Claire Gogan: This is Claire Gogan. We're on Virginia Tech campus. Today isOctober 10th, right?
Katie Frazier: Hmm.
Gogan: 2015, and I'm here with Katie Frazier. What is your date and place ofbirth please?
Frazier: I was born December 8th 1981 in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Gogan: Did you say '81?
Frazier: '81, hmm.
Gogan: What years did you go to Virginia Tech?
Frazier: I was here from 2000 to 2004.
Gogan: So can you tell me a little bit about Harrisonburg and what it was liketo grow up there?
Frazier: Actually I grew up south of there in Bridgewater, so it's a prettysmall rural farming community. When I was growing up Rockingham County was the poultry capital of the world, so turkeys are a big thing, and that's what, you know, kind of agriculture influenced a lot of what happened there. But the other 1:00interesting thing is I think that the greater Harrisonburg area is similar to Blacksburg, because there's James Madison University, there's really small colleges there too, so it was nice because I was able to grow up kind of in the country, but still had some cultural resources that are available in college towns that you don't get just kind of out in the middle of nowhere, in some other areas. [Chuckles] My family has lived there for forever, so you know everybody and half the school is related to you and that kind of thing, so yeah, a pretty small community.
Gogan: So did you have siblings?
Frazier: I have one younger sister. She's two years younger than me and that'sit. I was the oldest grandchild on both sides of the family and had some cousins that were a little closer in age on one side, and the rest came way after me and my sister, so we were kind of like only grandkids on one side of the family for 2:00a long time.
Gogan: That must have been nice.
Frazier: It is nice. It is nice. It's also not so nice when you're the center ofattention and everybody is paying attention to exactly what you're doing at the dinner table to make sure that you're minding your manners correctly.
Gogan: When did you first start thinking about Virginia Tech?
Frazier: So growing up I was raised in a household that cheered for UVA. Theyare about 45 minutes over the mountain and so that was where we went to football games. My mom was getting her PhD there when I was growing up and my dad's whole family had been UVA fans for years. So, when I was really young I thought I was going to go to UVA or to William & Mary, and as I got older I toured both of 3:00those campuses and hated them.
And so I started coming to Virginia Tech probably when I was a freshman in highschool for FFA conventions, so I would come every summer to a convention for a week and do competitions and spend time in the dorms. I just really started to fall in love with Virginia Tech. It felt very similar to where I grew up. There were mountains all around. And so when I was in my junior year I guess I started thinking that maybe instead of going to UVA that I would change courses and break my dad's heart and look at Virginia Tech.
The other thing that influenced that, about that same time, I'm a lobbyist and Ihad always wanted to be a lobbyist, so when I was in third grade I came home and told my mom and dad that that's what I wanted to do when I grew up. And so my career path was going to be a political science major and then maybe go to law 4:00school and then be a lobbyist. And about my sophomore or junior year I had a FFA advisor who asked me what I was going to lobby for, and so he said maybe go home and think about if you want to lobby for something that you're passion about what would that be. And it was agriculture and so I started looking around and realized that there are very few schools in Virginia, really only two that I could go to where you could study agriculture. And so Virginia Tech kind of became a natural fit for me about my junior year.
Gogan: What is FFA?
Frazier: So FFA is Future Farmers of America. It was started actually in thecounty right south of where I grew up, in August County, and Virginia Tech was the site of their kind of first actual corporate offices. So there's a space 5:00where they have a historical room and all the history of where it was begun in the United States. Now it's an international organization through vocational agriculture classes in middle schools and high schools that kids can get involved in. You study leadership development and community service and you can do things like show animals like you do in 4H, or do mechanics classes and those type of things.
Gogan: So what is your first memory of Virginia Tech?
Frazier: Hmm. Probably walking up to Burruss in the summer, so it was blazinghot and just being struck by how huge it looked. The steps walking up to it were just really intimidating, but it was old but it didn't feel old, so I felt like 6:00it was kind of solid and it had been here a while. Yeah, I think that's probably what I remember.
Gogan: This was when you were 14?
