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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2011 / 05 

Virginia Tech bestows its highest honor

May 9, 2011

Photograph of Virginia Tech 2011 William H. Ruffner Medal recipient John W. Bates III.
Virginia Tech 2011 William H. Ruffner Medal recipient John W. Bates III.

Alumnus John W. Bates III of Richmond is the recipient of the 2011 William H. Ruffner Medal, Virginia Tech’s highest honor, in recognition of his loyal and enthusiastic support of the university.

Bates, who earned his bachelor’s of business administration in 1963 from what is now the Pamplin College of Business, comes from a family of Hokies. His father, brother, and two of his uncles also graduated from Virginia Tech.

Bates enjoyed an extensive tenure of service as a student leader and scholar at the university, where he was a class officer, a member of the commandant’s staff within the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, and a member of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.

After earning a law degree in 1966 from the University of Virginia, Bates launched an accomplished legal career that lasted 43 years, culminating with being named managing partner with the Richmond-based firm McGuire Woods LLP.  

Bates has been recognized as a Fellow in the Virginia Bar Foundation. He received the Richmond Bar Association’s Hill Tucker Award for public service. Bates has been acknowledged among his peers by being listed in Who’s Who in American Law and Best Lawyers in America, and he received other special honors and memberships throughout his career.

Bates has been an active participant in the Virginia Tech university community for many years. He has served on the Virginia Tech Foundation Board of Directors, is co-chair of the Richmond Regional Campaign Committee within The Campaign for Virginia Tech: Invent the Future, and also is on the university’s National Campaign Steering Committee.

Bates served on the committee for his each of his class reunions at Virginia Tech. He has been as a staunch supporter of the university before the Virginia General Assembly, and has been active in the Hokies for Higher Education advocacy group.

Bates also has been very active in his community, with service to the United Way of Richmond, Family Lifeline of Richmond, and the Virginia Performing Arts Foundation, among many other organizations.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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