Joseph Hunnings, former director of planning and reporting, professional development, and civil rights compliance in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of director emeritus by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The emeritus title may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands in recognition of exemplary service to the university. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive a copy of the resolution and a certificate of appreciation.

For more than 35 years, Hunnings made significant contributions to the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia as an agent, district director, Extension specialist, and finally as the director of planning and reporting, professional development, and civil rights compliance for Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station.

Hunnings was instrumental in Virginia Cooperative Extension becoming a national leader in diversity and inclusion programming through the development of the Extension Diversity and Inclusion Fellows and opportunities for non-English speaking clientele to access the resources of Extension. He developed international programs and experiences for Extension faculty, including efforts in the Dominican Republic, 4-H international exchange, and agent exchanges with Ireland and Senegal.

He also established processes for Virginia Cooperative Extension to comply with USDA civil rights expectations and provided support to other states in developing similar systems of compliance. He also provided guidance, supported agents and specialists, and fulfilled Virginia Cooperative Extension and Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station’s federal reporting obligations.

Hunnings received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Virginia Tech.

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(From left) Kim Niewolny, Joe Hunnings, and Erin Ling were among recipients of 2017 diversity awards from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

(From left) Kim Niewolny, Joe Hunnings, and Erin Ling were among recipients of 2017 diversity awards from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.