Frazier: Yeah, 14 years old. And then the drillfield I guess that's where I kindof associate a lot of my first memories. I view kind of coming across campus looking across the drillfield looking over to Burruss's, what I remember about Tech. Yeah. And the fact that Burruss had no air conditioning. Hot as blue blazes. The last week of June in FFA you had to wear a corduroy long sleeve jacket and hose and a skirt and button-up shirt, so it was very warm inside of Burruss auditorium in June with I don't even know how many hundreds of kids are all packed in there, so yeah. 7:00
Gogan: So when you were in FFA had it already become a national organization?
Frazier: Yeah. It started in 1928, so yeah, it's been around for a long time.
Gogan: Can you say a little bit more about what it felt like to be on campus,like the first time you came here, if you remember certain things about the way it looked or the way it smelled.
Frazier: Oh geez. I remember it was green, really green. There was a lot of treecover, a lot of places where you could kind of go and feel like you were in a community but you were still in nature. I remember how consistent everything 8:00looks. I remember thinking it was huge, just absolutely a humongous campus. It blew me away. Again, I grew up you know James Madison University, it's where my mom taught, so it wasn't like I wasn't used to a university, but JMU was so spread out and Tech was, you could see its immensity altogether. So when you had to walk from‚Ä¶ We would stay up in Pritchard I guess is where we stayed, so walked from there all the way over to Burruss. Sometimes you would have contests and some of the buildings that were a little [endearing 00:08:43] or something like that. As a freshman in high school kind of having that traverse campus like that it felt like it was humongous. I remember the dorms and they smelled like dorms when we stayed there. 9:00
We didn't get to eat in any of the really good places, but I do rememberDietrich, I guess. That's where we had all of our meals, and then the ice cream shop that was below that. I can't remember what it was called then. I remember going and getting ice cream there. That was like the treat during the week if everybody was good. Your mom and dad could send you some extra money and your FFA advisor would let you go and get some ice cream at the end of the night. [Laughs]
Gogan: So what do dorms smell like?
Frazier: Oh geez, stale kind of, you know, like stinky socks.
Gogan: A lot of people packed into‚Ä¶
Frazier: Yeah, a lot of people packed in together, and again, it was in thesummer and I don't think there was air conditioning, so it was hot and sweaty. You had girls on one floor and guys on another, and so you smelled teenage boys and what that smells like. And wax, like the wax they use on floors, like that 10:00kind of stuff I think I remember like‚Ä¶ An institutional I guess is the best way to put it. Old and used and institutional.
Gogan: So what about when you first came here, what do you remember about thecampus from when you first I guess began attending?
Frazier: So, I still remember feeling like it was humongous, like I was going toget lost going from classes, because as a freshman you have classes kind of all over. It's not just on one side of the campus. Yeah, I remember feeling like it was just huge. I lived in East Eggleston and so it was actually a pretty small dorm compared to some of the really big ones. So I loved that because I got to 11:00live in a building that was Hokie stone and just really felt like it was part of the tradition of Virginia Tech and we [lived 00:11:13] on the drillfield. But I also remember we had a class over in McBride at like 8 o'clock, and then we had a 9 or a 9:15 all the way at Litton Reaves and the bus schedule to get there, and so we would have to run across campus to be able to get there. It was a group of like four or five girls that we all lived in the same hall. We all were in the same major oddly enough, and so we would all run from our first class to our second class across campus. I just remember my freshman year especially thinking I have never walked so much in my life.
But it's weird, I tell people it also felt kind of small. Like once you got to12:00know it and you knew your routines and you knew where you were going then all of a sudden you started to see people that you knew and it didn't big as big an overwhelming as what it did when I kind of first got here. I remember the Sunday night before classes started they did like a big freshman picnic out in the lawn between, I don't remember what that is, it was like AJ and Pritchard. Is that right? I think there's buildings there now, but it used to be this big old open lawn. This huge freshman picnic, there were so many people. I had never been I think around that many people before who are all supposedly like me, and actually really completely different. It was intimidating. I'm not always great at change, so my first couple of months of my freshman year were hard, but you 13:00know, you kind of make your home and you work for it.
