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Cadet Jesse Johnson named 2009 winner of A. Alan Baird Memorial Award


BLACKSBURG, Va., April 3, 2009 – Jesse Johnson of Poquoson, Va., a senior majoring in history in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and member of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, has been selected to receive the university’s 17th annual A. Alan Baird Award.

This year’s award recipient, Johnson, demonstrated outstanding leadership and a dedication to the betterment of the local community with his involvement as a cadet company commander. Johnson was a resident advisor for Rasche Hall last fall, during which he was in charge of 55 cadets and implemented several initiatives that increased the socialization, cohesion, and morale of his cadets. This semester, Johnson is head resident advisor and battalion commander responsible for 200 cadets. According to Johnson, he continues to look for ways to improve not only his residence hall community, but also the surrounding community, including organizing a service project with Habitat for Humanity.

“Mr. Johnson exhibits daily a high degree of compassion, involvement, and mentorship to those cadets under his control,” said retired Lt. Col. Charles T. Payne, deputy commandant of cadets. “He truly manifests the university motto Ut Prosim – in all that he does.”

Leon McClinton, director of Residence Life presented Johnson with a commemorative plaque in recognition of his achievement during the 17th Annual University Student Leadership Awards on Tuesday, March 31. In addition, he will receive a cash prize and his name will be inscribed on the Baird Award recipient plaque displayed in 109 East Eggleston Hall.

The award was created in memory of A. Alan Baird, who was an active member of the campus community during his time at Virginia Tech.

“Alan was an exceptional student leader with high energy, enthusiasm, gifted leadership skills, charisma, and a very caring attitude about his fellow students,” said Edward Spencer, vice president for the Division of Student Affairs (http://www.dsa.vt.edu/). The award is presented annually to the student who has made the most outstanding contribution to the residence hall program during, or culminating in, the current academic year.

Other nominees this year included:

  • Katie Bookbinder of Virginia Beach, Va., a senior mathematics major in the College of Science;
  • Alessandra Brown of Virginia Beach, Va., a sophomore psychology major in the College of Science;
  • Alyssa Cultice of Burke, Va., a junior environmental science major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences;
  • Kate Harvey of Lenoir City, Tenn., a junior biological systems engineering major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Engineering;
  • Mary Jackson of Richmond, Va., a junior electrical engineering major in the College of Engineering;
  • Carrie Johnson of Pasadena, Md., a senior biochemistry major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences;
  • Michael Kozar of McLean, Va., a junior biochemistry major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences;
  • Sara Lichtenstein of Marmora, N.J., a junior psychology major in the College of Science; and
  • Renee LoSapio from Warren, N.J., a freshman business and economics major in the Pamplin College of Business;
  • Shane McCarty of Arlington, Va., a sophomore marketing management major in the Pamplin College of Business.
  • Kathryn Saltz of Newark, Del., a senior political science major in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences;
  • Hunter Simmons of Fincastle, Va., a master’s student studying curriculum and instruction in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences;
  • Julianna Willis of Nokesville, Va., a freshman communication major in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences;
  • John Yamine of Roanoke, Va., a sophomore biochemistry major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences;


Written by Melanie Harris.