In memoriam: Beverly Sgro, Board of Visitors member and dean of students
March 16, 2020
Beverly Huston Sgro, former Virginia Tech dean of students, Board of Visitors member, and secretary of education of the Commonwealth of Virginia, died March 13 at her home in Asheville, North Carolina. She was 79.
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, she graduated from Amon Carter High School. She earned a B.S. from Texas Women's University and a B.S. and Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. Sgro began her career in education as a speech pathologist in the public schools of Midland, Texas. In 1963, she accepted a research assistantship at Texas Christian University, where she met Joseph Sgro, who would become her husband of 53 years.
Sgro was a teaching tennis professional at Blacksburg Country Club from 1977 to 1981, and in 1981 accepted the position of Virginia Tech coordinator for Greek life. She later became assistant director of student activities at Virginia Tech, and, partly because of her love for interacting with students, was elevated to dean of students in 1989, the first woman to serve in that position. She also held a teaching appointment.
Gov. George Allen appointed Sgro Virginia secretary of education in 1994. In that position, she oversaw the commonwealth's public school system, higher education system, state library and archives, and state museums. She loved the position and took great pride in her role in reshaping the quality of public education at that time.
At the completion of her tenure as secretary of education in 1998, Sgro returned to education as the head of a private school. She was also named to the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors from 1999 to 2003, a period that included the university presidential transition from Paul Torgersen to Charles Steger. She chaired the Special Committee on Research before it became a regular committee and was a member of the Academic Affairs Committee.
Sgro retired as the head of school at Carolina Day School in Asheville, North Carolina, in 2010. She had a passion for the students, faculty, parents and alumni of the school and loved following the life paths of her former students.
Sgro was a member of numerous academic honor societies including Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership honorary), Phi Kappa Phi (academic), Phi Upsilon Omicron (academic honors), Pi Lambda Theta, Sigma Alpha Eta (speech language), and Zeta Phi Eta (communications).
She held an honorary doctorate from Averett University and was a member of the Headmistress Association of the East and was awarded the 2017 Chancellor's Alumni Award for Achievement at Texas Woman's University. She was active in many professional associations and served on numerous boards.
Sgro is survived by her son, Anthony Huston Sgro, and his wife, Faulkner Bagley Sgro, of Asheville, North Carlina; a daughter, Jennifer Sgro Orfield, and her husband, Robert Orfield, of Richmond, Virginia; a grandson, A.B. Bagley Sgro; and two granddaughters, Huston T.S. Sgro and Grazia F.F. Sgro. She was predeceased by her husband, Joseph Anthony Sgro, and her parents.
Memorial services will be held in Richmond, Virginia, and Asheville, North Carolina, at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Foxcroft School, 22407 Foxhound Lane, Middleburg, VA 20117.
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