Gogan: So what was hard about it?
Frazier: Being away from home was really hard for me. I'm super closed to my momand dad and my sisters, that was really hard. I grew up like I said in an area where I was either related to everybody. My dad was a government teacher and on the Board of Supervisors at home, so I was used to going places and seeing somebody that I knew all the time. And so coming here I really wanted to come because I wanted to kind of not be like, but then I got here and I was thinking I really miss actually seeing people that I know. So at first that was a big transition. I'm a pretty conscientious person so I was super scared of failing and not getting good grades, so I think I put a lot of pressure on myself. I 14:00didn't go out and do a lot of the social things that a lot of freshman do. My first year I spent a lot of time studying in my room, and I spent a lot of time trying to get an A in Biology my first semester. [Laughs] A B wasn't good enough, so I spent a lot of time working on it.
Gogan: Who were you friends with when you were here?
Frazier: My friends and I we say that we had an angel in admissions. There werefive or six girls who we all lived on the same hall, like diagonally from each other, and we were all literally either from the same three or four counties. We were all, I was an ag economics major primarily and then I double majored in political science, but we were all ag econ majors. 15:00
Literally there were six of us that all lived on the same hall right beside eachother, and so really quickly they became kind of my circle of friends. I lived with a girl that I had gone to high school with my freshman year, and so we hung out and we were friends, but they were really my best friends during my freshman, and they're still‚Ä¶ There's a group of about eight of us and they are still my very best friends that I have, so yeah. We called ourselves the East Campbell‚Ä¶the EC Angels, and we say that it's because we have an angel in admissions, that somehow or somebody, I don't know if it was student life or admissions, but whoever it was they put us altogether.
So that was my primary group of friends. Then my second semester I joined aprofessional sorority and I started to meet upper classman and really ran around 16:00with them quite a bit kind of the rest of my college career.
Gogan: What sorority was that?
Frazier: It was Sigma Alpha, so it's a professional sorority for women inagriculture, and so it's loosely affiliated with a fraternity off of Gamma Rho and so it was kind of nice because you had a built-in kind of group of guys that you can hang out with. And we all were within the same college, so it became very much like a family, you know, and people kind of watched out for each other and helped each other out. That's what, when I talk to people about Tech I tell them it's a huge place with 24 or 25, however undergrads right, 25,000 grads or whatever it is now that I just heard. But it can really small if you find your community and kind of find your group to be with. So for me it ended up feeling 17:00like a family and that was kind of who I associated with and that's how I got through college.
Gogan: Yeah, that's something I've heard from a few people I've interviewed,that this is like a huge school but it can feel like a small close-knit community.
Frazier: Yeah. I think at least in College of Agriculture. I didn't feel likethat so much to be honest with you in Literal Arts and Political Science, but I think it's because that wasn't my primary major. That wasn't the reason that I came to Virginia Tech. I came because of agriculture and then I just decided to add on the double major because it fit what I wanted to do. But even like professors in different departments I just to know and people kind of really watched out for each other. 18:00
And then I was a college ambassador when I was maybe a sophomore through senioryear. I can't remember, or maybe it was junior through senior year, and so then I started meeting like a lot of the leadership in the dean's office and kind of that group of individuals, which made it seem even smaller, because then meeting the people who are in charge in your college and interacting with them on a more frequent basis than maybe what a lot of other students get to do.
Gogan: Who were some professors at Tech who you specifically remember?
Frazier: So my advisor was Dr. Kirk Stevenson, so he was in my major and coachedour quiz bowl team for ag econ, so he took us to Orlando, Florida. He drove with 19:00us in a van. I don't know how he did it for hours on end with a bunch of college students. In addition to being my advisor I had him for a lot of classes, so he's still somebody that I come back and solicit his input on things, and vice-versa now. It's kind of funny, so he'll call me and say, "Hey, I've got a question about such and such, what do you think about this?" And so our relationship has kind of evolved over time.
