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´╗┐Ren Harman: Good afternoon. This is Ren Harman, the Project Manager for VT Stories. Today is March 7, 2019 at about 1:17 PM. I am in Richmond, Virginia with a very special guest with us today. This is the only time I will prompt you. If you could just state in a complete statement my name is, when you were born and where you were born.

Jim Hatch: My name is Jim Hatch. I was born in Pulaski, Virginia on August 13, 1945.

Ren: So you were born in Pulaski?

Jim: Yes.

Ren: Did you grow up in Pulaski?

Jim: No. As a seven-month old my parents moved to Lynchburg so I spent my entire childhood growing up in Lynchburg. I went to high school there and then on to Lynchburg College for my undergraduate degree and then came to Virginia Tech to pursue my Master of Accountancy Degree.

Ren: Can you talk a little bit about your early life and growing up?


Jim: Growing up in Lynchburg was a tremendous experience and I feel very fortunate to have been in that town, obviously a smaller community. It was much smaller in the 40s and 50s when I was growing up than it is today, but a wonderful childhood experience, a wholesome environment, a caring community, very involved with my church, a Lutheran church there, and really appreciated the opportunity to be in that environment. My parents were blue-collar working people. Neither of them attended college so it presented some interesting challenges as actually I had to prepare myself for college because they couldn't 2:00really coach me in ways that parents oftentimes do to benefit their kids to prepare them for a college life and the rigors of a college education. So I was fortunate to work through that with their support and very fortunate to have been in that environment and growing up there.

Ren: Were you an only child?

Jim: No, I have one sister who is eight years younger than I am.

Ren: So did you spend a lot of time playing with your sister?

Jim: She would probably say that I spent a lot of time harassing her and making her life miserable. That's what older brothers do I suppose.

Ren: Right. [Laughs]

Jim: I am very fortunate today to have a sister. She's my only family and she is my primary caregiver at this point in life. So you think back to early 3:00childhood, the relationship, little did I know what it might mean later on in life.

Ren: Right. So growing up I guess in the 50s and in the 60s in Lynchburg what was Lynchburg like at that time?

Jim: An interesting environment because I could remember very clearly the very early stages of integration. When I started high school we had a black high school and we had the E. C. Glass which was a white high school. Probably my sophomore year in the very early 60s, like 1960 or '61 there were some protests and there were black students who applied for admission at E. C. Glass. I remember the people on the steps outside trying to get in and there were some issues around integration at the time. Things in terms of the ultimate integration happened pretty fast from that point forward but there was an 4:00initial disruption to the school and to the community because of the integration first and foremost in so many peoples' minds and taking up so much of the press in terms of focus of attention on the individuals involved and their presentation to really make the case for being at the white high school if you will, so interesting times from that standpoint a long long time ago now.

Ren: So as a student at E. C. Glass High School what kind of activities, athletics were you involved in?

Jim: You know I was pretty introverted. I didn't do any athletics which in hindsight I scratch my head and wonder why. Of course it's probably because I didn't have any athletic ability to speak of and my grades were just so-so. I 5:00wasn't a studious person. I really probably didn't know how to study and because of that I probably kind of lived in an environment of mediocrity if you will. I wish I could do it over. You know you have many regrets in life and one of those is I wish I would have worked harder to excel. It took me a long time to finally get it from the standpoint of what it means to get a good education and what you have to do to earn it, and so it was a slow evolving process for me.

Ren: You said both of your parents were pretty blue-collar. How did they feel about you getting good grades and maintaining good grades at kind of high standards?


Jim: They probably didn't know how to motivate me. They would fuss at me about mediocre grades. You know I had passing grades and I progressed through each year satisfactorily but again pretty much in a mediocre fashion. So while I had their support I really would say they didn't know how to motivate me in a way that would be positive to changing my behaviors and changing my study ethic along the way, so it was a challenge.

Ren: What are some of your most fond memories from your time of growing up?

Jim: I would say the church was important in our lives and the family. We were a small family, close-knit. We used to take trips together as a family together all the time and that meant a lot and still does mean a lot to me today because the experiences of a family relationship, even though it was a small family it 7:00was one that was close-knit and we had each other's backs if you will, so a very positive experience and one that I remember fondly to this day.

Ren: Were there any difficult times?

Jim: Not really. You know health was good for both parents and my sister and myself. We didn't really have any tragedies or things that would have been very difficult to work through. So no, it was a very healthy, very constructive positive environment.

