As members of the Virginia Tech Parent Council, Kate and Tim Queen took an active role in their son Charlie’s education. As Charlie prepares for graduation with a degree in architecture, Kate and Tim reflected on his experience at Virginia Tech, their involvement as Hokie parents, and the insight they gained into the university motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

During high school, Charlie went to several architectural camps at colleges on the east coast, including Inside Architecture + Design at Virginia Tech.

“It was during our ride home that Charlie told me he was certain he wanted to study architecture and certain that the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at VT was where he wanted to study,” Kate recalled. 

During the five-year architecture program, Charlie studied and participated in special projects in Blacksburg; the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center (WAAC); at the Steger Center for International Scholarship in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland; and Orlando, Florida. He also worked for a small architecture firm in Northern Virginia, practical experience that gave him insight into his career options. 

“Charlie enjoyed studying at each campus, each with its own unique personality and different opportunities for learning and living,” Kate said.

“Charlie really enjoyed his semester abroad in Switzerland and his semester in Alexandria. Since architecture is a five-year program, it's nice to spend some time outside of Blacksburg. It also allowed him to mature. After spending his entire life in his parents' house, and then in a small college town, these opportunities allowed him to experience the world on his own,” Tim said.   

As part of a team of students and professors, Charlie worked on the FutureHAUS building concept. The project concluded with a road trip to Orlando where the team presented the features and benefits of the home at a national homebuilders’ trade show.

“The architecture department was perfect for him,” said Tim. “It allows the students to form strong friendships and collaborative relationships. Even though the architecture students don't live together, they spend so much time together, it's as though they have their own residential college. Yet they can still enjoy the university at large.”

While their son studied, Tim and Kate served on the Virginia Tech Parent Council.

“Joining the Parent Council was a great decision. We've been involved since Charlie's freshman year. It really gives parents good insight on how the university is developing and how those changes impact the students, including their own student,” said Tim. “The opinions of parents are very much appreciated at Virginia Tech.”

It was during a Parent Council discussion about service trips that the Queens realized they could do more to ensure access and success for all students and make the life-changing opportunities Charlie had available to more Hokies. They established the Timothy A. and Katherine M. Queen Family Endowment for New Student and Family Programs in Charlie’s honor.

I was reminded of my own experiences while attending college — and suddenly, a light bulb lit up,” said Kate. “I received some small scholarships and grants, had student loans, and worked full-time to pay my tuition. For many students, then and now, adding additional experiences to their academic plan is not always possible. I didn’t know what was involved or how it would work, but I thought that if we could cover the fees for even one student a year, that would be a step in the right direction.

“The motto Ut Prosim is not just a catchphrase etched in stone or printed on letterhead. Ut Prosim is a living doctrine,” said Kate. “Between Hokies and from Hokies to anyone in need, Ut Prosim is transformative for those who serve and those who are served.”

“VT has done a lot for Charlie and his classmates,” Tim added. “This allows us to give back to the community that has given him such a great education and has provided him with such a welcoming social environment.”

“VT has provided more than a fabulous education from one of the top programs in the country. It is at Virginia Tech that Charlie has also been able to meet, work, and become friends with students and professors from all over the world,” said Kate. “I will always be thankful for the education and opportunities that our son received while at Virginia Tech. I feel like our whole family, and the families of every Tech student, are members of the Hokie Nation.”

Tim Queen is an ear, nose and throat surgeon and allergist in private practice in Newport News, Virginia. Kate is a financial administrator. In addition to Charlie, they have Ethan, who is in his third year at the University of Virginia, and Eliza, who will be attending the Savannah College of Art and Design next year.

Read the full interview with the Queens on the Hokie Family eNews web page.

Written by Sandy Broughton.