And then she's not with the University anymore, but I had a professor, DixieDalton is her married name now. She taught a lot of classes and was really involved with my sorority, and so I interacted with her. I had her as a professor, but I also interacted with her kind of outside through extra-curricular activities. 20:00
And then I took some ag law classes from Leon Geyer, and he's the one who reallypushed me and helped me with political science. My dad remembers meeting with him when I was a junior and we came down to look at Tech and how impressed he was with Dr. Geyer. He's the one who kind of said you can do both. You don't have to go into just one pigeonhole and only major in one thing. Virginia Tech is big enough and we can make this work for you to kind of find two majors that will work for you. The three of them are probably the people that influenced me the most as an undergrad when I was here.
Gogan: So you said your parents are both teachers, right?
Gogan: What made you want to lobby for agriculture?
Frazier: And not education? [Laughs] Good question.
Well I never even considered lobbying for education. Now I think I do a lot of21:00that, but I do it for like career and technical education or agricultural education. I just was really passionate, and I think it was largely because of FFA, but I was really passionate that farming was important to the people that I grew up with. It was important to my family's history. I knew that there was a lot of big issues that were going to face, farmers. We learned a lot in my junior and senior year in high school about water quality pressures and how farmers are going to be good stewards and protect water quality and some of the issues that we're having within Chesapeake Bay, where maybe that was going to be harder to do. And so I felt like there was problems that could be solved in 22:00agriculture. And I don't know that my mom and dad ever talked to me about kind of policy issues and education. Oddly enough now they do. They talk my ear off about it now, but they didn't when I was growing up I don't think. Yeah, I just took it for granted that there would always be teachers there.
Gogan: So it was really like your education, your community that got you interested.
Frazier: Yeah. And I became pretty passionate about protecting it, and so I feltlike it needed a voice and that I could do that for whatever reason. I don't know how or why, but so far it's worked because I can't imagine really lobbying for anything else. I'm kind of scared if I wake up one day and say oh, no, I don't want to lobby for agriculture anymore. I'm not quite sure what I'll do, but I'll figure that out at that point in time. Wherever the road might lead, right.
Gogan: And that's what brought you to Tech.23:00
Frazier: Yeah. I have no complaints whatsoever.
Gogan: What are some of your favorite memories from your time here?
Frazier: Football games obviously. I started in 2000, so I started right afterthe national championship run, so football was a huge thing to do. I was a cheerleader in high school, so I'm kind of a junkie anyways for cheering on people who are winning, so I loved that. I really loved going to games with my friends and getting ready for them and getting on the face paint, all that stuff I liked it a lot. My friends and I we did a lot of crazy sometimes not so smart things. 24:00
We spent a lot of time down at the river, and so some of my favorite memoriesare actually down‚Ä¶ Either tubing in the New River, but just sometimes just sitting down there and kind of getting away from campus. I have some really good memories of skipping classes, this is actually going in the archives; this is awesome, skipping classes and going to get ice cream with one of my very best girlfriends our senior year, just because we were trying to figure out life and where it was going to lead us. Sitting out underneath some of the trees as fall was kind of coming into Blacksburg, kind of down by the duck pond and how beautiful it was here.
And then so I was in school on September here, and so I just remember feeling soproud of how Virginia Tech kind of rallied as a community and then saw it again 25:00as an alum after April 16th, where it really reiterated to me that we're not going to suffer in a part that the University is something bigger than that. I remember going to a picnic on September 12th because it was already scheduled and we prayed most of the time, you know. I don't ever remember feeling some of the prejudice that other schools I think were experiencing during that time period about Muslims. I remember reading articles about people targeting certain people, and I don't remember that here. So I remember feeling really really proud about how Virginia Tech as a community was kind of responding to these huge world issues that were impacting us. 26:00
Gogan: I know now Virginia Tech has a lot of international students. A lot ofthem come from Pakistan and Iran and India.
