. since its founding. He gradually moved his company and its subsidiary, Energy Dynamics Inc., into manufacturing, employing about 100 people. The companies’ two locations provide state-of-the-art industrial power converters to a wide base of domestic and export customers.
Thomas W. Moss Jr.
Thomas W. Moss Jr. (building construction 1950) was speaker of Virginia's House of Delegates.
Elsa Murano (food science and technology M.S. 1987, Ph.D. 1990) served as the vice chancellor and dean of the Department of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University and then as president of the university. Prior to that, she was undersecretary for food safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture during part of President George W. Bush’s administration, where she was responsible for the oversight and direction for the management of the Food Safety and Inspection Service.
William Alphonso Murrill
William Alphonso Murrill (three degrees: agriculture, mechanics, and science 1886), known as "Mr. Mushroom," was a world-renowned botanist and author. His book on fungi varieties was used as a reference in nearly every country in the world. He collected more than 75,000 plant specimens, 1,700 of them new to science. He received a gold medal from the Holland Society of New York for distinguished service in the science of mycology.
A. Ross Myers
A. Ross Myers’ (civil engineering 1972) company, American Infrastructure, consistently ranks in the top half of Engineering News Record’s annual Top 400 U.S. Contractors List, the Top 50 Heavy and Highway Contractors, and the Top 200 Environmental Engineering and Construction Companies. Myers is one of the two key financial backers of Virginia Tech’s Myers-Lawson School of Construction.
George Nolen (marketing 1978) is the retired president and CEO of Siemens Corp., an electronics and engineering giant with worldwide sales of $96 billion in 2010. Headquartered in Munich, Germany, Siemens AG has 460,000 employees in more than 190 countries. He now serves on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
Gary Norman (M.S. fisheries and wildlife 1980) was awarded the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Henry Mosby Award, one of the highest honors a wildlife biologist can receive, for his key role in restoring wild turkeys in Virginia. The population of turkeys in Virginia climbed from approximately 51,000 to 130,000 birds in the 14 years he has worked with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
Lisa Norris (forestry 1979) received the 1999 Willa Cather Fiction Prize from Helicon Nine Press for her short fiction book, Toy Guns.
Johnny Oates (health and physical education 1968), a catcher signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 1970, was a Major League Baseball player until 1981. In 1989, Oates returned to the Orioles as first-base coach and became team manager in 1991. Oates, who won The Sporting News Manager of the Year Award in 1993, left the next year and was hired by the Texas Rangers. In 1996, Oates led the Rangers to their first playoff appearance in team history and won the American League Manager of the Year Award. Oates retired in 2001.
Oren Austin Oliver
Oren Austin Oliver (electrical engineering 1909) pioneered orthodontic techniques that revolutionized the science, achieving international recognition in orthodontia by developing the lingual and labial arch technique. According to Town & Country Review, a magazine published in London, "The results in slowly guiding irregularity into regularity ... are so remarkable and so successful as to appear magical to the uninitiated." Among his numerous national and international awards were a congressional citation and medal for his work in securing dentists to examine selective service inductees during World War II and the first certificate ever bestowed by the International Dental Society.
Robert B. Pamplin Sr.
Robert B. Pamplin Sr. (business administration 1933) was chairman of the board and CEO of the Georgia-Pacific Corp. After “retiring” at age 65, he built R.B. Pamplin Corp. into a multimillion-dollar business, along with his son, Robert B. Pamplin Jr., who also attended Virginia Tech. The American Academy of Achievement selected Pamplin as “one of 40 giants of accomplishments from the nation’s great fields of endeavor.” In 1969, Virginia Tech’s Pamplin Hall was named for him and in 1986, the Pamplin College of Business was renamed to honor the father and son. Pamplin Sr. died in June 2009 at age 97.
Irving L. Peddrew III
Irving L. Peddrew III (electrical engineering) not only was the first African-American student to enroll at Virginia Tech (in 1953), he was also the first African-American undergraduate student to go to a historically white public school in the former Confederacy. The only black student on campus his freshman year, he was required to participate in the corps of cadets but had to live and eat off campus. Disillusioned by his experiences, he left at the end of his junior year and did not return. Peddrew-Yates Residence Hall was co-named in his honor in 2003. (Did not graduate.)
