Gene Fife of Charlottesville is the 2009 recipient of Virginia Tech's most prestigious award, the William H. Ruffner Medal.

The Ruffner Medal is awarded annually to a person with outstanding achievement in efforts devoted to the promotion, improvement, and development of the university’s mission as a land-grant university.

Fife graduated in 1962 from what is now the Pamplin College of Business. He worked for 25 years at Goldman Sachs & Co. before retiring as a general partner in 1995. He remains a senior director at the company, and is also the founding principal of the Vawter Capital private investment firm.

While enrolled, Fife was a member of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets and a captain of the Highty-Tighties, as well as member of multiple honorary societies. He has continued to stay involved at the university as a member of the Virginia Tech Foundation Board of Directors and its executive committee, and as a philanthropist and volunteer.

Fife chaired the quiet phase of the current, $1 billion Campaign for Virginia Tech: Invent the Future and, along with his wife Anne, is a member of the President’s Circle of the Ut Prosim Society, the university’s highest level of donor recognition.

Fife, who has an MBA from the University of Southern California, was named chairman of Goldman Sachs International in 1988. He played a pivotal role in establishing the firm in Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. Fife joined the Goldman Sachs Management Committee in 1990 and continued to hold that position, along with his chairmanship, until he retired.

He is on the board of directors of Caterpillar, the world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbines. Fife also is non-executive chairman of Eclipsys Corporation, a health information technology company.

Virginia Tech is not the only university to benefit from Fife’s involvement. He chairs the governing council of the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, is a member of the Trinity Board of Visitors of the College of Arts and Sciences at Duke University, and serves on the advisory board to the Duke Islamic Studies Center.

Fife received a Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 2005 and is the father of four.