Virginia Tech's partnership with the Virginia Tobacco Commission, community and business leaders in Southside, Virginia, and the subsequent establishment of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) in Danville, Va., that came as a result of that partnership, was recently honored with the 2007 C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Award presented by the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC).
The Virginia Tech – Southside partnership was among 27 nominees for the award from which the five finalists were chosen. This is the most prestigious award given for community engagement in the nation.
University Provost Mark McNamee accepted the award on behalf of Virginia Tech.
“Virginia Tech’s partnership with the Southside community and local institutions of higher learning has re-energized the economy by tailoring university research to local needs,” said John Dooley, Virginia Tech’s vice provost for outreach and international affairs.
“Virginia Tech’s work in Southside Virginia should serve as a model of engagement and outreach for public institutions,” said Nancy Zimpher, chair of the NASULGC Board of Directors and president of the University of Cincinnati. “Public universities, like Virginia Tech and the other four nominees, exemplify the spirit and vision of university engagement championed by Peter Magrath and we salute their fine work.”
Established in 2006, the Magrath Award recognizes the outreach and engagement partnerships of four-year public universities. The award program seeks to identify colleges and universities that have redesigned their teaching, research, extension and service functions to become even more sympathetically and productively involved with their communities. The award is named for C. Peter Magrath, who served as president of NASULGC from 1992-2005.
Made possible by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Magrath Award includes $20,000 and a trophy.
Increased global competition has brought significant changes in the Virginia economy, especially in the tobacco and textile industries of the state’s Southside region. Virginia Tech embraced a broad-scale engagement partnership with the Southside region to help this economically distressed area reinvent itself.
Located in Danville, Va., some 120 miles from the Virginia Tech campus, the role of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research is as a catalyst for economic and community transformation. The mission will be accomplished through strategic research, advanced learning programs, advanced networking and technology, commercial opportunity development, and community outreach. The centerpiece of this mission is research and education, focused around four strategic research centers, ranging from motor sports engineering to unmanned systems and robotics. From these centers will grow academic programs in both the undergraduate and graduate arenas through the IALR’s academic partners Averett University and Danville Community College.
Founded in 1887, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC, A Public University Association), is an association of public research universities, land-grant institutions, and many state public university systems. Its 216 members enroll more than 3.6 million students, award approximately a half-million degrees annually, and have an estimated 20 million alumni. As the nation’s oldest higher education association, NASULGC is dedicated to excellence in learning, discovery and engagement.