Thomas L. Phillips
Thomas L. Phillips (electrical engineering 1947; M.S. 1947) retired as CEO, president, and chairman of the board of Raytheon Co. Under his leadership, Raytheon developed and marketed the first commercial home microwave. Phillips also played a role in the development of two of the company’s guided-missile programs.
Lewis A. Pick
Lewis A. Pick (civil engineering 1914) was the engineer in World War II who built the "road that could not be built,” the Burma Road (known as Pick’s Pike). Later, he became chief of engineers for the U.S. Army and attained the rank of lieutenant general.
Andrea Ballengee Preuss
Andrea Ballengee Preuss (political science 1995) was crowned Mrs. America in 2005. Preuss, who also holds an MBA from Pepperdine University, currently works as a district sales leader for the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly.
Lawrence Priddy (general science 1897) served as president of the National Association of Life Underwriters. A June 30, 1917, story in the Saturday Evening Post called him one of the world’s greatest insurance salesmen. He led the fundraising campaign for the World War I Memorial Gymnasium at Virginia Tech.
Haller G. Prillaman
Haller G. Prillaman (industrial engineering 1955) made numerous contributions to economic development in Martinsville, Va., operating family several businesses. He is president of Prillaman Brothers, an investment firm. Prillaman was named Virginia’s Economic Developer of the Year in 1999.
Fred K. Prosser
Fred K. Prosser (civil engineering 1911) designed the first Virginia Tech class ring in 1912. The ring, which was for the class of 1911, cost $6 to $8. Ironically, Prosser later lost his own class ring.
Charles Pryor Jr.
Charles Pryor Jr. (civil engineering 1966; M.S. 1968; Ph.D. 1970) is chairman of Urenco Investments Inc., a global provider of services and technology to the nuclear-generation industry. He also served as president and CEO of electric appliances giant Westinghouse and former president and CEO of Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Service Co. In 1991, President Francois Mitterand of France presented Pryor with the prestigious Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Merite for developing cooperative business relationships between the United States and France.
Charles W. Pryor Jr.
Charles W. Pryor Jr. (civil engineering 1966, 1968, 1970) is well known and respected throughout the global electric utility industry. After serving as president and CEO of Urenco Inc. and Urenco Investments Inc., he started C W Pryor & Co., a management consulting firm specializing in teaching core values of business leadership. French President Francois Mitterand presented Pryor with a national award for his work in the nuclear power industry in 1991.
Mahmoud M'd Abu Quadais
Mahmoud M'd Abu Quadais (M.S. education administration 1993; Ph.D. 1994) and a colleague founded the Hashemite University in Jordan. Named for the Jordanian king’s family, the university began holding classes in 1995. The first class graduated in 1999. Quadais was the first dean of student affairs.
W. Thomas Rice
William Thomas Rice was born in 1913 in Hague, Va. In 1930, at the beginning of the Great Depression, an Episcopal minister recommended to Mrs. Alfred I. DuPont that she provide a college scholarship for a young man from rural Virginia. To prove to the minister and Mrs. DuPont that they were wise in their decision, Tom Rice graduated from Virginia Tech in 1934 with the highest academic average in his civil engineering class and was one of only two seniors in his class of 200 to be offered a job upon graduation.
Rice began a long railroad career with that job with the Pennsylvania Railroad as a track supervisor. He left that job to serve the Army in World War II, directing overseas operations of the Military Railway Service in both the European and Pacific Theaters. He was was awarded the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters. He continued to serve in the Army Reserve and rose to the rank of major general. In 1999, Rice was inducted into the Army Transportation Corps Hall of Fame.
After the war, Rice resumed his railroad career, going to work for the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac (RF&P) Railroad in 1946. He was elected president of that line in 1955, and two years later was appointed the president of the Atlantic Coast Line (ACL) Railroad Company. In that capacity, he worked with John W. Smith, president of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, to effect a merger of the two railroads, which took place on July 1, 1967. Rice was elected president of the new Seaboard Coast Line Railroad and in 1970, he was elected chairman and CEO of the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Co. (SCL) of Richmond and its holding company, Seaboard Coast Line Industries. He retired in 1977 but was still active in the railroad industry. Rice worked with Hays T. Watkins to merge the SCL and the Chessie System to form CSX Corporation on Nov. 1, 1980. Rice served on CSX's original Board of Directors.
