Virginia Tech will award its 2009 University Distinguished Achievement Award to Henry Long, of Warrenton, co-founder of the Long and Foster real estate firm.

The award is presented each commencement to a man or woman of national distinction in a field of enduring significance to society.

Long graduated in 1959 from what is now Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business, with a bachelor’s in business administration. He flew B-47s with the Strategic Air Command until retiring from the Air Force as a captain in 1965, though he continues to pilot light airplanes and helicopters.

In 1968, Long and Wes Foster founded what would become the nation’s largest privately held real estate brokerage firm. Long sold his half of the company to Foster in 1979, and created the Henry A. Long Company to pursue commercial development. Since then, his projects have included Westfields, the Washington D.C. area’s largest office park, with more than 20-million-square feet of potential.

Long also worked as an urban development consultant in China and Vietnam in the 1990s, and recently launched a new venture, the Chesapeake Potomac Building Group, to build single-family and townhouse homes in Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware.

During his time at Virginia Tech, Long was an active member of the corps of cadets, in which he was a regimental officer and the public information officer. His work on the corps’ behalf included producing an informational booklet for incoming freshman, and a film, “Molders of Men,” that was shown on television and at high school functions. Long also worked at the campus radio station, wrote columns for the student newspaper, and was military editor of the 1959 edition of The Bugle, Virginia Tech’s yearbook.

Long is serving on the regional campaign committee for Northern Virginia within the $1 billion Campaign for Virginia Tech: Invent the Future, and has been an active member of boards for the Potomac and Madeira schools, both in McLean; the foundation for George Mason University, in Fairfax, and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.

Along with his wife, Betty, Long’s family includes four children and eight grandchildren.