Frank Beamer, former Virginia Tech football coach and ambassador for Virginia Tech athletics, will address the Virginia Tech Class of 2019 during the spring graduation commencement in Lane Stadium at 8:30 a.m. Friday, May 17.
Beamer graduated from Virginia Tech 50 years ago and retired as football coach in 2015. He became the winningest coach in the history of the university, with 238 victories in 29 seasons. During his time as coach, the Virginia Tech football team went to a bowl game for at least 20 consecutive seasons.
“Coach Frank Beamer has been and continues to be a model ambassador of the Hokie Nation,” said Matt Winston, senior associate vice president for Alumni Relations at Virginia Tech, to VT News. “He has served Virginia Tech with class and distinction, both in his role as the leader of our great football program and as someone dedicated to the success and progress of our beloved alma mater.”
Beamer was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame last year and received the 2019 Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award in January. According to VT News, he will receive the 23rd Dick Enberg Award.
Previously, Beamer was the spring commencement speaker for Radford University in 2017 according to The Roanoke Times.
“I have no doubt that students and fellow alumni alike will enjoy the words of wisdom and reflection that Frank will deliver,” Winston said.
In addition to being an ambassador for Virginia Tech athletics, Beamer is also spokesperson for the Drive for 25 campaign, which aims to grow membership in the Hokie Club, or the Virginia Tech Athletic Fund.
Other university commencement ceremony speakers include Melody Barnes, co-director of the Democracy Initiative at the University of Virginia and professor of practice at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs, and Joshua Johnson, radio program host for WAMU, NPR’s local radio station in Washington, D.C., and formerly professor at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
Barnes will speak at the Virginia Tech Graduate School Commencement at 2:30 p.m. in Cassell Coliseum. She was previously assistant to the president and director of the White House Domestic Policy Council for Barack Obama between 2009-2012, as well as senior domestic policy advisor to the Obama for America campaign and the Obama-Biden Transition Project. Before joining Obama’s campaign, she served as executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress and as an aide and chief counsel to former senator Edward M. Kennedy.
Johnson will speak at the Virginia Tech’s National Capital Region Commencement May 19 at 1 p.m. at the George Mason University Center for the Arts in Fairfax. He hosts “1A” on WAMU. Prior to that, he co-created and hosted “Truth Be Told,” a nationwide public radio series that explored race in America. He is also a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.