Va. Tech extends president’s contract through 2027
Tim Sands has served since 2014
Metallica won’t be playing “Exit Sandman” anytime soon — Virginia Tech President Tim Sands will stay on as the university’s president though the 2027 academic year.
The university’s board of visitors voted unanimously to extend Sands’ contract during a quarterly meeting Tuesday, according to a news release.
Sands is Tech’s 16th president and has served in the role since 2014. Under his leadership, the university has begun construction on its $1 billion Innovation Campus in Alexandria, which in June announced a partnership with The Boeing Co. for a veterans center, following a $50 million pledge in May 2021 from the Fortune 500 defense contractor to foster diversity at the campus. The university has also seen a diversification of its student body: underrepresented minorities and Pell Grant-eligible, first-generation and veteran students now make up 40% of incoming classes.
“My commitment to Virginia Tech remains steadfast and I am deeply honored to continue to serve Virginia Tech and the commonwealth,” Sands said in a statement. “During my tenure here, our students and faculty have repeatedly demonstrated their commitment to improving the human condition. Their commitment has led to an increased demand for a Virginia Tech education and unprecedented support and engagement from our alumni and friends. This work is not complete, and I appreciate the opportunity afforded to me by the board to further engage our faculty, students, staff, alumni, partners and friends to build on our momentum as we advance the mission of Virginia Tech.”
Sands came to Virginia Tech from Purdue University, where he served as acting president, executive vice president and provost. Boeing’s record gift tied with the largest private donation the university has received; $50 million in 2019 from the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust and Heywood and Cynthia Fralin for the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC. In November, Falls Church-based Fortune 500 contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. committed $12.5 million to support research in and teaching in quantum information science and engineering at the innovation campus.
Sands earned engineering and physics degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and chairs the Virginia Space Grant Consortium. He ranked No. 76 in a 2020 survey of the top-paid university presidents, earning $654,651 in 2019, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
“Tim Sands continues to be the thoughtful, strategic and visionary leader this university and the commonwealth needs,” Board of Visitors Rector Letitia “Tish” Long, a 1982 university graduate, said in a statement. “With a remarkable record of consensus building, partnerships, and success, Tim has proven his ability to align the university’s land-grant mission and our institutional commitment of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) with emerging opportunities found in today’s rapidly changing world.”
The university needs to “continue to build on our progress, and Tim’s experience of meeting challenges, combined with his ability to build strong relationships and his understanding of our students’ needs and pressures, is needed now more than ever,” Long added. “We are committed to providing an affordable, accessible education for Virginians, and we are confident Tim will guide us to that goal.”
The board’s three-day meeting in Newport News was the first for new board members, including David Calhoun, a 1979 Tech graduate and CEO of The Boeing Corp., which announced its headquarters move to Arlington in May; Sandy Cupp Davis, of Blacksburg, who retired as the owner of BCR Real Estate and Property Management; and Charles “Brad” Hobbs, of Virginia Beach. A 1990 graduate, Hobbs is president and CEO of Hobbs & Associates, an HVAC contracting firm. Each will serve a four-year term.