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Founders Day and University Awards

Initiated in 1972 during Virginia Tech’s centennial celebration, the first Founders Day event was held in Cassell Coliseum on March 24. Later the event was moved to the Donaldson Brown Conference Center auditorium and then to Burruss Hall auditorium. The occasion was used to recognize outstanding faculty and alumni and, later, outstanding staff and students. Initially, noted speakers provided a highlight to presentation of university awards, a practice that continues today as the Cutchins Distinguished Lecture. In 2000, presentation of university awards was moved to the fall and only the William H. Ruffner Medal and Alumni Distinguished Service Awards were presented during on Founders Day. Speakers were reintroduced to the event at that time. In 2005 the university began presenting the medal and service awards at spring Commencement, and faculty, staff, and student awards were presented at two separate banquets, one for faculty and staff and one for students. Alumni, staff, and distinguished achievement awards first presented on Founders Day are listed below. See under “Faculty” for faculty awards first presented on Founders Day.