President Sands delivers 1st State of the University Address

By Rob Manch - Reporter

BLACKSBURG (WSLS 10) - Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands gave his first State of the University Address Friday.

He spoke to students, their families, and faculty about how the administration plans to grow the University significantly in the next five years, all while working to make an education there more affordable.

"The university will join forces with external partners and donors to invest 75 million dollars to build teaching and research capacities," said President Sands in his speech Friday.

Sands made it clear to his audience, Virginia Tech is a university that wants to expand what it offers students.

"We've got to develop our profile so that it's obvious that we can partner with the leading institutions out there," said Sands.

Sands says a part of that growing "profile" is going to be a partnership with the state to invest more than 60 million dollars in intelligent infrastructure and automation.

Engineering student Jaisohn Kim says he's excited for the new development.

"I work in the vehicle dynamics laboratory now. We're focused on autonomous vehicles. So when he was talking about the VTTI and Project Wing and all that automation type of stuff, that got me really interested and really fired up," said Kim.

But even as the University invests millions in growth, Sands says at the same time, Virginia Tech is working to make it more affordable than ever to become a Hokie.

"We're going to be looking for partnerships that allow our students to reduce the cost of education, reduce their cost, and also create a smooth entry point to the first step in their career," said Sands.

Multimedia Journalism student Billy Parvatam says he can already see those partnerships in action.

"I've been able to get involved in a couple of broadcast organizations. I interned with IMG. I'm also involved in Virginia Tech television, which is the student television station here. So I think Virginia Tech has done a great job providing me with opportunities in terms of getting reps in fields I want to go into after college," said Parvatam.

For the many students listening Friday, Sands' speech seemed to impart a sense of pride and hope for things to come.

"It made me understand fully that I'm a Hokie, this is a decision I made, and I'm proud to be one," said Kim.

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