Frazier: I don't think that was so much the case. No, it was unusual. It wasnot, and some of it probably was because I spent a lot of time in the College of Ag and that's not‚Ä¶we talk as an alumni board all the time, that's not a diverse college at all. It's just not. It probably is more now than what it was 11 or 12 years ago, and that's what always struck me, because there weren't a lot of people who were from that area of the world that went to Virginia Tech. But I don't feel like they were ever targeted. I don't know if that just wasn't‚Ä¶ I didn't hear people making comments or avoiding them, being nervous around them like I think in other areas. I remember reading, just being 27:00really disappointed at how other people were responding to it. Yeah.
Gogan: You said you did some crazy not very smart things.
Gogan: Are there any stories you want to tell?
Frazier: Some of those have been locked in the lock box. They don't get to getout. Some of my friends, and it was not through an official sorority action in any way shape or form, but we were all members of the same sorority and we would do panty raids at the Alpha Gamma or the fraternity house. We would sneak in. We thought we were being stealthy; I don't think we really were, and see how many pairs of boxer shorts we could steal and then we would hang them in the Litton-Reaves Hall, which was the kind of ag hall. We would hang them in kind of conspicuous spaces afterwards. That kind of stuff I can talk about that, because that was pretty well-known. 28:00
Gogan: I like the reverse gender panty raid.
Frazier: Yeah, yeah, it was fun. I think they probably started it, but we didn'thave a house. Like we all had separate apartments, so it would have been really awkward for them to come in. They had one and so we could come in and kind of play tricks on them. I remember having a lot of fun with that. We did at the same place, I remember my sophomore year we set up like four or five indoor kiddie pools in the basement of their house and had a pool party, like basically flooded the whole basement and you know stupid stuff like that. You are like what were we thinking? This is really immature. [Laughs] A 20-year-old doesn't really need to be doing that, but we did and we had a good time. So yeah, those are some of the things that I can probably share that were fun to do, so yeah. 29:00
Gogan: What were some of the difficult experiences you had at Tech? I know yousaid being away from home was hard.
Frazier: Being away from home was super hard. I had a boyfriend that I dated, along distance relationship my freshman year and he broke up with me between my freshman and sophomore year, so kind of coming back to school after that was really hard. You know you think your heart is broken right and you're never going to meet anybody again, and I don't know how to do college without a boyfriend, so that was hard.
My best friend from when I was itty bitty her father passed away in the middleof my sophomore year and it was very sudden, and so he died while I was here. I had to leave to go to the funeral. I took a week off at school and then I had to come back and I didn't have‚Ä¶ I had a support system but I didn't, you 30:00know. I didn't have my family there, and so that was really hard because I never dealt with a death ever. [Sobs] I'm sorry.
So I think kind of looking back now that it was really good for me, because youhave to learn how to be resilient on your own sometimes you know. Like you rely on your family, but I don't live near my family now, so I've had to kind of take some of those lessons that I learned when I was in college in apply them now, so that was tough. And then I was friends with a lot of people who were older than me, so as they started graduating it became harder and harder to watch them go. I told you I'm not very good at transitions and changes. That's not what I excel at. When I was in first grade we moved, literally the whole school moved from an old school to a new school and I cried the whole like first month of school. Every day I would cry and my dad said, "What? You're going to school with the same people that you did before," but it was different and I didn't like it. 31:00[Laughs] So some of it was just kind of who I am and it was going to be hard for me anyways.
But you know, my friends in school were really, that's why I think in some waysI'm this close to them because they became kind of my quasi family and I really relied on them lot. And then my junior year my sister came to Tech, so she was a freshman starting me junior year and we were together our last year. That was super. It was fun. It was hard sometimes because we didn't always get along, and so kind of negotiating that there was a lot of really really good times, but there were some times where it was really hard to be a big sister and still really want to have your own kind of independent college experience, so yeah.
Gogan: Do you want to talk a little bit about how your Virginia Tech education32:00has played out in your life? It seems like you probably have a lot to say about that.
