Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has announced that Laura Fornash, director of state government relations for Virginia Tech, will serve as deputy secretary of education. He made the appointment March 26.

The appointment of Fornash as deputy secretary of education, according to the governor’s office, demonstrates the administration’s commitment to positive reform of Virginia’s higher education system. Fornash is a longtime member of the Virginia Tech community, holding both undergraduate and graduate degrees from the university.

“I welcome Laura to our administration,” said McDonnell. ‘Having an authority on higher education in the commonwealth serve as our deputy secretary of education will greatly assist our work in this area. Laura is well-respected in the higher education community, and she understands the relationships between state government in Richmond and college campuses from Old Dominion University to Northern Virginia Community College. I look forward to working with Laura to make Virginia’s world-class higher education system even more innovative, accessible, and affordable.”

“I am looking forward to joining Gov. McDonnell’s administration and helping to achieve his goals through the work of the commission as we further advance our nationally recognized system of higher education,” said Fornash.

“We applaud Gov. McDonnell and Secretary Robinson for this wise appointment,” said Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger. “Laura Fornash is well suited to represent higher education and assist the administration’s efforts as it reviews state policy, higher education funding needs, and ways in which we can achieve the governor’s goals of increasing degree attainment of Virginians. Laura is a top-notch administrator, has served Virginia Tech admirably, and will be a strong addition to the governor’s education team.”

Prior to her position as director of state government relations for Virginia Tech. Fornash served as associate director of state government relations.

Fornash received her bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech in 1991 and her master’s degree from the school in 1998. She has spent her professional career with the university. She was the school’s restructuring project director with the responsibility of managing Virginia Tech’s implementation of the 2005 Restructuring Act that affected Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, and William and Mary. She was director of the Virginia Tech Richmond Center/state legislative liaison from 2001 to 2005. Prior to this she was the director of information technology programs and director of the Virginia Tech Richmond Center.

Written by Gov. McDonnell’s Public Affairs Office.