BLACKSBURG, Va., Jan. 7, 2011 – Rick Johnson has served Virginia Tech for 17 years as director of Housing and Dining Services, providing leadership to a program that serves more than 18,000 dining plan holders and 9,000 campus residents. On Jan. 31, Johnson will take on a new role as assistant vice president of housing and dining for Duke University in Durham, N.C., where he will lead the residence life, housing, and dining divisions.
Vice President for Student Affairs Edward Spencer hired Johnson in 1993 and has worked closely with him over the years. “Rick is a tremendous leader and visionary,” Spencer said. “He has made our students his priority, ensuring top-quality services for them. Rather than being content with the industry standard, he consistently takes an innovative approach, pushing the envelope and creating excellence. We will all be sad to see him leave, but are grateful for the lasting impact he has made on our campus.”
Johnson has been directly involved in the evolution and growth of the 11 dining operations on campus, including planning for the new dining center currently under construction on the academic side of campus behind McBryde Hall. Under his leadership, the dining program has won numerous national awards and has consistently ranked among the top dining programs in the nation. Dining Services was ranked No. 1 for best campus food by “The Princeton Review” in both 2008 and 2010. In addition, Dining Services won the prestigious Ivy Award in 2009.
When asked about his move, Johnson said, “I have been very fortunate to work with a dedicated and talented housing and dining staff who I will miss. I have truly enjoyed working with and serving Virginia Tech students who I believe are among the best in the nation. I look forward to this new and exciting opportunity at Duke University.”
Johnson has also overseen the operation of 46 residential facilities on campus and the construction and renovation of numerous residence halls, including the recently constructed New Hall West and the completely renovated Ambler Johnston Hall, which will re-open in phases beginning in Fall 2011 and house Virginia Tech’s first residential colleges.
Even after Johnson assumes his new position at Duke in Durham, N.C., Johnson’s wife, Mildred, director of undergraduate admissions at Virginia Tech, will remain in her current position. “I have a great job and we have a daughter who wants to continue at Blacksburg High School until she graduates,” she said.
Johnson received his bachelor of arts in history from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., and his MBA. in management from Averett University in Danville, Va. He holds a certificate in culinary concepts from the Culinary Institute of America.
Following Johnson’s departure in January, interim leadership will be provided by Senior Associate Director for Dining Services Robert Coffey and Senior Associate Director for Housing Services Ken Belcher.
The Division of Student Affairs at Virginia Tech encompasses departments dedicated to providing a rich co-curricular experience and essential student services. Virtually every aspect of a student's life outside the classroom is represented through the division's departments.