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The Ut Prosim Medal

The Ut Prosim Medal is designated for recognition of those who embody the values and principles of Ut Prosim at the highest levels of service, sacrifice, generosity, and esteemed accomplishment that reflect honor on both the individual and the university. It replaces the William H. Ruffner Medal, which was sunset in 2022, the university’s sesquicentennial year.

Although the criteria were drawn purposely broad to provide the board with freedom in considering “notable and distinguished” service of a proposed recipient, examples of such service would include the following:

  • Outstanding achievement in efforts devoted to the promotion, improvement, and development of the university’s mission as a land-grant university.
  • Significant service on one or more of the official, informal, university-related, or otherwise designated advisory, counseling, volunteer, or other action groups serving the university.
  • Extraordinary interest in and support—including material support—of the well-being of the university and its students, faculty, and staff in efforts to provide educational opportunities and research and public service programs on behalf of the citizens of the commonwealth and the nation.

No individual affiliated with Virginia Tech as a student, faculty, or staff member, administrator, or trustee, or anyone in a similar capacity would be eligible for the Ut Prosim Medal; individuals affiliated with the university in any of these capacities would remain ineligible for at least 12 months after ending such affiliation. Exceptions may be granted in extraordinary situations. The Ut Prosim Medal is not restricted to alumni, although an appropriate relationship with the university is desirable.


Nicholas D. Street ’53, is a proud native of Southwest Virginia. He was born in 1931 to W.A. and Frankie Mae Street. His childhood was spent in Grundy, Virginia, with his close-knit family which included seven siblings.

Street graduated from Grundy High School in 1949 before enrolling at what was then Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He was a member of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets and graduated in 1953 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Street proudly served his country during his four years of active service in the U. S. Air Force and additional years in the Air Force Reserve. His love of flying was firmly established, and he continued to fly for many years in both personal and corporate roles.

A graduate of the University of Richmond Law School as well, Street returned to Grundy in the early 1960s, where he established a law firm with two of his brothers. He also became involved in the coal industry and was a founding partner in United Coal Company. He had rewarding and successful careers in the law and energy fields, eventually retiring in 2009.

Street has been a longtime advocate for his beloved hometown and Southwest Virginia in general. Through his quiet personal giving and that of the United Company Foundation, Street has championed the causes of education, the arts, medical care and, of course, Virginia Tech, to the benefit of many over the years.