We are nearly finished with recruitment activities to build the college’s fall 2019 class. As the university grows, so will the college. Our enrollment goal is nearly 250 incoming first-year and transfer students — an increase of almost 100 students above last year’s goal, which we exceeded. This would be the largest class in our history, as we continue to make progress toward our overall goal of 1,250 undergraduate students. There are many facets to successful recruitment — our new website, information sessions, connecting potential students with faculty and students in our programs, outreach and personal visits in schools and communities in the region, and, most importantly, helping individuals find their passion. Are you passionate about the work we do? Are you passionate about your own career path? Can you remember who influenced you and opened the door to your life’s work in natural resources? I am, and I thank Dr. Dwight Bensend at Iowa State University for influencing me.

Mr. Ken Morgan is passionate about our body of work and the forestry industry. With the gift from Ken and Morgan Lumber Company, we have created a new director of employer relations position in the college to better link the forestry sector to our students (see front cover story). This position is yet another specialized tool in our expanding toolbox of resources to better deliver on our mission. Thank you Ken and Morgan Lumber Company for your leadership in the forestry sector in Virginia and beyond!

We recently welcomed Dr. Keith Goyne as associate dean — a full-time role that is new to the college — and launched six new faculty position searches. While strengthening our core, we are also expanding our view of what our domain encompasses in natural resources. One new faculty position focuses on fostering a circular economy, which is the full-circle utilization of materials rather than cradle-to-grave (one-way life cycle) utilization. Forests are the world’s best example of renewable materials, and we must continue to seize the opportunity to impact the sustainability of the planet with our work. We hope to add new faculty positions again next year, continuing our strategic goal of growing the college and strengthening our impacts in teaching, research, and engagement.

We have big decisions to make regarding financial commitments to grow the college’s infrastructure. We are out of office, lab, and classroom space, which is our greatest challenge moving forward. Our existing infrastructure is not competitive with any of our North American peer institutions. We must address short-term needs with an eye to a much longer and greater vision for our work in natural resources. As Virginia Tech continues to grow, can we aspire to create a natural resources campus on the western perimeter of campus? Can you imagine it? I can.

Warm regards from our faculty, staff, and students,

Paul Winistorfer

Paul M. Winistorfer