Frazier: Yeah. So Virginia Tech is the reason that I'm doing what I'm doing now.I work for the Virginia Agribusiness Council and I'm their president now. I got an internship through Tech, actually two internships through Tech, but one of them helped me get the job that I have now, and I started working for the organization like three months after I graduated I got the job. I got offered the job two days before graduation, and so I wouldn't have made those connections without being at Virginia Tech. So definitely the internships experiences that I had through my‚Ä¶ And I took a class and it was required to do an internship, right, so that's what I did, but those experiences have 33:00really played out in my life and helped kind of shape my career.
But the classes and the education that I received, and I just had lunch with anundergrad, and it's not only the classes that I took, for me it was a lot more of the experiences. So like being involved in the professional sorority, I was president my senior year, and learning how to manage a whole group of 50 girls in a semi-professional setting taught me a lot about management skills and board management skills that I still use today in what I do.
I think what I loved about Virginia Tech, and maybe it was just the experiencesthat I made for myself here, I don't know, but I talk to a lot of other people and I think it's the same way, that your classes and your extracurricular activities and your opportunities to interact with professors all really help intersect to shape who you are kind of in your professional world. Yeah. They 34:00taught me a lot of critical thinking skills, but also really applied skills that I use still today. I'm not a big book learner. I need to be able to put my hands on it and know how it's going to actually impact things, and those skillsets are ones that I still call upon in my professional work.
Gogan: It sounds like you had a lot of opportunities.
Frazier: Yeah, I had a ton. I didn't do a study abroad, one thing I kind ofregret. But there were plenty of opportunities to do it, I just couldn't quite figure out how to fit it in to be honest with you. If I had to kind of look back and see what I missed I think really pushing to get done in four years, because that was how much money my grandmother had allotted to pay for my college 35:00education. Which I'm extremely grateful that she paid for it, but it was four years and then I was done. There was no other option to go longer than that, and so that didn't give me a whole lot of leeway to be able to do some of the other things, so yeah.
I did a mission trip during my sophomore and junior year I guess, and that wasto Thailand, so I did some international kind of experience that really shaped me, but it wasn't an international kind of study abroad formally through Virginia Tech, so yeah.
Gogan: So if somebody says the words Virginia Tech what is the first thing thatyou think of?
Frazier: Community and a family. Now an opportunity to serve and to give back to36:00something that's kind of larger than just four years that you spend here. That's what I've kind of realize about Virginia Tech, is it's not just a snapshot in time, but it's kind of bigger than you as an individual in your four years or eight years or however long, my husband's six years that he spent here getting a degree.
Gogan: Did you meet him here?
Frazier: No. He graduated in 2000 and I started in 2000, so we missed eachother, thank goodness, because I would not have married him I think if I had known him when he was a student here. So we met on a blind date thanks to another Hokie. She knew both of us and so she set us up. It's nice that we have an alma mater so we don't have to fight about what's on TV on Saturday. [Laughs]
Gogan: Cool. So you said you're still involved with the school.37:00
Gogan: In what ways?
Frazier: So personally I'm on the University Alumni Board and I'm getting readyto finish out my second term on that board so I'll term out. I may not be able to serve for another term in the spring of 2016, and that's been a lot of fun just to get to know lots of different alumni from lots of different colleges and figure out lots of ways that you can give back and get involved in the University, and get to know the leadership of the University in a new way. And then both I guess personally and professionally I'm on our College of Ag Deans Advisory Committee. I'm on my home department Ag Econ's Advisory Committee and chair of that, and then I'm on two other departments within the College of 38:00Agriculture Advisory Committee just because of what I do professionally, that they kind of want me there I think as an industry voice, and then it helps that I'm a Hokie, so I can bring that to bear.
And then our organization does a lot of work with Tech's Government RelationsDepartment, so we lobby for Virginia Tech for funding for programs that specifically impact agriculture and forestry in the State. A lot of the extension programs and buildings and then kind of active in programs that go along with that. So I do that, come back and speak to classes and meet with students, you know, whatever else people ask me to do I try to make it happen to give back to the University in some way.
Gogan: Why are you still as involved as you are?
I feel like you've kind of explained that, like in this interview, but I guess39:00more explicitly why do you stay as involved in the school as you do?
