Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources Dean Mike Kelly recently presented William O. Ross, of Culpeper, Va., with the Friend of the College Award at the College of Natural Resource's 42nd Annual Honors Banquet.
“William Ross exemplifies friend of the college in the fullest sense,” said Kelly. “The college is most grateful for his generous contributions that have advanced not only our college programs, but the entire university.”
After graduating from the University of Tennessee with a degree in geology, William Ross was employed by the U.S. Geological Survey, where he was on the research staff for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Before fully retiring, Ross was an inspector and consultant for Virginia Department of Transportation.
Ross became interested in the College of Natural Resources through the landowner tours and seminars sponsored by the Virginia Tech forestry Extension staff. Through managing his property in Culpeper County, Ross became acquainted with college faculty and staff. After meeting Virginia Tech’s Extension team, Ross became increasingly involved in supporting the college.
Ross generously provides a scholarship endowment that supports two to four undergraduate students each year. The scholarship is awarded to students with an interest in contributing to the field of natural resources. On top of the donation, he has named the college as co-beneficiary of an annuity to facilitate the advancement of the college’s programs. Along with the scholarship and annuity, William Ross is currently in the process of donating land to the College of Natural Resources to support a graduate fellowship for students interested in extension forestry.
The College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech consistently ranks among the top five programs of its kind in the nation. Faculty members stress both the technical and human elements of natural resources and instill in students a sense of stewardship and land-use ethics. Areas of studies include environmental resource management, fisheries and wildlife sciences, forestry, geospatial and environmental analysis, natural resource recreation, urban forestry, wood science and forest products, geography, and international development.