Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, left, and Board of Visitors Rector Horacio Valeiras, right, present Dwight Shelton, center, with his emeritus resolution during the November Board of Visitors meeting. Lee Friesland for Virginia Tech

Dwight Shelton, who retired as Virginia Tech’s vice president for finance and chief financial earlier this fall, has been conferred the title of Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer Emeritus by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The emeritus title may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands in recognition of exemplary service to the university. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive a copy of the resolution and a certificate of appreciation.

An alumnus of Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in business administration from the Pamplin College of Business, Shelton returned to the university in 1979 as director of internal audit. He rose through the ranks, ultimately serving as executive vice president for the Virginia Tech Foundation and the university’s vice president for finance and chief financial officer.

In each of his roles at the university, Shelton’s integrity; commitment to the university’s motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve); strong leadership; collaboration; and transparency fostered mutually respectful relationships with university leadership, state and federal government officials, and other constituents that led to the development of solutions that benefited the university, the state, and higher education.

Shelton prioritized administrative efficiencies, modernizing the controllership throughout the 1980s and 1990s, launching an overhaul of the strategic planning and budgeting process in the late 1990s, and transitioning the university from paper-based business processes to a fully electronic system, significantly improving efficiencies and strengthening internal controls.

Shelton has been the architect of innovative funding strategies that have advanced Virginia Tech’s strategic goals for academic excellence, enrollment growth, access and affordability, research development, and campus expansion, transforming the university into a top-tier institution despite turbulent economic times and unprecedented reductions in state funding.

Among his most important and enduring contributions was the launching the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and devising the Funds for the Future and Beyond Boundaries Scholars programs to increase access and affordability for low- and middle-income Virginia residents.

In 2018, Shelton played a pivotal role in Virginia’s selection as the location of Amazon’s East Coast headquarters (Amazon HQ2) and the corresponding creation of Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia, as Virginia Tech’s input into Virginia's proposal was the most comprehensive and the only one to include a complete financial model. This distinction, along with Shelton’s reputation with state legislative and executive branch leaders, inspired broad support and was integral to the success of this proposal and the advancement of the university.

All these accomplishments illustrate Shelton’s many contributions to state economic development, bringing jobs and innovation to localities across the commonwealth.

Shelton is highly regarded as an astute strategist with an exemplary management style and extensive knowledge in accounting, taxation, capital construction, and finance, along with broad institutional knowledge of Virginia Tech and deep understanding of the higher education landscape and the commonwealth’s educational culture and history.

His expertise has been sought on many major statewide initiatives and he has been frequently asked to serve in leadership positions in professional organizations. Shelton played a key role in developing, planning, and evaluating the Higher Education Restructuring Act of 2005 and the Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011.

He served as president of Fiscal Officers of Colleges and Universities, chair of the Council of State Senior Business Officers, and a board member of the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers.

In recognition of his successes at Virginia Tech and his far-reaching impact on higher education in Virginia, Shelton received the 2019 Virginia CFO Award, sponsored by Virginia Business magazine.

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