||At the end of another academic year, we find that Virginia Tech's reputation for excellence continues to soar. The university is truly a place that launches careers while instilling in students a sense of selfless service. It is that sense of obligation to serve that yields perhaps the greatest rewards in our day-to-day lives.
In early March, I had the privilege of joining a Virginia Tech service group during a spring break trip to construct a playground for a primary school in a village in the Dominican Republic. Nineteen of us represented Virginia Tech: six current students, five faculty members, and eight alumni, including two Peacework staff. The Peacework organization coordinated on-site logistics for our team, and our work days were from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
It was a deeply enriching experience (which you can read more about here), and we found that the spirited and appreciative smiles from the some 250 children of the Verón Primary School were our greatest reward at the end of a productive six-day work week. We had helped convert barren, hard ground with only a few shade trees into a playground with several large wooden structures equipped with swings, a balance beam, a sliding board, a web for climbing, and a pole for sliding. It is the first playground of its type in the Eastern region of the country.
Several leaders from the Punta Cana community turned out on our last day to join the school children in celebrating the new playground, and they enthusiastically invited us to return and tackle other needs in the Verón and Punta Cana areas. Without hesitation, we agreed to return in greater numbers next March.
This is just one example of the spirit of service that has been inspired or renewed within the hearts of Hokies everywhere. Each April, we are especially mindful of the unity among Hokies that has been channeled into positive endeavors that benefit so many communities across the country and around the world.
Thanks to all alumni who offer service within their communities, setting an example for the thousands of new students who join our Virginia Tech family each year.
Our alumni number more than 200,000 strong and have an impact that is felt and appreciated beyond the boundaries of our campus.
In the spirit of Ut Prosim,
Tom Tillar '69
Vice President for Alumni Relations