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Experience and commitment highlight staff changes in Office of the President

August 7, 2017

Dwight Shelton (left), Lisa Wilkes, and Kim O'Rourke
Dwight Shelton (left), Lisa Wilkes, and Kim O'Rourke

A recent staff reorganization will bring a trio with close to a century’s worth of service at Virginia Tech to the Office of the President.

As part of a strategic alignment announced last month, Kim O’Rourke was named vice president for policy and governance and will also serve as secretary to the Board of Visitors, Dwight Shelton was tapped as interim senior vice president for operations and administration, and Lisa Wilkes was called on to become interim vice president for human resources.

“We're very pleased to have leaders who bring a wealth of intuitional knowledge and commitment to these positions at such an important time for Virginia Tech,” said President Tim Sands. “As higher education is redefined, these changes will position us to thrive in a dynamic environment and lead the way among our peers.”

A 39-year Tech employee, O’Rourke began her career at Tech when she relocated to Virginia from New York in 1978. During her tenure, she’s held numerous administrative positions in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, the Cook Counseling Center, and the College of Veterinary Medicine, while also working to earn a degree in accounting and her MBA.  She subsequently served as a budget analyst and then assistant to the vice president for development and university relations until being named the president’s chief of staff in 2000.

O’Rourke takes on the newly created position, vice president for policy and governance, after serving 17 years as chief of staff in the Office of the President. Among her duties in her former role, she served as both Secretary of the Board of Visitors and Secretary to University Council with responsibility for managing the university’s governance infrastructure and extensive involvement in policy development.

In her new role, O’Rourke will be able to give greater focus to enhancing the governance process, creating a system to manage more than 500 President’s Policy Memoranda and university policies, and provide consultation and training for the university community.  She will also continue in her capacity as Secretary to the Board of Visitors.

Shelton joined Virginia Tech in 1979 and has served as the director of internal audit, university controller, university budget director, and associate vice president.

Prior to joining Tech, Shelton was a manager with the accounting firm of Ernst & Whinney. He holds a B.S. in accounting and an MBA, both from Virginia Tech.

Most recently, Shelton has served as vice president for finance and chief financial officer, a role that charged him with, among other things, providing the primary support to university leadership in identifying, obtaining, and allocating the resources need to achieve the university’s mission.

While continuing in that position, Shelton’s new role, interim senior vice president for operations and administration, will also task him with the oversight of university operations, policy and governance, and human resources.

Wilkes began her career at Virginia Tech as a graduate student intern in 1995. She has held multiple positions during her 22-year tenure with the university ranging from manager of leadership development and administrative services to her most recent posting as the associate vice president for administration, which she began in 2015 and tasked her with the oversight of 13 university departments whose annual operating budgets were around $40 million.

She has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Radford University and a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech.

As interim vice president for human resources, Wilkes will be the principal steward of the university’s human resources and will be tasked with providing strategic leadership and service aimed at establishing, promoting and supporting the university’s mission.  She will provide management oversight of Equity and Accessibility, Human Resources, and University Organizational and Professional Development.

Two searches will be launched to permanently fill the two interim positions this year. The first — called the senior vice president for operations and administration — will fill an existing position on the president’s leadership team. The new position, the vice president for human resources, will report to the senior vice president.

Written by Travis Williams

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