The new water degree is already garnering philanthropic support from the alumni community. Alumnus Jeff Rudd (’83) is funding two endowments specifically for the interdisciplinary program. The Sustainable Water Scholarship is for juniors or seniors pursuing a water degree; recipients will be known as Sustainable Water Scholars. The Sustainable Water Undergraduate Research Fund will support undergraduate water-related research projects, internships, and professional development opportunities.

Rudd recognizes the importance of preparing students to enter the rapidly growing field of water security. “The scientific and policy analysis of water resources, quality, and conservation are essential for the development of sustainability plans in both the public and private sectors,” he said. “The scholarship recipients will have a genuine opportunity to ‘Invent the Future’ during their careers and to reflect on the critical role of the College of Natural Resources and Environment in providing an early foundation for their success.”

Rudd earned bachelor’s degrees in biological sciences and philosophy from Virginia Tech and holds a doctorate in environment and resources. He currently runs a family investment business.