When asked why he has chosen to give annually to the college since 1974, Bob Garst’s answer is simple: “It’s the right thing to do.” For Garst, Ut Prosim(That I May Serve) isn’t just a motto; it’s a lifestyle. That’s why he has made a significant commitment — pledging to donate annually over the next five years, using gifts of stock.

“When I look back over the jobs I’ve had in my career, every one of them was the result of graduating from Virginia Tech,” Garst said. “The returns I’ve gotten back from Virginia Tech are far more than what I contributed in tuition many years ago.”

A 1966 forestry graduate, Garst was also a member of the Corps of Cadets. He commissioned into the U.S. Army and served as an officer for 22 years. Upon retiring from the military, he worked in the forest production industry before eventually returning to Roanoke. “It was like coming home,” he recalled. “Being close to Virginia Tech and participating in campus events and culture was a big draw for me.”

Garst continues to remain involved on campus, regularly attending football games, serving on the college alumni board, and helping to plan his 50th class reunion last year. For Garst, these activities are just another way of demonstrating his commitment to service. “If I can do something to help Virginia Tech, sign me up!” he said.

Garst also described the joy he receives from seeing firsthand how his gifts are used. Annual donations like his go to support the college’s annual fund, which helps to support some of the most pressing priorities, including sending students to professional conferences, providing scholarships, and funding the Leadership Institute, a yearlong undergraduate program aimed at honing the leadership skills of future natural resources professionals.

“Getting to listen to what these students have done and what they are doing is amazing,” Garst said. “Anybody who donates to the school can listen to these students and think, ‘Wow! I’m adding something to the overall greatness of this program.’”