Ralph M. Byers, former executive director of government relations at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of “executive director emeritus” by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The title of emeritus may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands. Nominated individuals who are approved receive an emeritus certificate from the university.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1990, Byers represented the university before the Virginia General Assembly, Congress, and other governmental agencies and officials. He helped secure federal and state support and funding for many academic initiatives, research programs, and capital projects.

In his role as executive director, Byers provided counsel to three Virginia Tech presidents: James D. McComas, Paul E. Torgersen, and Charles W. Steger.

He also served on the executive committee of the Council on Government Relations of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

Byers served on several university committees including Academic Council, the Safety and Security Policy Committee, the Economic Development Leadership Council, and the Cooperative Extension/Agricultural Research Council.

Before joining Virginia Tech, he was assistant to the president at Duke University, assistant to the director of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, and executive director of the North Carolina Center for Independent Higher Education.

Byers served as an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve, three years on active duty. He received his bachelor’s degree from Emory University and a master's degree from the University of Virginia.

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.