Rice was also on the board of trustees for many business and philanthropic organizations, including: Borden, Inc., Florida Rock Industries, Bank of America and the Chemical Bank of New York. He served as a trustee of the Virginia Episcopal Seminary and of the American Association of Homes for the Aging, and was a member of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Advisory Board of The Citadel, and Virginia Military Institute's Board of Visitors. He was awarded honorary doctorates in military science from The Citadel and in laws from Stetson University.
At Virginia Tech, Rice served on the board of visitors from 1961 to 1968 and was rector from 1962 to 1964. He endowed three scholarships for members of the Corps of Cadets who major in engineering, served as Director of the Virginia Tech Foundation, President of the Alumni Association, was a charter member of the Rowe Fellow Program, and a member of the College of Engineering Committee of 100, Ut Prosim Society, Corps of Cadets Alumni Board, William Preston Society, and several other university organizations. In recognition of his contributions, Virginia Tech presented Rice with the Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 1973, the Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award in 1980, and the William Ruffner Medal in 1981.
Rice died Sunday, February 5, 2006, at the age of 93 in Richmond. He was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Jacqueline Johnston Rice, and a son, John Rice.
Robert C. Richardson
Robert C. Richardson (physics 1958, M.S. 1960) won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering how helium-3 can transform itself into a liquid that flows without friction at temperatures near absolute zero.
Thomas C. Richards
Thomas C. Richards (general business 1956) is one of Virginia Tech’s two four-star generals. He was deputy commander-in-chief of the U.S. European Command, a former commandant of the Air Force Academy, and head of the Federal Aviation Administration. Richards fought in the infantry during the Korean War. He was wounded in action and, while recovering, was recruited to play football at Virginia Tech. He did so as a member of the 1954 team that won all but one game.
F.D. "Red" Robertson
F.D. "Red" Robertson (mining engineering 1956) is known as one of the most successful, effective, and innovative coal operators in the country. A mining engineer, an attorney, and a business entrepreneur, Robertson has started a number of businesses, been involved in mergers and acquisitions that have included major international companies, and has served on several boards. He is owner of The Eagle Cos.
W. Thomas Robertson Jr.
W. Thomas Robertson Jr. (agricultural engineering 1952) started his long career with Duke Power Co., today called Duke Energy, in 1955. During his career, Robertson was active in numerous industry groups and government activities, especially those related to procurement and fuels, chairing a number of the efforts.
Wayne Robinson (finance 1980) is a recruitment manager for Nucor and senior pastor of the nondenominational New Millennium Christian Center in Greensboro, N.C. The 6 foot 9 inch basketball forward/center played a key role in the Hokies’ 81-35 record during his four seasons on the team, including the Metro Conference Championship -- its only one -- in 1979. Robinson was the first pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the 1980 NBA draft and played for the Lakers and Detroit Pistons before playing professionally in Italy and Spain for a decade.
Neville Rowland (agricultural engineering 1963) started his career at the Trane Co. as a sales engineer in air conditioning. Southern Air had been his best account while he was at Trane, and the company recruited him. He helped grow the company from a small residential heating, air conditioning, and plumbing contractor in Lynchburg, Va., to a three-state mechanical, electrical, and service contractor with eight branch offices and more than 700 employees.
B. Fielding Rolston
B. Fielding Rolston (industrial engineering 1964) started working at Eastman Chemical upon graduation and stayed with the company for nearly 40 years. His work led to the company receiving the Malcolm Baldrige Award, a highly coveted management honor. In 2003, Rolston retired from Eastman as senior vice president. Since 1998, he has chaired the board of Eastman Credit Union, and currently chairs the Tennessee State Board of Education and the Emory and Henry College Board of Trustees.
Arthur Rosenfeld (horticulture 1904; M.S. 1905) acquired an international reputation as an authority on the production of sugar cane and revolutionized methods of raising it. Graduating at the age of 17, he held the record for being Virginia Tech’s youngest graduate for many years.
Benjamin A. Rubin
Benjamin A. Rubin (M.S. biology 1938) invented the bifurcated vaccination needle to deliver tiny amounts of smallpox vaccine. The needle is credited with helping to eradicate smallpox. Rubin created the needle from a sewing machine needle.
Thomas D. Rust
Thomas D. Rust (civil engineering 1965) has had a successful career as a civil engineer, owning his own company, Patton Harris Rust & Associates, and has been a delegate in the Virginia General Assembly since 2002. In November 2007, Rust received the Tower of Dulles Award, the highest recognition offered by the Committee for Dulles, for his efforts to promote transportation improvements.
