The University of Virginia's College at Wise. Courtesy of UVa Wise.

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New scholarship created at UVA Wise

Three alumni of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise (UVA Wise) have turned their memories of living on campus into a first-of-its kind scholarship aimed to help students offset on-campus residential costs.

The Crockett Hall Unity Scholarship Fund was established by Marion “Moe” W. Smith ’73, John L. Sabo ’74 and Stephen D. Curran ’75. The trio attended the College when it was Clinch Valley College and lived in Crockett Hall, then a men’s dormitory that turned co-ed before becoming an administrative building.

Crockett Hall was the College’s first building when it was founded in 1954. Currently, it houses the offices of Admissions, Financial Aid, Cashier, Registrar and Advising. Its significance to the College remains today. Highland Cavaliers gathered for the annual “Lighting of Crockett Hall” Tuesday night to celebrate the holiday season.

Each of the three alumni initially donated $10,000 to start the fund, whose goal is to raise $100,000.

It will help students pay for living-on-campus costs, including room and board fees. Curran said he hopes the fund will help students have that same kind of transformational on-campus experience they did.

Once fully realized, the fund will provide scholarships for students based on both academic merit and financial need. The scholarships will give preference to students who demonstrate leadership abilities and dedication to building a strong community. Students involved in clubs, organizations, sports, student government or community service will be sought out.

Smith, a retired educator who began his career in Wise County, eventually worked for many years in Richmond, where he was honored as Teacher of the Year in 2000.

Also a retired math teacher, Curran is perhaps best known as the voice of UVA Wise as the on air (radio and streaming) announcer for the College’s football, softball and basketball games. 

Sabo has taught French, English and physics, and serves as educator and coach. He is the winningest coach in Single A softball in the state with more than 600 wins. 

To make gifts to UVA Wise, checks should be made payable to the UVA Wise Foundation and sent to UVA Wise Foundation, 1 College Avenue, Wise, VA 24293 or gifts can be made online at: In the “In Honor Of” section, note that your gift is for the Crockett Hall Unity Scholarship.

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Alan Abrahams. Courtesy of Virgnia Tech.
Alan Abrahams. Courtesy of Virgnia Tech.

New certificate program at Virginia Tech offers professional development for product safety experts

 A new partnership between Virginia Tech and the Society of Product Safety Professionals will allow those working in product safety to receive certification and will establish a new assistantship to support doctoral students whose research contributes to the field. 

Alan Abrahams, associate professor of business information technology in the Pamplin College of Business, said product safety entails protecting consumers from unreasonable risk of product-related injuries. The certification program is aimed at compliance officers, reliability engineers, consumer affairs specialists, and others employed by companies that develop, manufacture, and market consumer products or are responsible for importing those products into the U.S.

A portion of the course revenue will be directed toward development of next-generation product safety professionals through the Virginia Tech Executive Ph.D. Assistantship Fund. Abrahams will serve as the administrator of this fund, which will help support product safety professionals or students who wish to pursue a terminal degree option focused on product safety.

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Tim Duncan.
Tim Durham. Courtesy of Ferrum College.

Ferrum College professor will take part in academic exchange with Israel

Tim Durham, Ferrum College associate professor of Crop Science, was recently selected to participate in the Jewish National Fund-USA Faculty Fellowship Program, a two-week academic exchange program exploring Israeli history, politics, culture, and economy, that will take place in Israel December 26, 2022–January 8, 2023.

During the program, Durham and other U.S. academics will be exposed to contemporary Israeli society, culture, historical sites, and way of life, as they travel throughout Israel. They will meet with Israeli professors from their respective disciplines with the same, or similar, research interests – all with the goal of developing collaborations, research projects, co-authoring articles, and establishing exchange programs between faculty and students.

“As an agriculturist, I’m especially interested in their innovative ag systems – a modern day desert oasis,” Durham said in a statement. “It’s a model to emulate, especially in a resource strained world. I look forward to meeting with my peers to build research networks and glean examples that bridge theory and practice for Ferrum students,” continued Durham, who will incorporate the perspectives gained through the fellowship program into his classroom.

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