Photograph of William E. Lavery

Dublin Core


Born Nov. 20, 1930, in Geneseo, New York. Received associate degree, State University of New York-Morrisville, 1950; bachelor's degree from Michigan State University, 1953; master's in public administration, George Washington University, 1959; doctorate inextension administration, University of Wisconsin, 1962; honorary doctorate, Xavier University (Philippines), 1985. Married Peggy Johnson of Pawnee City, Nebraska, on April 7, 1956; had four children. Taught and coached at Clarence Central High School in Clarence, New York, 1953-54. Served in U.S. Army, 1954-56. Joined federal Extension Service's Division of Management Operations in 1956; assistant to the administrator, 1964-66. Joined Virginia Tech staff in 1966 as director of administration for the Extension Division. Served as vice president for finance, 1968-73; executive vice president, 1973-75. Named president in fall 1974; assumed office Jan. 1, 1975; inaugurated Oct. 16, 1975. Received Brotherhood Award from National Conference of Christians and Jews, 1979. Appointed by Governor of Virginia to Commission on Virginia's Transportation in the 21st Century, 1986. Appointed by President Reagan as chair of Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, 1986. Appointed by U.S. Secretary of the Treasury to National Savings Bond Committee, where he chaired the Higher Education Industry Campaign, 1987. Resigned as president of Virginia Tech Oct. 16, 1987, effective Dec. 31, 1987. Appointed honorary chancellor and named Preston Professor of International Affairs, effective Jan. 1, 1988. Appointed president emeritus upon retirement, Aug. 1, 1991. Preston Professorship renamed William E. Lavery Professor of International Affairs, Aug. 19, 1991. Named honorary alumnus of Virginia Tech, 1992. Presented Ruffner Medal, 1993. Animal health research center named in his honor, 1995. Class of 1997 named class ring in his honor. Resided in Blacksburg until his death on Feb. 16, 2009, at age 78.