Virginia Tech has hired Michelle Turek as a principal gifts officer, effective March 1.

Turek will manage a portfolio of principal-gift prospects, and she will plan and implement initiatives to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward prospects and donors.

Turek earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural and applied economics from Virginia Tech in 2000.

“It’s a privilege to return to Virginia Tech, a place that provided me with such a solid foundation to begin my banking career, and continue to help make it one of the best universities in the world,” Turek said. “As an alum, the projects that are going on are really exciting to me, and I want to see the university grow as a leader in innovation and impact.”

Turek has been the vice president for commercial banking at Tompkins Trust Company in Ithaca, New York, since 2012. There, she created the company’s agribusiness initiative, and led and managed both the Tompkins Financial Middle Market Initiative and the leasing arm of Tompkins Financial Corporation.

Turek has worked in the financial industry for 17 years, in positions of increasing responsibility. She said that what she has loved most about banking is connecting innovators and entrepreneurs with the resources needed to move forward, and she is excited to build relationships that are essential to Virginia Tech’s record momentum in fundraising.

“I am thrilled to be able to have meaningful conversations with alumni and discover how they can be a part of the excitement and growth occurring at our university,” Turek said. “I love playing a role in bringing people together to do great things.”

The Office of Principal Gifts is responsible for securing the most-transformative gifts to Virginia Tech. The office is led by Associate Vice President for Principal Gifts Monecia Taylor, who is part of Advancement Division’s senior leadership team.

“Michelle’s ability to manage and grow deep relationships, and her genuine enthusiasm for Virginia Tech, make her a great fit for us,” Taylor said. “We look forward to having her onboard.”

— Written by Rich Polikoff