Ren: So when a lot of people think about Lynchburg today they really think of a strong kind of evangelical community. Was it kind of like that, was that when it was kind of starting around that time or was that kind of later on?


Jim: It was actually starting, I can remember when Jerry Falwell established his very small Thomas Road Baptist Church near University of Lynchburg, and that was the very early beginnings of what has become Liberty University and something really amazing. So no, the evangelical influence was not very significant at the time because it was in its formative stages.

Ren: Right. So you mentioned earlier that you attended Lynchburg College. As a high school student how did you start thinking about college? What was the decision to attend The University of Lynchburg and how involved were your parents?

Jim: Well I left out an important piece. I will turn back the clock and fill in a blank here. When I was a junior in high school I decided that I wanted to 9:00attend William & Mary. And as you know William & Mary doesn't accept mediocre students as a rule and has pretty high standards for admission, probably higher today than in the 60s. But my father had a real good friend who was influential at William & Mary. I applied and he helped get me in so I was accepted at William & Mary, and at the end of my freshman year I was on academic probation. So my poor study habits, my lack of a good study ethic and working hard to get grades wasn't there. This was during Vietnam you may recall. Lottery numbers were issued for the draft and if you weren't in school you would likely be drafted if you had a low lottery number which I did. So I entered my sophomore 10:00year at William & Mary, grades continued to be poor and basically I was politely asked to depart the premises, so I was suspended for academic reasons. Then I faced the draft with a low lottery number but I joined the National Guard in Pulaski by the way and managed to avoid going to Vietnam. Some would probably call me a draft dodger but it was legal and I didn't protest. I would have gone if called to serve but I was in the National Guard, so therefore I didn't go to Vietnam. When I got out of my active duty training for the National Guard I wanted to resume my college education. I knew William & Mary wouldn't have me back probably. I didn't even try. So I walked over to Lynchburg College and 11:00asked to see the Dean of Education and plead my case, and he looked at me with this quizzical look on his face like really? You think we are going to take you in because you can't get in anywhere else? But they did, they accepted me and I am so thankful for that. Because after the experience with almost having to go to Vietnam, getting booted out of William & Mary it dawned on me that I had to work harder and put in some time to show the effort of what it would take to get good grades. I so I started at Lynchburg College. I had some credits earned at William & Mary which counted so I didn't start from scratch and almost immediately I started making grades. I decided that business was a major that I liked and I remember just really enjoying the experience because I was getting 12:00good grades. I was having fun. I was learning but I was a business administration management major, Bachelor of Science, a Business Administration degree candidate. And it dawned on me that that was just a general degree I had no earthly idea what I wanted to do. So at that point I was fortunate enough to get an offer to be a summer intern at a local public accounting firm. Amazing that they would want me because I had one accounting course. So I went to work in the summer for this public accounting firm and said, "Hey, I like this debit and credit stuff. It's a lot of fun." And so that work experience, I went back 13:00to my junior year and then I worked the following summer and actually part-time throughout the year. I learned of the Master of Accountancy program at Tech and decided to apply because I wanted to pursue accounting. So I was accepted at Tech into the Master of Accountancy program. That would have been in 1969 and I spent two years in the program because I had to take undergraduate accounting courses as well as the master's level courses.

Ren: Wow. I want to back up just a little bit about your time at William & Mary. Were you just not preparing for class, not going to class? Were you doing some extracurricular activities?

Jim: No, I mean again I just didn't understand what it took. I was one of these kids who scored high on the IQ test but had low grades relative to the IQ. So your classic underperformer, underachiever. I just didn't work hard and so there I was at William & Mary just kind of skating by and not putting in the time it 14:00took to really study and work hard to get decent grades.

Ren: Once you kind of left William & Mary do you have any regrets about joining the National Guard?

Jim: No, because I realize that had I gone to Vietnam my odds of being here today wouldn't be particularly great, so I'm thankful for the opportunity. I know there's some that probably feels like I was a draft dodger, again, but it was a pathway that was available and I took it.

Ren: And you were not the only one I'm sure.

Jim: Well at least I didn't dodge the draft blatantly. You know it was a choice and it was a legal one.

Ren: Right. So once you kind of are finishing up at the University of Lynchburg, 15:00how did Virginia Tech kind of come into the picture? Maybe you knew about Virginia Tech but how did you end up applying and coming there?

