Elizabeth “Betsy” A. Flanagan, retired vice president of development and university relations at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of vice president emerita by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
The emerita title may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive an emeritus certificate from the university.
Flanagan came to Virginia Tech in 2000 and immediately set to work outlining an aggressive fundraising campaign that ultimately sought to raise $1 billion, even though consultants recommended a goal of no more than $800 million. She reorganized and staffed the development office in order to position the university for the campaign. It concluded in November 2011 having garnered more than $1.11 billion in private support.
Major capital projects that won key private support during Flanagan's tenure included expansions to Lane Stadium, the Skelton Conference Center, the Holtzman Alumni Center, the Moss Arts Center, Goodwin Hall, the Hahn Horticulture Garden, the Hahn Hurst Basketball Practice Center, and the Steger Center for International Scholarship, among others.
Virginia Tech's yearly gift income averaged about $46 million from 1995 to 2000. Over the past five years, the yearly average was $84 million and gift income exceeded $90 million three times.
Flanagan led by example, giving time and resources as a member of the Legacy Society and the Ut Prosim Society, the university’s most prestigious donor recognition group.
She understood the transformative value and influence of her role as a female leader by mentoring student leaders, participating as a featured speaker to the VTWomen Connect program, serving as an advisor and panelist for the Executive Development Institute, and creating the Women in Leadership and Philanthropy initiative, which renamed their endowed lecture fund in her honor when she retired.
In addition, Flanagan served as chair of the university’s Commemorative Tributes and External Awards Committees; executive vice president of the Virginia Tech Foundation Board of Directors and member of its Executive and Finance Committee; coordinator of the foundation’s Development Committee; and member of the boards of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Alumni Association, and the Virginia Tech Athletic Fund.
She has been honored with the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education’s Crystal Apple Award for Teaching Excellence and is the recipient of Distinguished Alumni Awards from both the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education and Bethany College.