Richard Thomas Shea Jr.
Richard Thomas Shea Jr. (Army Specialized Training Program 1948) received the Medal of Honor posthumously for heroic actions near Sokkogae, Korea. In more than 18 hours of heavy fighting against superior numbers, he moved among the defenders of Pork Chop Hill to ensure a successful defense and then led a counterattack, killing three enemy soldiers and refusing evacuation when wounded. He was killed in hand-to-hand combat while leading another counterattack. (Did not graduate.)
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.
Joseph Rutherford “Rudd” Simmons
Joseph Rutherford “Rudd” Simmons (theatre arts 1975) is a film and television producer whose credits include “The Road,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “High Fidelity,” and “Dead Man Walking,” among many other notable projects.
Bruce Smith (general arts and sciences 1985) played as a defensive end in the NFL for 19 seasons, starting when the Buffalo Bills took him as the No. 1 overall draft pick in 1985. He was with the Bills for 14 seasons, during which he played in four Super Bowls and was elected to the Pro Bowl every year from 1988 to 1999, save for 1992. After the 1999 season, Smith played with the Washington Redskins until he retired in 2004. Smith, whose Virginia Tech jersey number -- 78 -- has been retired, was voted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009. He holds the NFL record for career quarterback sacks. (Did not graduate.)
James M. Smith Jr.
Dr. James M. Smith Jr. (M.S. chemistry 1936) and his colleagues developed methotrexate as a cancer chemotherapeutic agent. He received at least 22 patents for his inventions and co-inventions.
Lance L. Smith
Lance L. Smith (business administration 1969), formerly the deputy of the command overseeing combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, received his fourth star in November 2005, becoming the second of Virginia Tech’s two four-star generals.
Sidney C. Smith Jr.Dr. Sidney C. Smith Jr. (chemical engineering 1963) is a former president of the American Heart Association (AHA) and the first person to hold the title of AHA’s chief science officer (2001-03). He’s met in the Oval Office with two sitting presidents and with national leaders on such topics as the standards of cardiac care that should be provided nationally. He is also prominent in world health matters, serving as chair of the World Heart and Stroke Forum and as a member of the executive committee of the World Heart Federation. In 2003 he returned to the University of North Carolina to serve as director of the Center for Cardiovascular Science and Medicine.
Gerald Spessard (M.S. dairy science 1974) designed GameFace, a facial mask that protects children playing baseball and softball. The product was featured on “ESPN Tomorrow” and in Baseball America.
Don Strock (secondary education 1973) played quarterback for Virginia Tech and in 1972 led the nation in total passing and total offense. Strock still holds several passing records at Virginia Tech and was inducted into the Virginia Tech Athletics Hall of Fame in 1985. Strock played quarterback in the NFL from 1973 through 1989 and spent 14 years (1973-1987) with the Miami Dolphins. On Sept. 13, 2000, Strock was named head football coach at Florida International University -- the first in that school’s history -- and held the position until the end of the 2006 season.
Franklin Stubbs (recreation 1982) was a Major League Baseball player from 1984-1995. He played first base for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1984-1989; the team won the 1988 World Series. He later played for the Houston Astros (1990), Milwaukee Brewers (1991-1992), and Detroit Tigers (1995). In 1992, he was elected to the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame. (Did not graduate.)
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.)
Earl Swensson (architecture 1952; M.S. 1953), founder and chairman of Earl Swensson Associates, designed several famous landmarks in Nashville: Opryland Hotel and Convention Center, the largest non-gambling hotel/convention center in the world; Wildhorse Saloon; and the BellSouth Tower, Tennessee’s tallest building.
Harry D. Temple
Harry D. Temple (industrial engineering 1934), a colonel who headed the U.S. Army’s Institute of Heraldry, designed the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which was established by President John F. Kennedy as the highest award the nation bestows on civilians. Temple also designed the coat-of-arms for Tech’s corps of cadets and successfully shepherded the crest through official registration with the U.S. Office of Heraldry.
