Julia Allen has joined the College of Natural Resources and Environment as assistant dean of advancement.

Allen brings 20 years of fundraising experience in higher education to the position and will be directly involved in planning and outreach efforts to support the strategic priorities of the college and Virginia Tech.

Allen, who grew up in Easley, South Carolina, said that she has long admired Virginia Tech’s land-grant mission and shares a passion for the kind of research that takes place in the College of Natural Resources and Environment.

“I can’t think of a better cause to ask folks to invest in than maintaining the natural environment that we enjoy on a daily basis,” Allen said. “And there are the nooks and crannies of our lives that we don’t think about — the boxes from Amazon and the packaging for the products we buy — all of that has a lot of science behind it. I’m excited to work with Dean Paul Winistorfer and the faculty to see what research is taking place and how it helps us move conservation and sustainability efforts forward.”

Allen, who previously served as the chief development officer at Gaston College in North Carolina, fell into fundraising early in her career and views the work of advancement as a way to connect people to important causes.

“I love connecting people to causes that are greater than themselves, to efforts that they can help further,” she explained. “People understand my work as fundraising, but I don’t see it that way. I view this work as providing investment opportunities for worthwhile causes.”

Winistorfer, dean of the College of Natural Resources and Environment, said, “Our philanthropy and engagement efforts are key to the future success of the college, and I’m very excited that Julia is joining our team and bringing significant experience to this important role. We have plans to keep moving the college forward — in the classroom, in the labs, and in the field — and donor support will enable us to be successful.”

Michael Moyer, associate vice president of development for colleges, added, “Julia’s track record of working in partnership with academic leaders and senior professionals demonstrates her ability to help bring to reality the dean’s and the faculty’s vision for the college.”

Allen said that this position gives her the chance to merge her skills in educational advancement with her passion for the outdoors, a passion that was cultivated during an Outward Bound experience in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

“I grew up in a fairly suburban environment,” Allen noted. “We’d go out for hikes, but I was never really excited to be out in nature until I participated in an Outward Bound course just before college. That gave me the chance to be out in the great outdoors in a way I hadn’t had before, and it ignited a passion within me.”

Allen, who spent the summers of her undergraduate years working at a high adventure camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is excited to move to Blacksburg and is looking forward to taking advantage of the rich diversity a college town offers as well as the woods, trails, and bike paths that surround it.

“I’m excited to be back on a residential college campus, to be interacting with faculty and students every day,” she added. “Blacksburg is a cool town in the middle of gorgeous country, and I’m excited to join the community at Virginia Tech.”

Written by David Fleming