Ruth E. Wallace, unit coordinator and senior Virginia Cooperative Extension agent in 4-H Youth Development, has received the university's 2018 Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension.

Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension is presented annually to two Virginia Cooperative Extension faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to the land-grant mission of the university. One award goes to an Extension specialist and the other is given to an Extension agent. Each award winner receives $2,000.

Since beginning her career with Virginia Cooperative Extension in 1994, Wallace has established herself as a community leader. She developed extensive in-school and after-school programs, as well as summer day camp and residential programs.

Wallace’s in-school programming includes SOL-related enrichment topics, and it leads to each fourth, fifth, and sixth grader participating in 4-H presentations, public speaking, and a science fair, respectively. She began the 4-H Between the Pages after-school program in 2009 to help with improving literacy skills in Buckingham County Schools. Additionally, on average, she conducts four- to five-day summer day camps annually, as well as a Junior 4-H summer residential day camp.

She has also secured a variety of grants. In one case, a grantor actively sought her as a recipient of their funding based on her reputation. Wallace has collected more than $525,000 through monetary contributions, in-kind donations, and special funding efforts during her career.

“With decades of experience and commitment to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Mrs. Wallace goes above and beyond the call of duty implied by a rather simplistic position title. As a child nurtured in her 4-H program, and now, as an adult working as her peer in VCE, it is evident that Mrs. Wallace strives for excellence in all she does. She has a distinct talent for being a mentor and guiding light for those in severe need — and I am not sure she even knows it,” Brielle DeMatteo, 4-H Program staff member, wrote in a letter of nomination.

In recognition of her contributions to the 4-H Associations and the Extension profession, VAE4-HA and NAE4-HA have awarded Wallace with the Achievement in Service Award, the Distinguished Service Award, and the Meritorious Service Award.

Written by Lindsey Grooms, Class of 2019