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Dr. Frank Shushok

Frank Shushok, Jr.

If you’ve spent much time with Frank Shushok, you’ve heard his call to remember the “why,” or purpose, of our work -- beyond the daily tasks and obligations. Frank’s “why” is clear: to serve humanity as an educator. In 2018, he wrote: “When a single student finds a calling, becomes compelled by the cause of justice, learns to care for humanity, discovers a talent, hones a skill, or finds the courage to speak up for a value, the world stretches…I cannot think of a better way to spend a life.”

An outstanding colleague and a warm and generous person, he is a true champion of learning, both in and outside of the classroom. Frank is committed to providing our students with the best possible education, and to making the Virginia Tech experience stronger and better.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2009, Frank is a highly regarded national leader in higher education.

Little did Frank know when he became Vice President in 2020 that he would be called to lead Student Affairs as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world. As it turned out, Frank’s deep care for people, strong moral compass, and unparalleled work ethic made him the leader we needed at that very moment. He communicated with students often and truthfully, and was equally candid in his monthly messages to concerned Hokie families.

With a true understanding and commitment to our university motto, Frank said, “Intentionally embracing Ut Prosim as a way of life does not happen in a moment but instead through hundreds of daily decisions over years of living. Ut Prosim compels us to model love — in whatever shape it is most needed at any given time. This is so easily said, but so hard to do. Virginia Tech prepares us to go out beyond our comfort—with courage—to serve. At any given moment, our lives are begging us to evaluate where our service might next be needed. When we say yes to use our lives to serve, that’s Ut Prosim.

Despite his enormous responsibilities, Frank always puts people first—particularly students. He is known for asking deep questions that help others pursue self-understanding and embrace their unique potential.

A student Frank has mentored for the past few years said it best: “Frank is the sole reason I get to stand here, and I don’t think I can thank him enough for exponentially changing not only my life but also the lives of many students and staff on this campus.”

We have so much to thank Frank for – and it has been a wild ride.

Frank said, “From introducing strengths-based learning, to residential colleges, the Aspirations for Student Learning, Experience VT, building the Creativity and Innovation Living-Learning Community, and the forthcoming Quillen Spirit Plaza, I’ve been surrounded by dreamers willing to take risks to design a different future. It has been a blast and we can be proud of what we have achieved with and for students at Virginia Tech.”

As Frank departs Virginia Tech to become the President of Roanoke College, he leaves an enormous legacy, including the Aspirations we celebrate today. But it his spirit of hope and service that leave the biggest mark. He consistently signs his communications with the phrase “with hope,” and that is just what he has given us.

It is an honor to present the Aspire! Award for EMBRACE UT PROSIM AS A WAY OF LIFE to Frank Shushok.