Virginia Tech Foundation names new CEO

Elizabeth McClanahan, a former justice on the Supreme Court of Virginia who now serves as president and dean of the Appalachian School of Law, has been named CEO of the Virginia Tech Foundation. The foundation manages the university’s endowment, has an extensive real estate portfolio, and encourages economic development by fostering connections between Virginia Tech and numerous partners.

McClanahan has served as an adjunct professor of finance and senior advisor to the dean in Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business since September 2019, but her ties to the university go back much further.

“Virginia Tech played a formative role in my life,” McClanahan said. “My mother hosted Extension homemaker clubs when I was a young child. I joined 4-H at age 9 and in my teenage years attended 4-H Congress on campus. Virginia Tech is now a global university and world leader in higher education. Joining the foundation is the opportunity of a lifetime — especially at a time when Tech’s energy, innovation, and trajectory are unmatched.”

McClanahan will become foundation CEO on June 1, 2021, succeeding John Dooley, who in August announced he would retire. The foundation CEO is a member of the Virginia Tech President’s Cabinet.

Former Virginia Tech Foundation Board Chair Sandra Davis, who co-chaired the search committee with Pinkney, said she was “excited by the talent Elizabeth brings to this role that is so vital for the foundation and the university. I think the transition will be positive, continuing the success of current goals, while providing strong leadership on future developments and opportunities, including growing the endowment.”

Dooley, the outgoing foundation CEO, plans to help McClanahan transition into her new position. Years ago, he was executive director of the Virginia 4-H Foundation while she was a member of its board. “She really knows well the public-higher-education community in Virginia,” Dooley said. “She’s been in positions where she has seen the value that higher education brings to the economic vitality of the state, and I’m sure that will be of benefit as she assumes this role.”

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