The College of Natural Resources will present the first Gerald Cross Outstanding Alumni Leadership Award to David Patton, dean of the Professional Schools and School of Forestry at Northern Arizona University, on Thursday, Nov. 18, when Patton gives a special lecture at 1 p.m. in Fralin Auditorium on Virginia Tech's campus. A reception will follow in the Fralin Atrium.

Patton, an internationally-known wildlife expert, will speak on "The Management Philosophy of Looking Good: A Work and Life Formula For Success." He has worked as a wildlife professional for the U.S. Forest Service; director of the Center of Wildlife Management in Kenya, Africa; director of the Center of Indigenous Studies in Southwestern U.S.; and as director of tropical rainforest studies in Australia.

The fisheries and wildlife science department established the Gerald Cross Outstanding Alumni Leadership Award in honor of Cross upon his retirement as associate professor and a former department head. Cross designated the award to honor alumni who are widely recognized for outstanding leadership in their profession. The award is solely funded by the Gerald Cross Endowment.

Believing that good leadership is more crucial than ever for the times which we now live, Cross said, "A leader develops a vision of the future, produces strategies needed to achieve that vision, aligns people to support the vision, and inspires people to overcome barriers to change."

The College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech consistently ranks among the top five programs of its kind in the nation. Faculty members stress both the technical and human elements of natural resources and instill in students a sense of stewardship and land-use ethics. Areas of studies include environmental resource management, fisheries and wildlife sciences, forestry, geospatial and environmental analysis, natural resource recreation, urban forestry, wood science and forest products, geography, and international development.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become among the largest universities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech's eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.