Jim: You know it's interesting. My entire life up to that point when I was a senior at the University of Lynchburg, Virginia Tech never really registered with me. I can remember going to Virginia Tech to see football games and Victory Stadium in Roanoke as a kid, as a high school kid. I was in the band so I played in the band and would go to the football games occasionally, and that was kind of neat, but that was the extent of my engagement with or involvement with Virginia Tech in any way, so Virginia Tech just wasn't on my radar.

Ren: Yeah.

Jim: When I started pursuing possible options to continue my accounting 16:00education I became aware of the Virginia Tech Master of Accountancy program and just decided to apply. I didn't apply anywhere else at that point. The program was only a year or two old at that stage, so I applied and was accepted and all of a sudden Virginia Tech became a part of my life from an education standpoint. Again I went because I wanted to pursue accounting and that opportunity was available to me.

Ren: So your first memory of Virginia Tech I guess as either a young child if you saw the campus then or as a student what do you remember about when you first saw the campus?

Jim: As a new student?

Ren: Yes.

Jim: It was interesting. This is before you were born I suppose. Back then it 17:00was almost overwhelming because I went to undergraduate a very small school, the University of Lynchburg, like 1,200 students back then, so Virginia Tech was a very large almost forbidding place. The stone buildings were cold and I didn't know anyone, didn't know any faculty. Didn't know any fellow students. And in a master's program it's different than an undergraduate experience obviously and so there I was as a graduate student, somewhat isolated from the mainstream of the campus and the student body, and so it was a challenging experience and an intimidating one. But there was a small circle of graduate students that became my friends. We would go out together at night and we would begin to build a 18:00relationship that became our own little community and it was a lot of fun. The faculty were supportive and really almost like part of the family back then and I really relish that experience because there were some faculty members that I really felt like they were partners in my education, not just faculty. I was a faculty assistant, a graduate assistant. I tutored for the athletic program, tutored some football players in accounting which I always scratch my head like why are football players taking accounting? One of the hardest course curriculums that there is, but anyway I was paid by the Athletic Department to 19:00tutor them. This is a digression I'm sure for you.

Ren: That's okay.

Jim: Back in the 1970's with the Vietnam war still going on. Campus protests were going on and I was tutoring in Williams Hall the night when the young people took over the building. So we were in there and these people came rushing in. I was with several football players and I'm thinking I'm okay, they are going to protect me. And the students came in and they said, "We're getting ready to chain the doors shut so if you want to leave and get out of here now this is your chance." Those football players turned and ran out of there as fast as I did. It was like 'boom!' and we were all gone. But the next morning I came to campus and state police had the building surrounded because these people had in fact chained themselves inside all the doors. So really interesting times, interesting experience. There were protests on the Drillfield and all of that sort of thing as well.

Ren: So VT Stories is part of the Council on VT History which is organizing a 20:00lot of stuff around the sesquicentennial which is in 2022. It's the 150th Anniversary of Tech as I'm sure you are aware of. And one thing that they are really interested in is this idea of student activism, student protests, the occupation of Williams Hall so can you kind of expand on that topic a little bit, the protests on the Drillfield and some things that you saw and kind of how you felt personally and then how maybe some of your close classmates felt as well?

Jim: Maybe this is a distinction without a difference but as a graduate student you're in a little bit different place from an activism standpoint, so I didn't join the protests on the Drillfield, which was I think largely populated by 21:00undergraduate students so I was outside of that mainstream activist protest that was going on at the time. I went to class as usual. If there were crowds I would avoid them but it was a very -- I mean we were very much aware of the sentiment and the feelings amongst the students in terms of their expression of anger and protests of the war. But I think as a graduate student life goes on and we were pretty much outside of that for that most part.

Ren: When talking about the occupation of Williams Hall when they came in and said, "Hey we're going to chain the doors," what was your initial reaction other than the football players may protect me here?

Jim: Well it was shocking because up to that point there had been some pretty 22:00large protests on the Drillfield and there would be speakers up there egging everybody on to cheer and rant and rave and this and that protesting the war. But there hadn't been to that point any real activism in terms of taking action to take over a building for example, so that was a surprise. We were there studying. Williams Hall was used as the study hall back then so there were a number of classrooms with studying and tutoring going on. So we were sitting there, I was sitting there with two football players conducting a tutoring exercise and all of a sudden we heard people coming through the door. There wasn't a large number. There might have been 15 or 20 people I presume. Now they could have been outsiders from off campus, you just don't know. But they came 23:00rushing in. It was a total surprise because again nothing like that had taken place on the campus before that. So we were there. It took about five minutes for us to realize that the building was being invaded and that we were offered the opportunity to leave. Being wise students as we were happy to get out. As I said, the next day we found out that they had carried through with their promises to chain the doors shut.

