The G.E.R.M.A.N. Club, Virginia Tech’s oldest non-Greek fraternal organization, has bestowed honorary membership upon Vice President for Student Affairs Edward Spencer in recognition of his years of service to the university and its students.
Club member John Waters III of Chapin, S.C., a senior majoring in industrial and systems engineering in the College of Engineering, said regular membership can be difficult to come by, and honorary memberships are handed out even less frequently.
However, the acronym G.E.R.M.A.N. is comprised of several traits — gentlemen, earnestness, reputation and responsibility, manhood, aim, and name — and Waters said that Spencer is deserving of honorary membership because he exemplifies all of them.
“He’s been called the students’ vice president, and our members feel that way as well,” said Waters. “We felt he really portrays how we feel about our values. We really identify with Dr. Spencer and the kind of man he is.”
The honorary membership comes at a time when students may be giving more thought to the role of vice president for student affairs — last year Spencer announced his retirement, effective June 30, after nearly 30 years at Virginia Tech.
Spencer arrived at Virginia Tech in January of 1983, when he was named director of housing and residence life. Following that, he continued his work in student affairs as director of residential and dining programs, assistant vice president for student affairs, associate vice president for student affairs, and finally vice president for student affairs.
As vice president, he provides leadership and oversight to the 15 departments in the Division of Student Affairs, which encompasses the Campus Alcohol Abuse Prevention Center, Career Services, Cook Counseling Center, Corps of Cadets, Cranwell International Center, Dean of Students office, Dining Services, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Housing and Residence Life, Multicultural Programs and Services, Recreational Sports, Schiffert Health Center, Services for Students with Disabilities, Student Centers and Activities, and Student Conduct.
Some of Spencer’s significant accomplishments at Virginia Tech include
- Overseeing the addition of all four phases of the Oak Lane Greek housing community;
- Introducing living-learning communities and co-ed halls to the residential program;
- Kicking off of a major multiyear renovation program for the aging halls on campus;
- Creating an independent Fraternity and Sorority Life office, which had previously been part of Student Activities;
- Separating Student Conduct from the Dean of Students office in order to delineate discipline from advocacy;
- Improving the resident advisor experience with benefits such as single rooms;
- Adding live-in professional staff to the residence halls;
- Creating of the “VP Is In” program in cooperation with the Student Government Association, which invites students to come meet with Spencer to ask one-on-one questions, voice their concerns, and make suggestions;
- Establishing and opening Virginia Tech’s first residential college; and
- Serving on the Care Team and the first Threat Assessment Team.
Written by Jennifer Gibson.