Virginia Tech®home

University Distinguished Achievement Award

Presented annually, the University Distinguished Achievement Award is given to an individual with nationally distinguished achievement, whether personal and/or professional, in any field or endeavor of enduring significance and value to society.

Year Recipient
2022 Regina Dugan ’84 and Hoda Kotb ’86
2021 Charles Pryor ’66, ’68, ’70
2019 Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm Inc.
2018 Lynne Doughtie, chairman and CEO of KPMG LLP since 2015.
2017 Letitia A. Long, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency from August 2010 until October 2014
2016 Joseph M. DeSimone, chief executive officer and co-founder of Carbon
2015 William Lewis Jr., Virginia Tech’s first Rhodes Scholar and a retired partner of McKinsey & Company
2014 Robert Lewis Turner, an architect for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and in his own practice
2013 Tracy D. Wilkins, an emeritus member of Virginia Tech’s faculty, former university leader, and co-founder of the TechLab company
2012 Joseph R. Loring, started his own engineering firm, Joseph R. Loring & Associates Inc., now known as LORING
2011 Betty P. Chao, founder, president, and chief executive officer of Westech International Inc.
2010 Lance Smith, retired U.S. Air Force general, served as commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command, and as NATO’s supreme allied commander for transformation
2009 Henry A. Long Sr., co-founder, Long and Foster; founder, Scott-Long Construction; founder Henry A. Long Company
2008 Gene James, retired president and CEO, Southern States Cooperative
2007 Homer H. Hickam, author of best-selling fiction and non-fiction novels; retired engineer, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
2006 Dr. Evaleen Jones, family practitioner; assistant professor, Stanford University’s School of Medicine; founder, Child Family Health International
2005 William H. Goodwin Jr., chairman of the board, CCA Industries Inc.; founder, Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research
2004 Maj. Gen. Archie S. Cannon Jr., retired deputy chief of staff, personnel, U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army
2003 James Gills, founder and director, St. Luke’s Cataract and Laser Institute
2002 William E. Jamerson, president, J. E. Jamerson & Sons Inc.
2001 Charles M. Forbes, fundraiser, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; former vice president for Development and University Relations at Virginia Tech
2000 George C. “Jack” Guynn, president and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
1999 John H. Chichester, member, Senate of Virginia
1998 Roger K. Crouch, visiting scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; astronaut; March 1997 flight, United States Space Shuttle Columbia
1997 William H. Daughtrey Jr., founder, president, and CEO, Princeton Associates
1996 Sidney C. Smith Jr., former chief of cardiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; president, American Heart Association
1995 Olivio Ferrari, (posthumously) Alumni Distinguished Professor, College of Architecture and Urban Studies; founder, CAUS study abroad program
Richard B. Tallbot (posthumously) founding dean, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine; director, Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation, U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
1994 James E. Turner Jr., president, General Dynamics Electric Boat Division
1993 Owen B. Pickett, member, U.S. House of Representatives
1992 Mary Virginia Jones, director of design engineering, Atlantic Research Corp.
1991 Robert B. Delano, retired president, American Farm Bureau Federation
John Grado Jr., owner, chairman, and CEO, Technographics, Inc.
1990 Gen. Thomas C. Richards, former deputy commander in chief, U.S. European Command; member of a presidential commission to President George Bush
1989 Alexander F. Giacco, former rector, board of visitors; former chief executive officer, Hercules, Inc.; chief executive officer, Himont, Inc. and Montedison, S.P.A.
1988 No award recommended
1987 Thomas L. Phillips, chairman and CEO, Raytheon Company (designated in 1986)
1986 J. Kenneth Robinson, businessman, former 7th District Congressman
1985 Charles H. Burchard, dean emeritus, College of Architecture and Urban Studies
1984 Clifford A. Cutchins III, chairman and CEO, Sovran Bank and Sovran Finanial Corp.
1983 Clifton C. Garvin Jr., chairman and CEO, Exxon Corp.