Ren: What are your memories of how that was resolved?

Jim: As I said the next morning I came to campus and Williams Hall was literally ringed with state police. I mean there must have been 75 around the building, all the way around it. They asked the students to leave peacefully. The students 24:00refused to leave so the state police then got bolt cutters and got the doors open, went in, arrested the occupants of Williams Hall who were inside and took them off in handcuffs and that was that. I don't recall any significant protests of that type subsequent to that. That was the one big thing where the protests exploded into not a violent act but a significant non-violent protest that resulted in taking over state property at the time.

Ren: Especially at Virginia Tech because for a lot of people we interviewed and even in some of the history of Virginia Tech it talks about the campus being 25:00almost serene kind of with the exception of some of the protests on the Drillfield and then obviously what happened at Williams Hall. One thing I don't want to skip over is talking about some of your professors that almost became part of your friend group. Do you remember names? I'm sure you probably remember some names of some real notable professors.

Jim: One professor that was teaching graduate courses that really had an impact on me he was actually a guest tenured professor and his name was Paul Fertig. He taught several classes that I took and he was a highly regarded professor on 26:00sabbatical from another university, I don't remember which one, teaching at Tech in the accounting program for a year. Another professor who retired only several years ago was a professor by the name of Larry Killough. He was a professor who actually I maintained friendship and contact with post-graduation and he definitely had an impact. And a faculty member who is still here if you can believe is Bob or Robert Brown. I think he's just teaching one course and this is his last year. It is phenomenal that a faculty member present in the early 70s would be still on campus teaching today. Way beyond all retirement age obviously, but he had an impact and he has maintained friendship with quite a large number of alumni because I know others who speak fondly of him as well.

Ren: Do you feel like you were mentored by these professors in a way?

Jim: I would call it mentorship and I'm an absolute total believer in the value 27:00of mentorships. I would say that my life wouldn't be the same had I not been fortunate enough to experience some really good mentorship along the way. It makes a huge difference.

Ren: I want to ask you about what are some of your favorite memories from your time as a graduate student?

Jim: Well of course I would be remiss if I didn't mention good times at TOTS. [Laughs] You know that's where some of the best thinking and reasoning and so forth come is sitting around drinking a few beers with your buddies and talking about world problems or classroom problems. Occasionally there was real work 28:00going on in terms of discussing issues and those were terrific times. I can remember one night after we had been out having a few beers and one of my graduates...and these are graduate students, you would think you would have grown up by now, but one of the graduate students had a convertible and so we were out riding around and we pulled up in front of one of the faculty member's houses. He was a full professor and his name escapes me, but anyway we sat out front of the street and started singing and carrying on and making a lot of noise at like 2 o'clock in the morning or some such. It's funny, I just remember that so clearly as if it were yesterday. It was like okay some of the things you do once you finally reach maturity, whatever that means you realize that was 29:00kind of silly but it was fun at the time no doubt.

Ren: Did he come out of the house ever?

Jim: No. We got away before he came out.

Ren: That's probably for the best.

Jim: And you know he never said anything about it.

Ren: That's funny.

Jim: He was the faculty member for whom I served as graduate assistant grading papers and the like for him. I'm not sure whether he realized who was outside or not. He probably had a good idea.

Ren: Right. These collection of stories that we have people really often talk about the places on campus in terms of buildings or kind of the features of campus, the physical landscape of campus. Are there any places on campus that you really have a fond memory of?

Jim: I spent a lot of hours in Pamplin Hall obviously and so that would be first and foremost. You know back then the Pamplin Atrium didn't even exist so Pamplin 30:00Hall was just this monolithic building that was dated then and it's really dated today. Without the Atrium you could imagine what it would be like, so that would have been a place obviously. I have very clear memories of Blacksburg winters and walking over where the new classroom building is, the parking garage and the new engineering building was a gravel parking lot and that's where students parked back then. That was the primary student parking lot and so walks from there back to campus in the dead of winter were pretty severe so that sticks in my mind. Obviously so many of the nice features of the campus today didn't exist 31:00in the early 70s. There was no Torgersen Bridge, but the Pylons were there. The Drillfield was there and obviously they are fond memories. You don't spend a lot of time just hanging out at the Drillfield but it's ever-present. It's always there.

Ren: Right. So kind of the reverse side of that question were there some difficult times? Did you have any struggles?

