The Association of University Parks (AURP) today honored Virginia Tech administrator Raymond D. Smoot with the ‘Community Leadership’ award at the organization’s annual conference in Raleigh, N.C. AURP represents leaders of more than 130 of the nation’s university-affiliated research facilities.
The ‘Community Leadership’ award is presented annually to a business, university or government leader who has made an outstanding contribution to the success and total community impact of a university research and technology park.
Smoot has taken an active role in the Virginia Tech/Blacksburg community for more than 30 years. He has led the development and operation of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (CRC) since it’s inception in the mid-1980’s and has served as chairman of the board of directors since 1993. His many professional accomplishments include serving as a founding member, director, and officer of the Blacksburg Partnership, a non-profit public/private economic development organization created to bring together the university, the town and the business community to enhance the community’s quality of life. In addition, Smoot has served as a director of economic development groups in Blacksburg, Roanoke and the New River Valley region.
University research parks are magnets for regional and local economic growth and development. Their primary role is to promote the transfer of technology and business skills between the university and their business and industry tenants. The typical structure of a university research park is a property-based venture with the essential research and development facilities, and support services, necessary to nurture new high technology and science-based companies.
AURP promotes the development and operations of research parks that foster innovation, commercialization and economic competitiveness in the global economy by supporting collaboration among universities, industry and government. AURP member research facilities have served as business incubators for companies such as computer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard, and biotechnology companies Genentech and Amgen and the Internet service provider, EarthLink.
Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become among the largest universities 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 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 180 academic degree programs.