I’ve always wanted to weave in a deeper sentiment in my perspective column. In all my years of professional publishing, I’ve not been able to work in the word “love.” Each and every day, I love what we do in the college, the work of our faculty and staff, and the energy, enthusiasm, and promise of our students. I love and appreciate the engagement and support of so many around us. 

I enjoyed attending PackExpo in Chicago last fall with more than 30 students and faculty from the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials. Our packaging systems and design degree program continues its success with an abundance of opportunities for faculty and students. It only takes a few seconds to see the importance of packaging in our daily lives, the resources required to package and ship goods, and the global implications of the packaging sector. Wood and wood fiber are paramount to the packaging sector, and that is why we remain committed and engaged in this area in particular. 

Omar Asali, Virginia Tech alumnus and owner of RanPak, was at PackExpo with a great display for his organization. RanPak has placed state-of-the-art packaging equipment in our innovation lab for student use. Overall, our students, faculty, and alumni had an exceptional presence at the Expo.

Over the winter break, Professor Lynn Resler and Assistant Professor Craig Ramseyer from the Department of Geography led the annual three-week overseas study trip to New Zealand. The Virginia Tech group traveled halfway around the world to see, hear, and learn about one of the more pristine places in the world. Study abroad is transformational for our students, and college faculty lead numerous experiences in many parts of the world. Virginia Tech’s aspiration to be a global land grant university is gaining momentum with the work and experiences of CNRE faculty and students who are traveling to learn and conduct research in faraway places.

We are saddened by the loss of alumnus Chip Cartwright in February (Page 6). Chip had a ground-breaking career with the U.S. Forest Service. He was the first African American to serve in the positions of district ranger, forest supervisor, and regional forester. He last visited campus in September 2022 with his wife Daisy. Chip was a beacon of light to many, and we will miss him. 

Many of you have asked over the years, “When is the college going to hold an alumni reunion?”  Please join us June 8-11, 2023, in Blacksburg for the first-ever CNRE All-Alumni Celebration, in conjunction with Virginia Tech’s Alumni Weekend. Meet up with old friends, make new connections, see the changes to the campus, get an update on the college, and visit with former and current faculty and staff. Place your order for an engraved paver to be used in the construction of a Cheatham Hall plaza. It promises to be a really great weekend.

Onward toward commencement and celebrating the Class of 2023!

Warm regards on behalf of our faculty, staff, and students,

Paul Winistorfer

Paul Winistorfer