The Alumni Association will honor Marni Byrum, Patricia Caldwell, and John Higginbotham with Alumni Distinguished Service Awards for 2009.
The annual awards recognize outstanding service to the university and the Virginia Tech Alumni Association.
Byrum, of Alexandria, earned her bachelor’s in political science from Virginia Tech in 1976. She is an attorney in private practice with emphasis on labor, employment, and personnel law, whose law degree is from the Pepperdine University. Byrum often lectures on labor and employment issues and was an adjunct faculty member at Washington College of Law at American University. She is a member of the Boyd Graves Conference and a master of the George Mason Inns of Court.
Byrum has remained involved at her alma mater by serving on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the President’s Advisory Committee, and the Economic Development Advisory Board. She chaired the Dean’s Roundtable for the former College of Arts and Sciences and serves on the College of Science Roundtable. Byrum is a member of the Northern Virginia Regional Campaign Committee and the Pylon Society.
She also has held leadership roles with the Virginia State Bar Association, the Arlington County Bar Association, Legal Services of Northern Virginia, the Virginia Women Attorneys Association, and that association’s foundation. An active participant in her community, Byrum serves on the board of Horizons Theatre and at Equality Virginia -- a nonpartisan advocacy group that seeks equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Virginians. She also is a former president of the Virginia 4-H Foundation.
Caldwell, of New York City, earned her bachelor’s in mathematics in 1971 and has more than 30 years experience as a financial analyst and investment banker. She is a fourth generation Hokie whose great grandfather, Daniel Franklin Hale, was a member of Virginia Tech’s first class.
Caldwell has maintained a strong commitment to Virginia Tech, serving as a long-time member of the former College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Roundtable and as past chair of the College of Science Roundtable. She has served on the Virginia Tech Foundation Board of Directors, the Department of Mathematics Advisory Board, and the Quiet Phase Campaign Steering Committee, and is now a member of the College of Science Campaign Steering Committee and the Women and Leadership in Philanthropy Council. In recognition of her exceptional service, Caldwell received the first ever Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Science.
Caldwell, who holds an MBA from the State University of New York at Albany, cofounded Gordian Group LLC in 1988. Her financial advisory services firm specializes in complex and distressed situations and assists clients nationwide, in numerous industries. Caldwell previously worked 13 years for Citibank, where she founded its corporate finance and analysis department. She spent two years as a financial analyst with AT&T Bell Labs before joining Citibank.
Higginbotham, of Great Falls, attended Virginia Tech as a recipient of the Alumni Presidential Scholarship and graduated in 1977 with honors in civil and environmental engineering. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and is chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors at Integral Systems Inc., a provider of satellite ground systems located in Lanham, M.D.
Higginbotham has served Virginia Tech as president of the Alumni Association and as a member of the Engineering Committee of 100. He is a member of the Ut Prosim Society and has served on the Alumni Center National Leadership Campaign Committee. Higginbotham has been a strong advocate for both university and higher education in general through the Hokies for Higher Education network.
He currently serves on the board of directors of ProtoStar Ltd., and is the former chairman and a director emeritus of the Space Foundation. Higginbotham also is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the American Institute of Aeronautics Astronautics. He received the 2007 National Space Society Space Finance Award.
As a student, Higginbotham helped found Student Alumni Associates, the student arm of the Alumni Association, and served as its first president during his senior year.