Frazier: One, because I'm super excited about where it's going. I think I'msomebody who just 1) I can't say no, and 2) I really want to be a part of something that's really good and is able to accomplish a lot more than I could either through my organization or by myself. And so I like being able to answer that call if somebody thinks that I have something that's valuable to provide. I love meeting with students and answering their questions and trying to provide support and guidance if that's what they need on kind of at least what I found 40:00valuable as a student here, and kind of looking back at my time and what I maybe need now in my career, because I think over the years I've found a lot of people who want to do the same thing that I do, which is super exciting. And so trying to just help them kind of figure that out.
And then you know, I'm come to really value, I think I value kind of thecommunity aspects of Virginia Tech a lot, but what learned here as a student and the skillsets that Virginia Tech provided me you know, and the strengths that they helped me hone in on have helped me be successful personally and professionally. And so I want to be able to kind of get that back in some way and use those to help the University. I guess it's that whole Ut Prosim 41:00mentality that I didn't even know that I kind of had, but I think it just sticks with you. Somebody said earlier in the Board meeting once they get their claws in you they won't let go, and I think it's the same thing with the spirit of Ut Prosim that you're going to serve and that's part of what you're called to do as a Hokie.
Gogan: So why do you think so many alums stay involved at the University?
Frazier: I think it's because they had a really great experience here. I'mtrying to think if I've met an alum who has said 'I hated my time at Virginia Tech.' I've met people from other colleges and universities who say, "Yeah, I went there. That's where I got my degree. I don't really have any use go back." But I have a hard time thinking if I've met a Hokie who just isn't eaten alive 42:00with pride and what Virginia Tech is.
You know, thankful for the experiences that they had here and really excitedabout what the University is doing. I'm sure there's some out there, but I just haven't interacted with them.
Gogan: What are some of the changes that you've seen at Tech I guess since you graduated?
Frazier: It's a heck of a lot more diverse now, and that's not even a big dealit seems like to the students now. It's accepted, which is great because you know, I said on September 11th it didn't feel like people treated people differently, but there were [so] differences on campus. There wasn't a whole lot of diversity and so people‚Ä¶when you saw it it was just recognized. I don't 43:00feel like that as much the case anymore. I think I've seen a lot more focus on the service aspects and the growth of Relay for Life and the Big Event since I was here. Big Event started in the middle of my time at Tech, but it wasn't as big of a thing as this, it's huge. And so kind of that living as a student the Ut Prosim I think is even more defined now than when it was when I was here. So I think all that's really positive.
And then you know, maybe it's because when I went to Tech literally it was inthe golden years right, of like the Michael Vick years. Football was a huge 44:00deal, and it still is, but I don't find as many students I guess defining kind of college by that, which is in my mind really exciting to see. I mean believe me the stands were full last night and the students were having a great time and that was good, but I don't talk to students anymore and dropping everything because I've got to get to a football game. They are still into kind of other things, which is good.
Gogan: What are some negative changes you've seen?
Frazier: I think it's shifting. I felt like we got kind of stagnate there for awhile, and I love Charlie Steger. I think he and his leadership team did a lot 45:00of great things for the University, but over the past maybe two to three years it kind of petered out at the end.
I like us to constantly be looking for what we can do better and different. Ithink, and maybe it's again because I know things more professionally than maybe a lot of people do about the inner workings of the University, but the focus on research is really important, but I get worried sometimes that some of the under grad experiences are being diminished because time in the classroom, more skillsets in the classroom aren't as important as research dollars are. So I see that battle all the time within the University, and it worries me about kind of 46:00what's going to happen.
And then I think it's state-wide, but tuition costs started to kind of increasewhen I was a student here, but it's really gotten crazy now. So again, I hear probably more than the average alumni does, which maybe isn't such a good thing everybody should know this, but just the burden that's on students now and the burden that some students are going to come out really concerns me. And that's not just Virginia Tech, that's a nation-wide issue, but I don't know that people fully understand that.
Gogan: And it does seem like Virginia, because I'm from Maryland and stateschools in Maryland are quite a bit less expensive instate than Virginia's.
