Rick Rudd, professor and head of the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been reappointed as the Virginia Cooperative Extension Chair of Excellence in Community Viability by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The position was established in 2004 by an anonymous donor in honor of R. Michael Chandler, Donald P. Lacy, and J. Douglas McAlister in recognition of their services to Virginia Cooperative Extension. Recipients hold the position for a period of five years.

Rudd has gained national and international recognition in rural leadership development and viable rural communities. He has worked with the Farm Bureau in two states to initiate efforts to create viable rural communities.

He began his professional career as an assistant professor at the University of Florida. While at Florida, Rudd worked to create the "Strengthening the Voice" campaign to provide leadership programs for rural leaders in 67 counties. This program for local leaders was adapted and is currently used in Virginia communities.

Rudd has also worked to develop leadership programs for rural youth including three state-wide programs built around the developmental needs of adolescents. These programs significantly enhance the long term viability of rural communities.

He has co-authored five books, written numerous scholarly publications, and has presented at more than 150 professional and academic workshops, Extension training sessions, and international, national, and regional events. Rudd has served as a principal investigator, co-principal investigator, or co-director of programs, research projects, and contracts worth more than $2.5 million.

He is highly regarded as an educator and leader of Virginia Tech’s Community Viability program.

Rudd received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Ohio State University and a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech.

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.