Jessie S. Eaves of Blacksburg, Virginia, retired receptionist and fiscal technician for the Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, received the university’s 2015 Staff Career Achievement Award.

Eaves retired from her position in 2014 after 28 years of service.

Created in 2011 to recognize retiring Virginia Tech staff members, the Staff Career Achievement Award is presented annually to as many as five individuals who have distinguished themselves through exemplary performances and service during their university careers. Nominees must have served a minimum of 10 years at Virginia Tech. Each recipient is awarded a $1,000 cash prize.

“During her 28 year career at Virginia Tech, Jessie has been the mainstay of the staff of the Department of Computer Science,” Richard Benson, Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Chair and dean of the College of Engineering, wrote in his letter of nomination. “She was accurate, patient, and cheerful in doing her job, and she had a can-do attitude and had a knack for defusing stressful situations.”

Since 2010, Eaves served as the “face of the computer science department” in her role as receptionist in the college’s McBryde Hall-based computer science advisors office.

“Frankly, this was a job made for Jessie,” added Benson. “She was equally at ease speaking to the parents of a high school student visiting Virginia Tech as with consoling undergraduates. It was clear from the reactions of computer science students from the announcement of her retirement that Jessie was appreciated by and close to our undergraduates because of the caring way she did her job.”

Computer science advisor Terry Arthur noted, “Jessie truly is one of the most generous and giving persons I ever met. She established a personal connection to many of our students. She also had an equally good relationship with fellow computer science staff members and faculty, interacting with them in her cheerful, unflappable manner."

Among her many contributions, Eaves organized her department’s Meet the Speaker events, during which students talked and mingled with distinguished lecturers over cider and cookies. Her warm greeting put visitors and students meeting these famous computer scientists at ease in the informal environment.

In addition to her many contributions to her department, Eaves represented university staff at two Diversity Summits; chaired and served as the computer science staff representative to the College Association for Staff in Engineering; and chaired the James D. McCormick Staff Leadership Seminar, a collaborative activity between Virginia Tech and Radford University.

She also served on the university search committees that hired Provost Mark G. McNamee and Vice President for Human Resources Hal Irvin. She is a member of the Dialogue on the Race Issue group that brings community members together with the Blacksburg and Christiansburg police chiefs and the Montgomery County sheriff.

She was a member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals, New River Valley, and was the recipient of Virginia Tech’s President’s Award for Excellence in 2001.

"Ms. Eaves is the type of person who spreads joy and positivity wherever she goes,” computer science major Audrey Decker wrote as part of her award nomination. “Her genuine kindness is obvious to anyone who's ever met her. She made every student feel important and cared about each one of us like we were family. Her impact on the department is simply indescribable because she's done so much over so many years.”

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.