Jim: The entire time I was in the graduate program at Tech I can't remember a single difficult time. The experience was memorable. It was experiential in so 32:00many ways. I feel very very fortunate to have had the opportunity to have the experience. It's interesting, I paused just a bit when you asked that question because there ought to be something or some time or some period when there was a struggle and I really don't recall a single moment.

Ren: So 1972 you graduated, a master's degree in accounting. Where did life kind of take you after that?

Jim: I went through the normal on-campus interview process, focused on going into public accounting. I just sat for the CPA exam, passed it the first time so I had my CPA certificate. So I interviewed the large public accounting firms. Back then they were known as the Big 8. Now today the number is down to 4. I interviewed the Big 8 and had job offers from 7 of those Big 8 firms, expressing 33:00a preference in the interviews to southeast, so I had interviews in Atlanta, in Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and Richmond. I ended up joining Arthur Andersen which is one of the firms no longer in existence. So I left Blacksburg, moved to Charlotte, began my career in public accounting doing audits of primarily financial firms, banks and the like in Charlotte. I had a really good experience and enjoyed being in Charlotte in a great town, worked in public accounting with Arthur Andersen for five years and then decided that public accounting wasn't 34:00for me and started looking around for job opportunities. Since my primary audit experience had been in banks I interviewed a few banks and received a job offer there in Charlotte from what was then First Union Corporation which then became Wachovia which then became Wells Fargo and went into banking and had a very successful career as I would like to think of it in the banking business. So it's kind of interesting, you think about my journey and how you end up at a given place oftentimes is by chance. And it's remarkable how your pathways tend to take you in the right direction more often than not.

Ren: I think so much of it is like obviously you have to be motivated, hardworking and talented of some kind, but so much of it is luck and opportunity and in the right place at the right time. I think back in my own life of how 35:00many times, for example for this job I was in the right place at the right time and had I not volunteered on early interviews when I was at graduate maybe I wouldn't be doing this today and I think about that a lot. I worked hard as you mentioned, but so much of it is luck and just being at the right place.

Jim: It absolutely is.

Ren: Did you just kind of stay in Charlotte during this whole kind of business career or were you moving around a lot?

Jim: No, I stayed in Charlotte. I was very fortunate to be with a company that was growing by leaps and bounds. When I joined First Union which would have been 1976 they were the 49th largest bank in the country, and that was before 36:00interstate banking. You had North Carolina banks, you had Virginia banks but you didn't have national banks in the true sense of the word. And in 1985 the Supreme Court said the southeastern states have decided they want to let banks merge across state lines. The Supreme Court ruled that that was legal so in 1985 began the era of interstate banking, and so it was amazing from that point. It was like a rocket ride in terms of growth. When I left and retired First Union and then Wachovia to Well Fargo it had become the fourth largest bank in the country, so we went from 49th to fourth. During the period I was there there 37:00were 100 acquisitions made, mostly out of state acquiring other banks to grow the franchise and it was a brutal experience. It was 65-hour weeks for 30 years. I mean it was non-stop so it was a difficult and challenging experience but one that I don't regret other than the fact that maybe I gave too much of my life to the work and not enough to myself and my life per se. I never married maybe in part because I was married to my job. You know if that be true then that's regrettable to an extent, but the experience was priceless and I had a successful career. I continued to get promoted and grow and really enjoyed the work, so from that standpoint I have no regrets.


Ren: So once you graduated in 1972 how long was it before you started getting involved with Virginia Tech and doing things and been on the Pamplin Advisory Council?

Jim: That process was evolutionary and one that I would characterize is slowly growing. When I left the graduate program at Tech I really wasn't engaged. I may have given $100 a year or some such, I don't know, but I wasn't involved philanthropically. I wasn't involved in any advisory boards or really wasn't doing anything. I didn't go back to campus except well maybe an occasional football game, but other than that I wasn't involved. Slowly as my career developed you know as you become more prominent in an organization and start to 39:00show up on the radar of the development staff, Charlie Phlegar's staff today you go under the radar and you start getting attention. I was invited to join the Pamplin Advisory Council gosh, probably -- maybe around 1980, about the time I was promoted to corporate controller for First Union, and the dean wrote me a letter and invited me to join the Pamplin Advisory Council, which was composed of about 70 individuals most of whom had succeeded to some kind of prominence in their careers in their industries or their businesses.

Ren: Right.

