State of the University

President Sands delivering the State of the University Address, Sept. 6, 2019. 

Virginia Tech President Tim Sands gave his fourth state of the university address Friday, Sept. 6, in the Moss Arts Center, informing the public about Virginia Tech’s achievements and new initiatives underway.

Sands spoke on topics such as over-enrollment, minority representation at Virginia Tech, new strategic missions, building renovations and more.

“A lot of people are proud to be Hokies this fall –– a lot more than we initially expected,” Sands said. “If we manage it properly, which I believe we are, we have 1000 more Hokies in our community. That’s a good thing because Hokies change the world.”

Virginia Tech expected to see a decrease in yield based on past data and national trends, but the university saw quite the opposite, according to Sands. Additionally, he said this increase means more students are choosing Virginia Tech over other universities.

The proposed goal is to grow Virginia Tech to 30,000 undergraduate students by 2023, and Sands stated that the current influx of freshmen allows the university to better deal with admissions in the future.

Moreover, Sands recognized three strategic priorities throughout his speech: broadening access and eliminating disparities in the Virginia Tech experience; recognizing “Ut Prosim” (“That I May Serve”) and the university’s dedication to human service; and being a destination for talent.

One objective to help implement these strategic priorities is increasing the underrepresented minority population to 25% by 2022.

“This falls well short of being representative of the demographics in Virginia, but it’s an important first step,” Sands said. “We’ve also committed to 40% underrepresented and underserved including first-generation, low income and veteran students.”

To prepare for the 30,000-student goal in 2023, Sands said renovations are being made on Holden Hall, War Memorial Hall and McComas Hall. Virginia Tech also added 300 e-scooters on campus as part of a pilot study.

In addition, Sands stated that the alumni giving rate is 13%, and Virginia Tech aims to up that rate to 22% by 2022. He compared Virginia Tech’s giving rate to the University of Virginia, who has a giving rate of 18%.

The address featured a variety of guest speakers either onstage or via webcam, including Cyril Clarke, executive vice president and provost, and Robin White, assistant professor of animal and poultry sciences. White featured a horse named “Rad” with her on-screen.

“All members of our community — faculty, staff, students and administrators — play essential roles in accomplishing your mission, but none more so than our faculty,” Clarke said. “It is our faculty who are accountable for student learning, who lead research and creative projects and who are primarily responsible for producing scholarly works that advance our kitchen service to our global community.”

Watch the full state of the university address here.

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