Herbert J. Thomas
Herbert J. Thomas (business administration 1941) was awarded the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross posthumously for heroism on the Solomon Islands during the Pacific Campaign of World War II. While leading his troops against Japanese forces, a grenade he tossed bounced back amid his men. He flung himself across the grenade, sacrificing his own life to save his comrades. While a student at Virginia Tech, he was a nationally recognized varsity football player. A residence hall on campus, a destroyer, and a hospital bear his name.
Pierre Thomas (communication 1984) has been a correspondent for ABC News since 2000, covering the U.S. Justice Department and law enforcement issues, reporting on "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings" and contributing to "Good Morning America," "This Week," "Nightline," and ABC News special events.
Robert M. Thomas
Robert M. Thomas (chemistry 1929) was the co-inventor of butyl rubber, a synthetic that became famous during World War II. He was awarded the Charles Goodyear Medal by the American Chemical Society’s Division of Rubber Chemists for his co-invention. Thomas is credited with 73 patents.
Phil Thompson (M.S. systems engineering 1977) retired from IBM in 2005 as vice president of emerging markets. In 2002, Thompson received the Pinnacle Award during the third annual 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology symposium, recognizing his professional, policy, and technical contributions to technology. He was named one of the 50 Top Blacks in Technology in 2003 during the annual Black Family Technology Awareness Week.
Thomas T. Thompson
Thomas T. Thompson (agricultural and applied economics 1956) served for 34 years in the U.S. Army and Army National Guard, retiring as commander of the 29th Light Infantry Division while holding the rank of major general. He also built a successful development and real estate business in the Hampton Roads area. In recognition of his professional achievements, he was elected life director of the National Association of Homebuilders in 2001. He currently serves as a member of the board of directors of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Alumni Inc.
Robert F. Titus
Robert F. Titus (mining engineering 1948), a brigadier general, was the first to fly an aircraft non-stop over the North Pole. He also shot down three MiGs during the Vietnam War, which is considered to be a significant achievement for that conflict. (Did not graduate.)
Hyde C. Tucker
Hyde C. Tucker (electrical engineering 1956) as president and CEO of Bell Atlantic International brokered one of the largest business deals on Wall Street in 1991. He started his career with C& P Telephone Co. and remained with some form of the communications industry for his entire career. He was named the College of Engineering’s distinguished alumnus in 1998 and received its Distinguished Service Award in 2002.
James E. Turner Jr.
James E. Turner Jr. (agricultural engineering 1956) retired in 2000 as the executive president and chief operating officer of General Dynamics, the nation's largest nuclear submarine builder. Turner had a successful and distinguished 40-year career in management positions with Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Westinghouse, and General Dynamics.
James E. Turner Jr.
James E. Turner Jr. (agricultural engineering 1956) is one of the great all-time leaders of the shipbuilding industry. The first American warship designed solely on computer was achieved under his visionary leadership. He is the retired president and CEO of General Dynamics Corp., a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and served as rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors for five years. He was awarded the university’s Ruffner Medal in 2004.
James F. Van Pelt Jr.
James F. Van Pelt Jr. (biology 1940) was the navigator of a B-29 Superfortress in both atomic bomb attacks against Japan at the close of World War II. He navigated the instrument ship in the first attack against Hiroshima, and his airplane dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki.
Leo A. Vecellio Jr.
Leo A. Vecellio Jr. (civil engineering 1968) serves as the family’s patriarch and has helped to instill a strong sense of philanthropy through the Vecellio Family Foundation. In 2008, Vecellio’s reputation led him to the position of chair of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). He worked with ARTBA primarily to press Congress for a significant increase in federal highway and transit investment as part of the reauthorization of the national Surface Transportation Act.
Michael Vick (sociology 2003) was Virginia Tech’s star quarterback from 1999-2000. During his freshman year, Vick led Tech to its first undefeated season since 1918, culminating with the Hokies’ first-ever national championship game against Florida State. That season also netted Vick an ESPY Award as the nation's top college player and the first-ever Archie Griffin Award as college football's most valuable player. After his third year at Tech, Vick entered the 2001 NFL draft and was the No. 1 pick, selected by the Atlanta Falcons, making him the first-ever African-American quarterback to be taken first. In 2009, Vick joined the Philadelphia Eagles. (Did not graduate.)
Joseph H. Vipperman
Joseph H. Vipperman (electrical engineering 1962) served three years as a lieutenant in the strategic air command of the U.S. Air Force and then he returned to Appalachian Power, where he spent a 40-year career in engineering, finance, and various management positions, retiring as executive vice president of American Electric Power Shared Services, the parent company of Appalachian Power. In honor of his achievements, AEP presented $1 million to ICTAS for energy-related research.