Jim: I was a member of the Pamplin Advisory Council for ten years and basically that involved an annual meeting on campus. You got some good information, had a 40:00nice dinner, go home, see you next year. So I summarily resigned from the Pamplin Advisory Council after ten years of service. I got my little plaque that said thank you for your service. Goodbye. I wrote a letter to the dean explaining why I resigned from the Pamplin Advisory Council and I resigned because I was really disappointed in the lack of engagement. I thought here are 70 people thereabouts who have achieved, varied degrees of corporate success and business success and yet you aren't asking anything of them. And I resigned because I felt like that was a waste of an incredible pool of talent that could be supporting the college and helping it achieve greater things. So I sent that 41:00message, resigned. I told the dean to please call me if there's anything that I could do to help Pamplin or Virginia Tech. I'm trying to get my timeframe squared away. I guess it was around 2004 in that timeframe I got a visit from the development officer from Pamplin calling on me. I had just moved, had just taken early retirement from Wachovia and I had built a home down on the northern 42:00neck of Virginia near the Chesapeake Bay. I just had a cold call and I didn't know why. Prior to that, maybe a year or two prior to that I had begun some estate planning, and as I thought my estate plan I made the decision that I wanted to give a substantial portion of my estate to Virginia Tech, but I didn't tell Virginia Tech. I didn't make them aware of my plans because it was really in the formative stages I guess then. So when the development officer came he said, "I have a request from the dean. He would like for you to chair the campaign steering committee for the Pamplin College of Business for the last campaign. The campaign for Virginia Tech and Invent the Future." Each of the 43:00colleges had a campaign steering committee and the dean asked me to chair the Pamplin Committee, and then I served by virtue of that on the National Campaign Steering Committee for the campaign. And I told the development officer I said, "Well I will do that. I will accept that offer to take that role. I also have some news for you." He had no idea it was coming, I said, "I am completing my estate plan and I plan to give 85% of my estate to Virginia Tech. And oh by the way, my estate planning attorney has come up with a suggestion that I'm going to pursue and that is a way to leverage my estate to provide even greater financial resources and philanthropy to Virginia Tech." So all that kind of happened in a 44:00firestorm in a short timeframe of events, so that's really when I got really very heavily engaged in Virginia Tech and the Pamplin College of Business in particular. Getting involved with the steering committee, I rejoined the Pamplin Advisory Council because the Dean who proceeded Dean Robert Sumichrast, had made some changes. I don't take credit for any of those but the reason I resigned earlier were being eliminated by some changes in a very positive sense. I know 45:00that's kind of a jumble of things but it kind of reflects how things happen in a short period of time and how my life changed in terms of engagement with Virginia Tech at the time.

Ren: I don't want to leave out, I guess kind of around the same time and in proceeding years in 2010 you receive Pamplin's Distinguished Alumnus Award which honors alumni for outstanding career accomplishments, contributions to the college, Advisory Board Chair for the Department of Accounting and Information Systems, member of Virginia Tech's 1872 Society, the Pylon's Society, the President's Society, President's Circle. One thing I want to ask you about and kind of how it relates to current students your MBA Fellowship Fund and kind of the three college-wide funds also.

Jim: Well you know it's interesting, once you decide that you want to do something you would think you would have a plan and I really didn't. And so I 46:00sat down with the development staff, the department head for ACIS to talk about, and the dean as well to talk about where my philanthropy might be best utilized. And keep in mind this is bequest kind of stuff so it's future gifts not present for the most part. As I talked to the dean and development staff while my primary focus was on accounting because that's my degree, I wanted to give back reflecting how I had benefited in my career the most. But the dean and the development staff made the case well would you consider doing something more 47:00broadly? And that's where the concept of the MBA Fellowship came up and I said, "Absolutely. I'm really first and foremost for the Department of Accounting but I also believe very strongly in the wellbeing and the future success of the college, Tech as a whole," so that gave me an opportunity to broaden the impact somewhat. It wasn't major in terms of the degree of commitment to that but it was something that reflected a broadening of my scope.

Ren: As we were talking about before we started recording, a two-term member of Virginia Tech Foundation board of directors and with our buddy Dr. Dooley.

Jim: Right.

Ren: I love him. This is just a real simple question and something I like to ask people who really have kind of this history with the university like you do, why give and why did you feel that it was important to leave such a large percentage 48:00of your estate to Virginia Tech?

