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Dean Ross posing in front of Hokie stone.
Julie Ross, the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Dean of Engineering. Photo by Peter Means.

Fostering a transformative community

As 2023 comes to a close, we look back on yet another year of milestones and achievements at the College of Engineering.

This fall, we welcomed our largest first-year class in history, recruited more than 3,000 graduate students, and onboarded 32 new tenured, tenure-track, instructional, and research faculty  with a broad range of expertise. We’ve positioned ourselves as leaders in research ranging from cybersecurity to advanced manufacturing, to artificial intelligence and health. Thanks to our world-class faculty and talented students, we are working to develop solutions to pressing societal challenges like sustainable semiconductor production, clean water and sanitation, infrastructure innovation, responsible energy consumption, and so much more.

In the spirit of creating opportunity, President Tim Sands and the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors have identified removing financial barriers and expanding resources for students as leading priorities for the future of the university. As part of the recently announced Virginia Tech Advantage initiative, the college is working tirelessly to provide equal opportunities for all our students regardless of background or financial background. Over the next 10 years as part of the campaign, the college  will focus its efforts on establishing support for students who demonstrate financial need while using existing resources to support our entire student population.

Our engineering Hokies are ready to tackle the industry’s toughest challenges. They are equipped for a world where technology is changing faster than ever. They are positioned to be workforce leaders, disruptors in their fields, and lifelong learners who lend a hand whenever necessary to get the job done. Since 1872, Virginia Tech Engineering has been leading the way in educating our future generations of engineers – and we’re just getting started.

As we prepare for the opening of the Innovation Campus in 2024, we are especially grateful for the partnerships and support that have allowed us to create unique opportunities for our students. With project-based learning opportunities from companies like Boeing, and research support from Northrop Grumman and Amazon, our Master of Engineering cohorts are developing the skills needed to thrive in computer engineering and computer science roles in industry upon graduation. As Virginia Tech’s presence continues to grow in the Washington, D.C., metro area, I am excited to see how our faculty, students, and cutting-edge research create a footprint that extends far beyond what we ever imagined.

In this fall issue of the Virginia Tech Engineer, we explore the benefits and potential challenges associated with artificial intelligence with anecdotes from some of our expert faculty in the field. Other stories in this issue highlight an accomplished tech industry alumnus, one of our hardworking student design teams, and a Corps of Cadets alumna whose story of perseverance demonstrates Virginia Tech’s Ut Prosim motto. Finally, we bid farewell to Randolph Hall and recount some of your fondest memories in the building that’s been a staple for the college since 1952.

As we lead Virginia Tech toward becoming a Top 100 Global research institution, we’re saying yes to new ideas, innovative processes, and goals that seem far beyond reach. With your support, we can accomplish all these things and more. Let’s walk side by side into a new year as one Virginia Tech.

Julie Signature

Julie M. Ross
Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Dean of Engineering

If you want to have an impact on our students and faculty like those featured in this magazine, go here to support the College of Engineering. For more information, call (540) 231-3628.