Rick Rudd, professor and head of the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, was reappointed as the Virginia Cooperative Extension Chair of Excellence in Community Viability by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands and Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke.

The Virginia chair was established in 2004 by an anonymous donor in honor of R. Michael Chandler, Donald P. Lacy, and J. Douglas McAlister in recognition of their services to Virginia Cooperative Extension. The honor recognizes teaching and research excellence and recipients hold the position for a period of five years.

Rudd has held the chair since 2009.

A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 2006, Rudd has gained national and international recognition in rural leadership development and viable rural communities. He has worked with the Farm Bureau in two states to initiate efforts to create viable rural communities.

As a faculty member at the University of Florida, Rudd created the "Strengthening the Voice" campaign to provide leadership programs for rural leaders in 67 counties. This program was adapted and is currently used in Virginia communities. He has also worked to develop leadership programs for rural youth including three statewide programs built around the developmental needs of adolescents.

Rudd has co-authored three books, written numerous scholarly publications, and presented at more than 120 professional and academic workshops; Extension training sessions; and international, national, and regional events. He has served as a principal investigator, co-principal investigator, or co-director of programs, research projects, and contracts worth more than $2.2 million.

Rudd has been named the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Teacher of the Year by the University of Florida and has received the Association of Leadership Educators Distinguished Service and Leadership Award and the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Teaching Award of Merit.

He is a Senior Fellow in the American Association for Agricultural Education and currently serves as the chair of the organization. He is also a member of the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (serving as president from 2012-2013), the Association of Leadership Educators (serving as president from 2005-2006), the American Association of Agricultural Educators, Alpha Zeta, Gamma Sigma Delta, Phi Delta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Golden Key, and Sigma Xi. 

Rudd received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Ohio State University and a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech.