The college’s 25th anniversary celebration is scheduled for Sept. 15-16, 2017. Our planning committee has been working to create a fun-filled weekend where you can reminisce, see former classmates and professors, tour the campus, and reconnect with the college. The college today is a recognized leader in our disciplines. We remain true to our foundation built on the scholarship of forestry, fisheries and wildlife, wood, and geography, but we have strategically evolved to be a contemporary leader across the natural resources and environment landscape. Our academic programs are a blend of our rich and strong foundation in our core disciplines, with a careful, creative, and large dose of that special sauce that creates the future. The world has surely changed over these past 25 years, and the college has not stood by passively waiting for that change to impact us. What a very special feeling it is to be a part of an academic program that is thriving in today’s complex world and in the landscape of higher education. I hope you can join us for an exciting weekend of remembrances, also culminating in our vision to move forward. I hope to meet many of our alumni and friends of the college at the September celebration. Mark your calendar today!

We recently dedicated the Legacy Table, which is now on permanent display in the Holtzman Alumni Center. Made from two historic trees on the campus — a white oak from the lawn of the Grove and the Henderson Lawn sycamore — the table is a gift to the university from students in the Wood Enterprise Institute (WEI). WEI is celebrating 10 years of engaged, experiential learning under the leadership of the Professor Earl Kline, Nettleton Faculty Fellow in the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials. Thank you to our many donors and friends who support WEI. I hope you will stop by and see this amazing piece of Virginia Tech history embodied in a beautiful work of craftsmanship.

Spring semester included eight faculty searches across all departments in the college. Watch for announcements of new faculty joining us this fall in the following areas: geography department chair, geospatial sciences, infectious diseases, fire ecology, forest modeling and analytics, international forest economics and management, biopolymer materials, and packaging systems and design. Faculty and their expertise remain the foundation of what we do in the college. I am pleased we are able to fill vacancies in critical domain areas in the college.

Lastly, Lynn Davis, the only communications director the college has ever had, announced her retirement effective June 30, 2017, after 25 years of service. Lynn has been a strategic partner with me, and the college’s faculty and staff, in developing and executing a robust college communications strategy. She was instrumental in carrying out our brand and perception study during my first year as dean; we have used the results of this study to position our messaging under the brand Advancing the Science of Sustainability. The branding efforts helped propel the college to its No. 1 ranking these past two years. Lynn is the lead writer and strategist behind this publication, our popular quarterly newsmagazine. She and I personally developed a college showcase that is displayed in the hallways of the first floor of Cheatham Hall. Lynn has truly vested herself in our body of work, believes in what we do, and enjoys a large professional network of natural resources professionals and communicators. You may want to reach out to her before June 30. Lynn will spend time in retirement visiting with her son and his family in Idaho while keeping a presence in Roanoke. Thank you, Lynn, for all you have given, and we all wish you the very best in your next chapter of life, enjoying your four grandchildren.

I hope to see you all in September at our anniversary celebration. Thank you for your interest, support, and recognition of the college. On behalf of our faculty, staff, and students, we wish you a pleasant spring and a fruitful summer ahead.






Paul M. Winistorfer