Frazier: Yeah. President Sands said today, and I've heard it before, but since2000 state funding has been cut by about 50% of what the state used to provide 47:00if you factor in inflation. It's a shift in priorities within the state. That's why I lobby for Virginia Tech as a partner forum, because they need every resource that they can get. I hope that Virginia Tech can continue to kind of tell their story about what they're doing here and why that's maybe different and important versus other state priorities.
Gogan: What are some changes you would like to see?
Frazier: This is going to be captured for all of eternity, right? [Laughs]
Alumni-wise I really would like to see more opportunities for alumni to be48:00integrated kind of fully into the University, and I think the advancement model is leading to that. But I think providing an opportunity at all levels of the University for alumni to be engaged is really important. So I'm lucky in that folks call me and ask me to come back. I have a lot of friends who would be willing to do the same thing that never get called. Nobody ever asks them to come back and do anything for the University, and so I think we have a lot of alums who feel really positively about their experiences here, and we're not asking them to give back either financially or through engagement, and so I think that that's got to shift.
And then I think how Virginia Tech communicates what we do and here we'reputting out, so being raised in a UVA household where they still go to UVA games 49:00I hear all the time about this graduate or this supreme court justice or whatever it is that is a result of UVA, and I couldn't name five Hokies that are in the upper echelons of corporate America. But they're there, you know, and that's what always flabbergasts me, that we don't, we're too humble. We don't tell people what we're doing and what our alumni are accomplishing, and I think that that then provides students even more of a kind of gateway to say oh okay, I can get there. People shouldn't roll their eyes and say, "Oh, you're just going to that little Podunk farm school that's Virginia Tech," which is what when I was growing up that's exactly what people thought. And I think in some 50:00ways we're still defending against that, versus just saying you know what, we're way bigger than that now, and so I hope we can make some changes in that regard. Be proud of who we are and what we're doing.
Gogan: So what would you like to people to know about you, generally speaking?
Frazier: I don't know. I don't like to talk about me. I mean I do but I don't. Ithink that I come from a family where making an impact is something that's really important, but you know you just don't get up and go to work and work because it's your job. You work because it's something that you think you're going to impact the world positively through you're answering God's call for 51:00whatever he's kind of put you on this earth to do.
And so I hope that people would know me as somebody who is doing that andaccomplishing that, and that as it relates to Virginia Tech that I attribute a lot of my experiences here to being able to accomplish that angle, that I was kind of given those foundations that I needed to be able to then go out and kind of, it sounds so cheesy but make that mark. Make my own little individual footprint, like whatever it is. It doesn't have to be huge, but do something. That's what I people to remember me by I guess.
Gogan: What do you think people should know about Virginia Tech that they mightnot know?
Frazier: That our students continue to be top caliber, that they are not just52:00coming to a party school to get drunk and have fun.
Gogan: Go to football games.
Frazier: Go to football games, that that's not who they are, that they are adriven-focused group of students who really work hard in classes. They work hard in extra-curricular activities. They work hard in on campus and off campus jobs. I'm so impressed with our student body and I don't think people know‚Ä¶ They just hear that we're a huge school and I don't think that people really have a true appreciation for what our students are doing.
And then we hear a lot about the research at Virginia Tech, but I think people53:00should fully understand how integrated that is across all colleges. Like I am just continuously amazed that Virginia Tech doesn't work in silos anymore, and that is such a different model than a lot of other institutions of higher education. Other places it's just here in this college and that's where you're going to stay, and that's not the case at all at Virginia Tech. They are really fostering a community where people work cross-collaboratively, and I don't think people know that and I wish that they would.
Gogan: Are there any negative or difficult things people should know?
Frazier: That it is a slow University to turn. It's big. Bureaucracy-wise it's big.
Making changes here is not always a quick or easy process.54:00
Gogan: Is there anything I haven't asked you that you thought I would ask orthat you particularly wanted to know about?
Frazier: I don't think so. This is pretty comprehensive.
Gogan: All right. Well thank you.
Frazier: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.