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The Ut Prosim Scholar Award

The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors established the “Ut Prosim Scholar Award” by resolution on March 21, 2016, to recognize singular instances of the application of scholarship in truly extraordinary service to humanity. The award is based on the motto Ut Prosim adopted by the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute in 1896. The motto translates from Latin to mean “That I May Serve” or “That I May Do Good” and, per the resolution, “is a core value that has endured more than a century, transcending the transformation from an all-male, military agricultural and mechanical college into the comprehensive, inclusive research university that Virginia Tech is today.” Because this profound commitment to service is indelibly embedded into the culture of Virginia Tech, the university establishes this award to recognize truly extraordinary service to humanity. The Board authorizes the President to develop the procedures for selection of future award recipients and grants the President the discretion to determine the form and value of any future awards with ratification by the Board.


Renowned author, activist, and University Distinguished Professor Emerita Nikki Giovanni has proven through her words and her life that there is a lot more to poetry than pretty words on a page, that great poetry is an inspiration, a call to action and a balm during the most difficult of times. Giovanni retired from the university in 2022 after 35 years as a professor in the Department of English. Throughout her life, she has proven herself a fierce advocate of inclusion and equality, uplifted the Black experience in America, advocated for other Black writers, and used her creative talents to help the university in times of tragedy.


Carla Finkielstein, director of the Molecular Diagnostics Lab at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, for her work to improve COVID-19 testing efficiency and effectiveness in support of both Virginia Tech and local health districts.

Linsey Marr, Charles P. Lunsford Professor, for her research and efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and effectively educate the public on safety protocols during the pandemic.


Marc Edwards, Charles P. Lunsford Professor and University Distinguished Professor, and his team, for applying science in the public interest to assist the community of Flint, Michigan, during the city’s water crisis.

Mona Hanna-Attisha, founder and director of the Michigan State University-Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, and her team, for applying science in the public interest to assist the community of Flint, Michigan, during the city’s water crisis.