The DeMoss Learning Center at Liberty University. Courtesy of EOverbey.

Here’s a roundup of education briefs from around Southwest and Southside:

More than 500 Liberty students set to attend march

Liberty University will send more than 500 students to the National March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Jan. 20, and for the first time ever, Liberty students will lead the march while holding the March for Life banner. This will be the first March for Life in a post-Roe America.

The trip is being organized through Liberty’s Standing for Freedom Center and the LU Send office. 

This year, march organizers asked Liberty to select a student speaker for the rally. Junior music student Summer Smith, president of the Students for Life club at Liberty, will take the stage among other speakers, including the Rev. Franklin Graham and Tony and Lauren Dungy. 

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Internationally recognized scientist and writer C. Brandon Ogbunu to speak at Martin Luther King Jr. Seminar at Virginia Tech

Self-described radical collaborator C. Brandon Ogbunu, associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University, will deliver a talk at the 12th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Seminar on Jan. 20. 

Ogbunu’s talk, “Living, Learning, and Adaptive Landscapes: How Evolutionary Biology Can Help us Navigate it All,” will be held at noon in Steger Hall Auditorium, 1015 Life Science Circle, on Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus. The talk is free and open to the public.

The annual seminar is sponsored by Virginia Tech’s Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Science, which invites internationally renowned scientists who can present their work to the broader scientific community at Virginia Tech as well as express the importance of diversity and the work of King in their own research and experience.

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Tillar given emeritus status at Virginia Tech

Tom Tillar, who stepped down as vice president for alumni affairs in 2016 after 20 years in that role at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of vice president emeritus by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The emeritus title may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands in recognition of exemplary service to the university. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive a copy of the resolution and a certificate of appreciation.

A member of the Virginia Tech community for more than 46 years, Tillar served Virginia Tech in many roles, including in Student Affairs and as director of alumni relations, vice president for alumni relations, interim senior vice president for advancement, and most recently, special assistant to the dean of the Pamplin College of Business from 2016-22.

Tillar led university efforts to plan, design, and raise funds for the Holtzman Alumni Center that opened in 2005 as part of the new alumni and conference center complex encompassing The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center. In recognition of his efforts, the Alumni Center Grand Hall was renamed Tillar Grand Hall in October 2021.

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Patrick & Henry names presidential scholars

Patrick & Henry Community College has nnounced the 2023 Presidential Scholars Fellowship class. This unique, one semester program was created by Dr. Greg Hodges, P&HCC President, to provide leadership opportunities to P&HCC students and allow participants to engage in community projects and social entrepreneurial activities.

The fellowship consists of a 1-credit course (SDV 109 – Student Leadership Development), taught by the president, as well as several leadership development opportunities including potential trips to Richmond and Washington, DC. Students in the fellowship will have the opportunity to meet and interact with local, state, and federal leaders to further develop their leadership skills.

Accepted members must be enrolled full-time (12 or more credit hours) during the spring semester of the class and must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.

Participation in the fellowship is free to all accepted members. All tuition, textbooks, and fees are covered by a scholarship established by Dr. Hodges and his wife, Renee. “We are so excited to bring this opportunity to these deserving student-leaders. Renee and I are happy to be able to provide this experience to this outstanding group, and we look forward to seeing their growth now and in the years to come,” said Hodges.

The P&HCC Foundation will cover the travel expenses for members of the fellowship, and all members of the fellowship will be recognized at graduation with a medallion and will have their names included in the list of honors.

Congratulations to the members of the P&HCC Presidential Scholars Fellowship class of 2023:

  • David Craig (Bassett)
  • Grace Gongora (Martinsville)
  • Maeve McCulloch (Ridgeway)
  • Kinya Moore (Martinsville)
  • Caleb Murphy (Spencer)
  • Emma Nester (Martinsville)
  • Claudia Phillips (Martinsville)
  • Zachary Souther (Ridgeway)
  • JaLena Spikes (Martinsville)