Already energized by the opening of a magnificent arts center and the events of its impressive inaugural season, the Virginia Tech community is readying for the arrival of the university's 16th president.

The winter 2013-14 edition of Virginia Tech Magazine recaps the December press conference that introduced the university's incoming president, Timothy D. Sands; takes readers backstage — and onstage, upstage, in the wings, and behind the scenes — of the Moss Arts Center's performance spaces and galleries; and explores the inspired melding of disciplines in the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology that produced a virtual opera in the center's Cube.

In light of his eloquent remarks at the Dec. 6 press conference, Timothy D. Sands, currently the executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at Purdue University, is well prepared to lead Virginia Tech. Sands succeeds President Charles W. Steger, who will step down when Sands takes office on June 1.

More than a decade in the making, the Moss Arts Center is Virginia Tech's newest jewel, dazzling patrons with top-notch performances, exhibitions, and technology. Experience the center's opening events; explore the galleries, the Cube, the backstage area, and the theatre; and discover how the center perfectly embodies the university's innovative spirit.

What happens when several teenagers are placed in front of computer screens? The results are not what you might imagine. Using the popular video game Minecraft, eight local high school students staged a virtual opera with Virginia Tech singers, a collaboration made possible by the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, the newest university-level research institute.

And in the latest installment of How Tech Ticks, learn how pitch-perfect acoustics were achieved in the Moss Arts Center's Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre in the Street and Davis Performance Hall. Using party balloons and more-conventional audio equipment, the process helped ensure that there's simply not a bad seat in the house.

The Web version of Virginia Tech Magazine features online-only multimedia content. Request hard copies by emailing Jesse Tuel, magazine editor.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

Written by Juliet Crichton.