Virginia Tech’s Office of Student Programs and the Department of Residence Life are pleased to announce the recipient of the first annual Larry Robertson Emerging Professional Award is Elizabeth A. “Liz” Yates, a graduate hall director for Cochrane and Harper Halls from Coopersburg, Pa.

The Larry Robertson Emerging Professional Award was established to honor Robertson’s nine years of exemplary service to Residence Life at Virginia Tech and his stellar work to develop emerging and new student affairs professionals. This award will be bestowed annually to the emerging professional on the Residence Life staff who best exemplifies professionalism, excellence, and dedication to the Student Affairs profession.

Virginia Tech Director of Residence Life Gerry Kowalski said: “Larry Robertson’s most salient skills are peerless administrative planning and organization, interpersonal competence, and pervasive ability to serve as a role model and mentor for emerging and young professionals. He is the quintessential student affairs professional. We are delighted to recognize emerging professionals who exemplify the same qualities through this new annual award.”

Robertson is the Longwood University director for Residential and Commuter Life in Farmville, Va.

Eligible nominees for the Larry Robertson Emerging Professional Award must be current undergraduate students who intend to pursue a student affairs career, current graduate students, or current faculty members with less than three years of full-time experience.

Nominators wrote essays describing how the nominees have demonstrated professionalism, excellence, and dedication in their advocacy and care for students, cooperation and collaboration with students and colleagues, work ethic, creativity and flexibility in solving problems and meeting students’ needs, and ability to balance student advocacy and departmental needs.

Yates received a plaque for her achievement at the May 3 Director’s Reception. Nominated twice, both by a peer and a supervisor, Yates was the only nominee to receive more than one nomination.

Chris McDonald, assistant director of residence life, said: “Liz is an exceptional practitioner in student affairs. Virginia Tech will be sad to see her go. She has left her mark, an indelible one.”

Yates finishes her master’s degree in higher education and student affairs this term and has accepted the position of residential life coordinator at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa.