Charles “Chip” Cartwright (’70 B.S. forestry and wildlife) was honored with the Influential Black Alumni Ut Prosim Award during this year’s Black Alumni Reunion, held virtually in April. Cartwright combined a ground-breaking career with the U.S. Forest Service with a lifetime of community service. After a stint in the Air Force following graduation, he joined the Forest Service, rising through the ranks and blazing a trail as the first African American to serve in the positions of district ranger, forest supervisor, and regional forester. He was a leader in pursuing affirmative action and diversification of the agency’s workforce, forged better working relationships with several southwestern Native American tribes, and developed new approaches to the recruitment and mentoring of women and people of color.

In addition to service to his church, Scout troops, and Habitat for Humanity throughout the years, Cartwright’s retirement has included roles as black cowboy, buffalo soldier, and explorer history interpreter and state park manager in North Dakota and as a black history interpreter for a historical museum in Arkansas.

“I credit the college and the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets with helping me build a foundation for a successful and meaningful career,” Cartwright said. “My dream was, and still is, to make a difference. I believe I am.”

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