These four words — qualityrelevanceheritageposition — belong together. Let me explain why.

When I think about the college today, the first word that comes to me is quality. The faculty and staff of this college are quality people who are committed and passionate about what we do and how we do it. This passion and commitment makes all the difference in how we approach our work. It is gratifying to come to campus each day knowing that our faculty and staff are at the top of their game. They are doing a tremendous job in the classrooms, labs, offices, and in the field. The quality of our people empowers us to do more, to take on more challenging research projects, to develop and teach new courses, to update our curriculum, and to reach out to new stakeholders with new programs in the state and beyond. We have quality students and quality alumni. The quality of our people is the difference we stand on in this college.

The second word that comes to my mind is relevance. I’ve been writing and speaking a lot about this lately, and the term has appeared in my perspective column many times. The College of Natural Resources and Environment is more relevant today than at any time in our history. Relevance is needed today to address the challenges we face globally in protecting, managing, and using our natural resources. Relevance is needed today to advance the science of sustainability — the new brand of the college. There is not a conversation today that we are not a part of. If you are not relevant today then you are irrelevant, and that is a slippery slope to stand on. We are relevant in everything we do.

The third word that comes to my mind is heritage. Now in our 21st year as a college at Virginia Tech, we stand on the vision, aspirations, hard work, and successes of those who have gone before us. Don’t ever overlook the hard work and contributions of all those who have preceded you. They may have retired or moved on, but they were committed and passionate during their time with you. We have a great heritage in this college, and we share in the great heritage that is Virginia Tech. The quality, relevance, and heritage of the other colleges and programs at Virginia Tech help lift us up. We are better because we are Virginia Tech. Thank you to all who have helped create our great success and our heritage.

And the fourth word that comes to my mind is position. We have positioned the college to be relevant today and for the future. We have positioned the college for success. We have positioned the college so our students can be successful while they are with us and long after they leave us. We have positioned the college to make a difference in the world. Knowing that we can make a difference is perhaps the greatest reward.

What words come to mind when you think of the college? We are a quality learning, discovery, and engaged college with quality people. We are relevant to any conversation you wish to have. We have a strong heritage that all can take credit for. We are positioned to make a difference in this world. We are advancing the science of sustainability.

We are the College of Natural Resources and Environment and we are Virginia Tech.


Paul M. Winistorfer