With new degree programs in place, record enrollment, a strong research agenda, and award-winning outreach to the commonwealth, we have to ask, “What’s next?” as we peer into the future. We are continually reflecting as we look 10 years ahead. More than one-third of our faculty will be eligible for retirement in the coming decade. Planning ahead will pay off as we look for ways to innovate in our teaching, research, and outreach programs. We are beginning now to take a deeper look into the many faculty changes likely to come. Our faculty are the foundation of the college and our most important resource.

Looking ahead, infrastructure is the biggest challenge we face and must be addressed to ensure our successful future. Our infrastructure will not allow for additional growth of the college as all offices, labs, and classrooms are at capacity. Neither the quantity nor quality of our space is adequate for our future.

We received great news from the QS World University Rankings of academic programs. Our forestry program is among the elite programs in the world, one of only a few such recognized programs at Virginia Tech! A few years ago, the National Research Council ranked our forestry doctoral program as one of the best in the country and the top doctoral program at Virginia Tech.

I want to acknowledge the partnership we enjoy with our federal agency partners, as highlighted in our cover story. Federal scientists working on our campus bring expertise and synergism to our mission of teaching, research, and outreach. We value and appreciate the working relationships we have with our agency scientists.

The college’s annual awards celebration in April (to be featured in summer’s CNRE News) recognized the many outstanding students in the college for their accomplishments. A number of our donors joined us for the evening as we celebrated the awarding of nearly $220,000 in scholarships and other recognitions. Helping students through school is the best investment we can make in the future. Thank you to our many donors and to the Virginia Forestry Educational Foundation, its directors, and donors for your very significant support.

At the awards celebration, we recognized Carl Garrison (’78 B.S. in forestry) with the Alumni Award of Achievement. This very special honor recognizes Carl for his many contributions to natural resources and forestry stewardship and for his leadership in the Virginia Department of Forestry. Carl has served the college in various capacities throughout the years. Carl, you make us very proud, and we are thankful that your path crossed ours.

Incoming Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands made a brief visit to our college this spring, and we look forward to working with him when he begins his duties June 1. We are thankful for the long-term support, vision, and leadership of President Steger.

Thank you for your interest and support of all we do. I welcome your thoughts on “What’s next?”


Paul M. Winistorfer