Long-time university business executive Raymond J. Smoot Jr. will relinquish leadership at the Virginia Tech Foundation next year, announced Horacio Valeiras, Virginia Tech Foundation chairman. Smoot, a 1969 Virginia Tech graduate, intends to retire from full-time leadership of the Virginia Tech Foundation in July 2012.
“Ray has proved to be a valuable leader, administrator, and business executive in many roles across his four decade association with the university and its foundation. He has been at the center of many university successes,” said Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger.
The foundation begins its transition with another long-time Virginia Tech administrator. John Dooley, vice president for outreach and international affairs, will become the foundation’s chief operating officer April 1, 2012, and then chief executive officer upon Smoot’s retirement in July.
“We have a seasoned administrator in John with strong command of the higher education landscape, community relations, and understanding of the foundation’s role in advancing the university,” said Steger.
While Smoot may be stepping down from full-time leadership of the Virginia Tech Foundation, he will remain for two years on a part-time non-management basis to assist the university and foundation.
“Ever since coming to Virginia Tech in 1965 during the exciting years of Marshall Hahn’s era, it has been my good fortune to actively engage alumni, faculty, and administration in advancing Virginia Tech in ways not even imagined years ago. I have been able to work with some incredibly talented people, both within and outside the university, in this stimulating endeavor and believe the future is bright for our university,” said Smoot.
Smoot began his Virginia Tech career in the fabled class of 1969 (Steger and Frank Beamer, among others in current university leadership also hail from the class of 1969), became president of the Student Government Association in 1968-69, interned with then President Marshall Hahn, left for a Ph.D. program at Ohio State University, and returned in 1975 to work for the legendary Stuart Cassell, the only other person to lead the foundation since its creation in 1948.
Hahn offers, “It was obvious, even at a young age, that Ray was someone special. I am proud that I can lay some claim to his professional involvement with Virginia Tech, but his successes surely are of his own doing and his intense commitment to the university mission. I think he may be the original case of someone who bleeds orange and maroon.”
Among his responsibilities, Smoot has carried the title and portfolio of assistant vice president for administration, vice president for business affairs, vice president for finance, vice president for administration, treasurer, and chief executive officer of the Virginia Tech Foundation.
Long seen as the go-to utility executive, Smoot was interim director of athletics during the turbulent era when the quasi-independent athletic association was made a department of the university in 1987.
In 1989, former university Chief Operating Officer Minnis Ridenour tapped him to lead the complicated effort to partner with the City of Roanoke to redevelop the Hotel Roanoke and add a conference center. It opened in 1995.
“The striking success of the [Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center] today and its economic impact on Roanoke’s vibrant downtown is testament to Ray’s abilities,” said Ridenour. “He pulled together a complicated financing plan and successfully melded many divergent community interests. In addition, I credit much of my success at Virginia Tech to my partnership with Ray.”
During Smoot’s tenure, he helped build institutional capacity at the foundation and university for job creation and economic development. In addition to the Hotel Roanoke project, he oversaw the creation and build-out of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, the European Studies Center, the Virginia Tech Research Center -- Arlington, and the Turner Street development currently under construction.
Smoot was the first full-time executive leader of the Virginia Tech Foundation. However, his tenure at the foundation began in a part-time capacity in 1977 when annual revenues were $3.5 million, its endowment stood at $4 million, and its assets totaled $11 million. Today the foundation annual revenues exceed $160 million, its endowment recently topped $600 million, and total assets exceed $1.15 billion.
As a community leader, Smoot was and remains actively engaged. He has been on the board of Warm Hearth Village for more than 25 years, is on the Carilion Clinic board of directors and chairs the investment committee, is a founding director of the Blacksburg Partnership and remains its treasurer, and served on the boards of the Roanoke Chamber of Commerce and the Blacksburg Chamber of Commerce.
In 2005 he was recognized by the Association of University Research Parks with the National Community Leadership Award. In 2006 he received the Professional Leadership Award from the Blacksburg/Christiansburg Rotary Club. In 2011 he was tagged by Virginia Business Magazine as one of the "25 best connected business leaders in Virginia."
Dooley has worked at Virginia Tech since 1982 when he became director of the Northern Virginia 4-H Educational Center and rose through the ranks to hold several leadership positions in Virginia Cooperative Extension and the College of Human Resources and Education. He was appointed associate provost for outreach in 2001 and later became vice president for outreach and international affairs in 2003.
Over his 30 years, Dooley has provided leadership to several initiatives that have advanced the university’s program presence across the commonwealth and around the globe. He led the launch of the Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center and has provided guidance to the university’s expanded international presence with centers in Switzerland, Chile, Egypt, Dominican Republic, and one under development in India. He has also been instrumental in the university’s leadership to the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, as well as the creation of VT-ENGAGE and the Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships.
Dooley also is active in community affairs including membership on the board of trustees of the Roanoke Higher Education Center, The Hotel Roanoke Conference Center Commission, the Roanoke Regional Airport, and the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.
“John has done an outstanding job as vice president. He has helped strengthen the university’s international profile and has become a force in regional and statewide economic development,” said University Provost and Senior Vice President Mark McNamee.
A national search for Dooley’s replacement will begin immediately chaired by McNamee.