In its fourth year, the College of Science Hall of Distinction ceremony honors alumni and friends who have distinguished themselves in their professional careers as well as their service and philanthropy. Honorees also have served as mentors, advisors, and employers of student interns and new graduates, and assist in defining the college’s mission to pursue science excellence.
At the fourth annual event, College of Science Dean Sally C. Morton said the honorees “are among the most inspiring examples of Virginia Tech’s tradition of scientists, innovators, caregivers, and problem solvers, exemplifying the best of Ut Prosim, That I May Serve.”
This year’s honorees include six alumni, three of whom were honored posthumously. They are:
Roger K. Crouch, master’s degree and Ph.D., physics, 1968 and 1971. A scientist and astronaut who flew on two NASA Space Shuttle missions as a payload specialist, Crouch, of Washington, D.C., has logged more than 471 hours in space, conducting experiments in a wide range of physical sciences while in orbit. His research focused on endeavors ranging from semiconductor crystal growth to electrical and optical material properties, leading to publication of more than 40 technical papers and 50 conference reports. After a storied career at NASA and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Crouch serves as a member of the College of Science Dean’s Roundtable Advisory Board and has received the university’s Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.
James R. Gay, bachelor’s degree, biology, 1935. Gay’s career began in private practice, before he led the neurological surgery unit at the Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Later, he served as assistant dean for administration at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, organized the New Mexico Accident Investigation Program, was director of the New Mexico Regional Medical Program, and retired as an associate vice president from the University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences in Memphis. A World War II veteran, Gay was a founder and president of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and helped form the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies. He served on the Dean’s Roundtable Advisory Board and was a member of the university’s Legacy Society. He passed away in 2015.
Charles L. Harowitz, bachelor’s degree, chemistry, 1948. A World War II veteran, Harowitz began his career at Virginia Carolina Chemical Co. as a research chemist and later worked for Mobil Chemical Co., holding lead positions in sales, marketing, and business development. A member of the Dean’s Roundtable Advisory Board for the College of Science and its predecessor, the College of Arts and Sciences, Harowitz established the Florine H. and Charles L. Harowitz Endowed Scholarship in the College of Science and was a supporter of the Corps of Cadets, the Judaic Studies Program, and Virginia Tech Athletics, and numerous civic groups. Harowitz was also a member of the university’s Ut Prosim Society. He passed away in 2015.
Jerry L. Hulick, bachelor’s degree, political science from the former College of Arts and Sciences, 1973. Hulick, of Spotsylvania, Virginia, has more than 40 years of experience in the financial services industry, having served as general agent of The Washington Group of MassMutual from 1986 to 2004. Upon retiring, he founded The Washington Group Special Care Planning Team, specializing in financial planning for individuals with special needs. He served on the College of Arts and Sciences Roundtable Advisory Board and remains active on both the College of Science Roundtable and the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Roundtable. Hulick previously served on the Virginia Tech Foundation Board and on the national steering committee for the Campaign for Virginia Tech: Invent the Future. A member of the Ut Prosim Society, he has endowed a scholarship, a graduate fellowship, and established the Autism Center Excellence Fund. Hulick serves on the advisory board for the Virginia Tech Center for Autism Research and has twice sponsored the university-led autism research seminars in the Washington, D.C., area. He is active on numerous other civic organizations.
Thomas T. “Jeff” Jeffries III, bachelor’s degree, geophysics, 1965. During a long career at ExxonMobil, Jeffries directed petroleum exploration activities around the world with projects in Singapore, Indonesia, and China, Australia, and the Far East. A second generation Hokie alumnus, Jeffries served on the Department of Geosciences Advisory Board, the College of Science Dean’s Roundtable, the university’s Ut Prosim Society and Legacy Society, and established the Thomas T. Jeffries Geological Sciences Endowed Scholarship Fund in honor of his father, a 1936 Virginia Tech graduate. He also was a published author, he wrote the book Kenton Harper of Virginia: Editor, Citizen, Soldier, which was published by the Augusta County Historical Society in 2013. Jeffries passed away in January 2016.
A. Carole Pratt, bachelor’s, biology, 1972. Holder of a doctor of dental surgery degree, Pratt, of Richmond, Virginia, serves as senior policy advisor to the Virginia Department of Health. There, she focuses on rural health and healthcare workforce concerns, oral health, and prescription and illicit drug abuse and addiction. Pratt previously practiced general dentistry in rural Virginia for 32 years, served four terms as chair of Virginia’s Board of Health, and was vice chair of the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services. She is a member of the Virginia Board of Workforce Development and supports the Department of Veterans Services’ Military Medics and Corpsman Program. At Virginia Tech, Pratt serves as the international president of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Virginia Tech Foundation Board, and is a member of the Dean’s Roundtable, among several other boards.