For outstanding service to Virginia Tech, the Board of Visitors has awarded alumnus and retired U.S. Army General Archie S. Cannon Jr. the 2004 University Distinguished Achievement Award.
The University Distinguished Achievement Award is awarded annually in conjunction with the university’s Founders Day and recognizes nationally distinguished achievement in any field of enduring significance to society.
Cannon, of Williamsburg, Va., graduated from Virginia Tech in 1950 with a B.S. Degree in Business Administration and his commission as an officer through the ROTC program. He continued his education at George Washington University, where he earned an M.S. Degree in International Affairs, and later engaged in law and behavioral sciences graduate work. His military education includes the Artillery Advanced Officers Course, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the Armed Forces Staff College, and the National War College.
Before retiring in 1987 as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel, for the U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army, Cannon held a variety of command and staff positions throughout the world. He has served in Germany, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. While serving in the continental United States, Cannon played a key role in developing and executing policies and programs affecting more than 500,000 soldiers, family members, civilian employees, and a local national work force comprising the U.S. Army Europe.
Other key assignments held by Cannon include Deputy Commander U.S. Air Defense Center and School; Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Recruiting Command; and Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs.
Cannon has received numerous awards and decorations throughout his career: the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal. and the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.
Following retirement from his 34-year military career, Cannon has continued to support the university. His leadership as the fundraising chair for the 50th reunion of the Class of 1950 was the primary reason the class raised $1.2 million for a mathematics professorship, a Corps scholarship, and library improvements.
Cannon also personally provides support for Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business, the Corps of Cadets, and the athletic programs.
Cannon serves as chair of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Alumni class giving effort and is a key member of the VTCCA executive committee and the VTCCA development council. He is a member of the Ut Prosim Society and is active in the Tidewater Area Hokie Club and Alumni Chapter.
Cannon and his wife, Jerri, have settled in Patriots Colony, a retirement community in Williamsburg for retired military officers and their spouses, which Cannon helped found. He serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors in the community and has been recognized with the naming of the Cannon Community Center in his honor.
First taking place in 1972, Founders Day Convocation is Virginia Tech's annual celebration of the academic and professional achievements of the university and recognizing service to Virginia Tech.
Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech’s eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top 30 research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 170 academic degree programs.