We lost two pillars in the forestry community in the past year with the passing of Professor Emeritus John Hosner in 2018 and alumnus John Farmer in 2019 (see related story). Both men committed their lives to forestry and all things natural resources. At Virginia Tech, Hosner transformed a department into a school and laid the foundation for today’s College of Natural Resources and Environment. In addition to Virginia’s forestry community, Farmer served his hometown community, his church, his employer, and many, many other people and organizations. Together, the two men shepherded and expanded the Virginia Forestry Educational Foundation as a way to support students in the college, long before Virginia Tech established its own foundation. Thank you, John and John — selfless, committed, visionary, humble, and giving — for all you gave to us.

Our focus on career preparation and readiness continues to provide bountiful opportunities for our students. John Freeborn, our new director of employer relations, is out and about the state meeting with producers, mill owners, and the broader community. Linking the external world to our students is a win-win for everyone involved. This year’s career fair was our largest to date and is but one example of connecting the human resources needs and opportunities of the natural resources sector through Virginia Tech and the college.

October marked a milestone in the life of Virginia Tech and, in turn, for the college. Virginia Tech kicked off Boundless Impact: The Campaign for Virginia Tech, an ambitious $1.5 billion fundraising campaign, the success of which will shape our institution for generations to come. For the college, this means the addition of resources to support our students and faculty as we endeavor to tackle and solve some of our world’s most pressing challenges.

CNRE is where learning is all about being immersed in the world. Together, students, faculty, and partners who share a vision for a better tomorrow are finding exciting new ways to steward natural resources for future generations, deploy advanced technology for data capture and decision making, conserve biodiversity, drive economies from renewable materials, strengthen communities, save lives, and more.

As I reflect upon our college and the larger university, I am moved with a feeling of pride in the work our faculty members are doing through research, teaching, and outreach. I am also humbled by the aspiration for the future of this college and university shared by so many. The success of Virginia Tech and CNRE is due to the embodiment of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) exhibited by those of you who have been advocates and supporters of the goals and dreams of our faculty and students. Inspired philanthropy has brought us this far, and continued investment by those who believe in our work will catapult us into an even brighter future.

These are exciting, dynamic times in the college, with a fast pace and the continuing evolution of people and programs. We need you to help us see the future of our work and its benefit to society, and I welcome your involvement. If you are interested in being engaged with us, please contact me (pstorfer@vt.edu).

Warm regards from our faculty, staff, and students,

Paul Winistorfer

Paul M. Winistorfer