Alumnus Samuel L. Lionberger Jr., of Roanoke, is the 2012 recipient of Virginia Tech’s William H. Ruffner Medal, the university’s highest honor.
The medal is awarded at commencement each year to recognize an individual whose service to the university has been notable and distinguished.
Lionberger’s long record of service to Virginia Tech and his community began while he was still enrolled. He was president of the Class of 1962 and was a member of various campus military organizations, as well as the Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership fraternity.
After earning his bachelor’s of building construction in 1962, Lionberger served in the United States Army Corps of Engineers, where he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal in 1964 for construction management work on the largest Corps of Engineers project in the world.
Later that year, he returned to Roanoke and joined his family’s commercial construction business, Lionberger Construction, as an estimator and project manager. He later became president of the company, and held the title of chief executive officer from 1975 until his retirement in 2010.
Lionberger currently runs Lionberger Consulting LLC, where he works as an owner’s representative on major construction projects, mediations, and arbitrations. He also serves as an expert witness for other litigations.
Lionberger’s many years of active participation in the university community includes serving on the Virginia Tech Foundation Board of Directors, the National Campaign Steering Committee of The Campaign for Virginia Tech: Invent the Future, the W. E. Skelton 4-H Educational Conference Center at Smith Mountain Lake Board of Trustees, the Virginia Tech Alumni Board, and the advisory boards of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and the School of Building Construction. Along with his wife, Lorinda, Lionberger is a member of the President’s Circle within the Ut Prosim Society, a select group of Virginia Tech’s most generous supporters.
He also has been active in his community, with service to the Roanoke Corps of the Salvation Army, the Military Family Support Center, and numerous other college and business boards. Lionberger has received numerous honors throughout his career and was inducted in 2008, along with his wife, into the Southwest Virginia Business Hall of Fame.
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.