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Open letter from President Tim Sands

August 22, 2016

President Tim Sands greets orientation leaders
President Sands greets orientation leaders.

To the Virginia Tech Community,

The energy is building on campus again after what I hope for you was a busy but rejuvenating summer.  For those students who are returning to Virginia Tech, welcome back! I know all returning Hokies join me in offering a warm greeting to the Class of 2020, our new transfer students, and our new faculty and staff. 

Summer on the Blacksburg campus was a time for rapid progress in construction, renovations, and launching new programs.  The new Classroom Building is now open. Its understated name belies the thoughtful and advanced design that is tuned to today’s active learners.  Great progress has also been made on the second Corps of Cadets residence hall and the new entrance to campus from U.S. Route 460.  And we have kicked off a master planning project that will guide the future of the Blacksburg campus, our footprint in Roanoke with Carilion Clinic, our presence in the National Capital Region, and the reach of Cooperative Extension into every county and city in Virginia.

In case you missed some of our summer news items, in June we were recognized by Insight Into Diversity magazine as a Diversity Champion for our commitment to inclusion and diversity through InclusiveVT. In July we announced the creation of the Molecular Sciences Software Institute, a National Science Foundation funded initiative that will be located in the Corporate Research Center.  Earlier this month, members of our Department of Physics had three projects approved for the Hubble Space Telescope.  Those are just a few highlights; you can catch up on more of our summer activities and accomplishments at VT News.

By pushing forward this summer, we have positioned our university for a 2016-17 academic year that will take Virginia Tech beyond the achievements of our past in every dimension. I know many of you are interested in helping shape our ongoing university-wide efforts, including Beyond Boundaries, Destination Areas, Pathways, and InclusiveVT.  I also know that the first few weeks of the academic year are all-consuming with the start of classes, changes in living arrangements, and the process of creating a new routine. I look forward to being with you during these experiences that define what it means to be a Hokie.

After you are settled in, I hope you will join me for two special events as we kick off our academic year. On Wednesday, Aug. 31, Virginia Tech alumna Regina Dugan will present our first Beyond Boundaries Presidential Lecture at Moss Arts Center. Regina, the former head of DARPA, former leader of Google’s Advanced Technology and Products Team, and the current head of Facebook’s “Building 8” R&D group, will lead a conversation about innovation you won’t want to miss.  I also invite you to join me at 3:15 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 30, in the Moss Arts Center for my first annual State of the University Address.  I will update the community on where Virginia Tech is today, address challenges we face, share a vision for the future, and describe how, with your help, we’re going to get there. It is my honor to be president of Virginia Tech at such an exciting time.  I look forward to seeing you at Moss Arts Center on Aug. 31 and Sept. 30.

I wish you an exciting, fulfilling, and challenging fall semester.

Tim Sands

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