Jim: I owe Virginia Tech. I mean I feel truly indebted to the university for what I was able to achieve in my career. Without my Virginia Tech education I wouldn't have had the career. I wouldn't have had the happiness in my later life and I wouldn't be where I am today were it not for that education. So I'm profoundly grateful and I attribute every bit of that success more to my education from Virginia Tech than my efforts alone. So giving back became a very natural thing, like why would you not? It's my dividend back to the university and I think it's very natural. It just feels like and it has for a long time now 49:00the right thing to do.

Ren: Wonderful. I want to ask you about there was a gallop survey a couple of years ago that talked about the attachment of alumni to Virginia Tech and how high it was compared to other institutions. What are some reasons you think that are behind that? Why alumni become so engaged and really want to come back, really want to give obviously not at the rate as we would like but what is it about Virginia Tech that makes alumni want to be so engaged?

Jim: You know it's what I would call a spirit of community. I really feel like I was a part of the Virginia Tech community and I feel like I remain so today. One 50:00of the most phenomenal and profound experiences that I've had in recent years being involved in the various advisory boards and attending alumni events and working in fundraising etc., has been the association with fellow alumni. I mean it's just phenomenal. Little did I know when I committed to work on the last campaign that I would have the opportunity to meet so many fellow alumni who shared my passion for Virginia Tech, and to me there is nothing finer than to be around fellow Hokies who share your passion and so I think that's at the heart of it. It is a sense of community because we are Hokie nation and we believe in the university, what it did for us, and we like being around our fellow alums. 51:00It's just a very comfortable very natural, I mean this is home concept. It is very palpable and very real.

Ren: Absolutely.

Jim: And I feel it, I feel it every day and every time I see a fellow Hokie it's like oh my gosh buddy I am so happy to have the chance to be with you and be around you and spend time.

Ren: One thing I don't want to leave out last year at commencement you got a nice honor, can you talk about that?

Jim: It began, I guess when I got a call from Matt Winston about a year ago. It was sometimes in February, I had no idea this was coming, he said, "Jim you are being nominated to receive the Alumni Distinguished Service Award this year," 52:00and I said, "Really?" [Chuckles] And I didn't know Matt well. I had met him and to get this call out of the blue from him and for him to say that to me I was shell-shocked because I didn't expect it and had no idea it was coming and I was absolutely overwhelmed, because before I had received several Pamplin awards and served on the Board of Directors for the foundation and other things but I hadn't really gotten a university award. And to me that was huge because what I had done with Pamplin or within Pamplin all of a sudden became something much larger, much greater and it was recognized by the university from the standpoint of yeah you've done these things largely for the Pamplin College of Business but 53:00the university recognizes it more broadly. And that was huge for me because all of a sudden while you worked for a singular focus in my case toward business and the business education all of a sudden the university recognizes it and that was really meaningful. So I was flattered. I was truly honored. The experience of going to Lane Stadium and being on the stage at the commencement was one that I will never forget. It was a memorable experience and one that meant a phenomenal amount to me personally. You know you don't do things just to receive recognition. You do things because you want to and you believe in them and to get a recognition like that is like oh wow, what did I do to deserve that? And 54:00when I gave my little talk at the recognition dinner the night before commencement I said, "The basic question I've always had and will continue to have is am I worthy?" And I really believe that and I ask myself that all of the time, because there are 250,000 plus or minus living alumni of Virginia Tech and to get such an award is amazing. In that context you know there are 249,999 other potential candidates for this award, so it was something else as an experience.

Ren: As a student who came here in the late 1960s until today things have obviously changed a lot. Can you talk about some of the changes over time, both 55:00the structure and physical landscape of campus but also just some other changes you have noticed and what are your thoughts on some of these changes?

Jim: First of all let me talk about physical changes. Every time I go back to campus which in the last five or ten years has been much more frequent than prior to that obviously, every time I would go back you see something new. You see something that's been added and the campus has continued to improve. I follow the master plan development with great interest. So the physical presence of the campus just becomes more and more enhanced as time goes on and for the better, very positive in that regard. I had the opportunity to serve on one of 56:00the committees for Beyond Boundaries in the early stages and it was a cost revenue, amazing that I would be in a financially oriented committee, right? But it was a cost revenue group working to come up with new revenue ideas and cost-saving ideas. We had a good group. I was the only outsider which was really interesting. There were faculty and staff on this committee and me. It was like I was looking around the room at people were eyeing me like okay, where is this guy going to be coming from and what's he going to have to say. I have to admit that I'm sure I rocked the boat a bit, part of it intentionally, part of it unintentionally, but it was an experience that I really treasured. But I would 57:00have to say that I'm disappointed that none of the ideas that we suggested have been implemented. One of the ideas was to do a cost study. Now this is being very brutally honest but I worry that the growth in non-teaching positions at Virginia Tech has gotten out of control. If you look at all of the staff additions there are a tremendous number of staff additions that are non-teaching roles. I don't have any numbers to back me up on this but I believe that non-teaching positions have outgrown teaching positions by a significant margin in percentage terms. I think you've got to be fiscally responsible. We're in a 58:00period where budget constraints aren't as severe as they were ten years ago when they were pretty severe because of state funding reductions. So it's been a while since public universities in Virginia have been under tight cost constraints from the state funding perspective. Tuition increases have been pretty significant over time and so money is there. There is money to fund all of these non-teaching positions as well as new teaching positions, but I do 59:00worry about that.