Bruce Vorhauer (engineering mechanics 1964) invented the contraceptive sponge, now marketed as the Today Contraceptive Sponge.
L. Preston Wade
L. Preston Wade (civil engineering 1955) served as chairman of the board and CEO of Wiley and Wilson for about two decades and was named Virginia Engineer of the Year in 1982.
William D. Wampler
William D. Wampler (poultry science 1950) is the former president and CEO of Wampler Foods. He served as the president of the National Turkey Federation, the Virginia Angus Association, the Virginia Poultry Federation, and the Virginia Beef Cattle Improvement Association.
Willis S. "Pete" White Jr.
Willis S. "Pete" White Jr. (electrical engineering 1947) was chairman of the board of Appalachian Power Co., which serves 929,000 customers in West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee and is part of the American Electric Power system.
Richard F. Wilkinson
Richard F. Wilkinson (conservation and forestry 1942) fought in World War II in Company C, 133rd Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry “Red Bull” Division, which campaigned in Africa and Italy and saw more than 500 days of combat -- more than any other American division -- and lost 21,362 of its men. Wilkinson earned the Bronze Star, the Silver Star, and the Presidential Unit Citation, which indicated that each of the 600 men under his command -- and their leader -- deserved the Distinguished Service Cross. In 2005, Wilkinson published The Breakthrough Battalion: Battles of Company C of the 133rd Infantry Regiment, Tunisia and Italy 1943-1945.
S. Vance Wilkins Jr.
S. Vance Wilkins Jr. (industrial engineering 1957) was the first Republican to become speaker of Virginia’s House of Delegates.
Lloyd Williams (Class of 1907) was a U.S. Marine Corps officer during World War I. One of the more famous quotes of World War I was attributed to him. When advised to withdraw at the defensive line just north of the village of Lucy-le-Bocage on June 1,1918, he is said to have replied, “Retreat, hell! We just got here!” Williams did not survive the ensuing battle and was posthumously promoted to major and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Major Williams Hall was named for him in 1957. Williams is the first Virginian known to have died in World War I.
William E. Wine
William E. Wine (mechanical engineering 1904; M.E. 1905) perfected and patented numerous labor-saving devices for railroad work while employed by the Atlantic Coast Line Railway. Later, he became manager of Wine Railway Appliance Co. He was the first alumnus to serve as rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. The university’s William E. Wine Award for faculty achievement is named for him.
Thomas K. Wolfe
Thomas K. Wolfe (general agriculture 1914; M.S. 1914) wrote 32 volumes and 200 articles dealing with such topics as soils, fertilizers, and plant breeding. He developed several new strands of wheat and potatoes that yielded more production per acre. He co-authored with another alumnus the textbook Production of Field Crops, which was used in 80 percent of agricultural and mechanical colleges in the United States and Europe.
Catherine Woteki (human nutrition and foods M.S. 1972, Ph.D. 1975) is undersecretary for research, education, and economics in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). She also has served as the global director of scientific affairs for Mars Inc., the first female dean of the College of Agriculture at Iowa State University, and the first undersecretary of food safety for the USDA from July 1997 until January 2001.
Daniel E. Wright
Daniel E. Wright (civil engineering 1904) was a member of both the first party of young engineers to work on the Panama Canal and the group making the first trip through the canal from ocean to ocean. He was also the municipal engineer for the entire Isthmus of Panama. The Rockefeller Foundation later appointed him to a special staff of its international health division for an assignment in Greece, where he helped the country start a 15-year program of modern municipal improvements. In 1951, the Greek government awarded him a citation and King Paul elected him into the order of Golden Phoenix in appreciation for his work in eliminating malaria in that area from 1944-48. He did sanitation work in 52 countries.
Charlie L. Yates
Charlie L. Yates (mechanical engineering 1958) was the first African American to graduate from Virginia Tech and the first African American to graduate from a traditionally white college in the South. Peddrew-Yates Residence Hall was co-named in his honor in 2003.
Denman Zirkle (business administration 1960) is executive director of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. A former investment manager who worked at Morgan Stanley and Franklin Templeton Investments among others, Zirkle now leads the effort to protect, manage, and interpret Civil War battlegrounds.