Ren: We are wrapping up here and again thank you so much for your time and sharing your story. When you kind of look across campus, you talked just recently about kind of things that concern you. What inspires you about kind of where Virginia Tech is, where they are going, kind of just at large?

Jim: Well there's never been a better time in the history of Virginia Tech than today. I will cite the obvious examples of the innovation campus, the recent $50-million philanthropic donation from the Fralin Foundation. So times are good and you look at Virginia Tech's ascending prominence within the Commonwealth of Virginia I know the people in public universities have got to be green with envy because of what Virginia Tech has gotten. They just didn't get a gift from the 60:00state or anyone else, they earned it. And so what Virginia Tech has done to position itself in a role of prominence in the areas of data analytics, cyber security and those things are just phenomenal. So from the standpoint of these are the best of times absolutely, and it's exciting to be involved with Virginia Tech with all of these things going on so it's really really exciting to be a part of that. Virginia Tech has accomplished a tremendous amount. The period from 2018-2019 has been phenomenal years for Virginia Tech.

Ren: What would you like people to know about you that maybe they don't?


Jim: I'm a very private person. Probably some would call me introverted but I would like to think that Virginia Tech draws out the best in me. Whether others would agree with that or not I don't know, but I've never been afraid to wear my passion on my sleeve and to show it. Sometimes you get funny looks when that happens and other times you get smiles. Some people get it and some don't, but to have an opportunity externalize my true feelings and passion for Virginia Tech is something that I treasure deeply.

Ren: Can I ask you about the picture of the dog behind you?


Jim: In 1999 my best buddy gave me a Golden Retriever. I was there visiting. He and his wife were in Atlanta and I went down to see them and when I got there she was there but he wasn't there and I said, "Where's Charlie?" She said, "Oh he's gone out to run an errand." So about 30 minutes later he comes walking in the door with this cardboard box and he hands me the box and says, "Here, you need a dog." And I didn't know how to take that at the time. It was like what does he mean by that? Does my personality need a little rounding out or do I need to lighten-up or what is it? Well that changed my life and I've been a 63:00lover of Golden Retrievers ever since because they are such sweet adorable dogs, so that's the dog he gave me when she grew up. Her name was Jazz and this artist in Charlotte painted her picture for me.

Ren: Wow.

Jim: And it's her, I mean it's amazing. I still have a Golden Retriever today. My sister has him right now because with my current condition of my foot I can't have him. He's a little rambunctious but it's amazing how much a dog can mean to one's life particularly in my case.

Ren: We have two beagles so I'm a big dog lover. I love dogs. They are great.

Jim: If you aren't a dog lover you don't understand.

Ren: Exactly. Thank you again so much. This is kind of the last question and we will wrap up on this one. It's kind of a big question so if you need some time to think about it feel free. What does Virginia Tech mean to you?

Jim: Virginia Tech means everything to me. I feel so fortunate to be able to say 64:00that I'm a graduate of Virginia Tech, and I really feel sorry for all the people out there who can't make the same claim. That sounds pretty pompous and biased but my intent is to express how fortunate I really feel to have a Virginia Tech education, to be a part of the Hokie family, this community as I call it and there are so many people out there that aren't the beneficiaries of the very same thing. Because they are not such beneficiaries they don't get it and I 65:00understand that, so maybe we keep it as a secret among fellow Hokies as to what that is, but it's something very special. And so if I would point to one thing in my life that I value the greatest it's my Virginia Tech education and being able to call myself a Hokie.

Ren: Jim thank you so much for your philanthropy, your dedication to this place that we both love so much, and thank you for sitting down and sharing your VT story. I really appreciate it.

Jim: My pleasure. Thank you Ren.

Ren: Thanks.