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Engagement among Pamplin College of Business alumni has grown exponentially over the past decade. This growth has resulted in the rapid expansion of the number of advisory boards supporting the college. Where there was once just a handful, there are now more than 20 advisory boards, councils, and societies, including boards with more recent graduates.

With the increase in the number of advisory boards came the problem of how to effectively communicate among the boards and their respective members. Enter the Pamplin Community for Leadership and Engagement, or PCLE.

Formed during the 2019 Pamplin Engagement Summit, the PCLE is not just another advisory board, but was created to establish an association between the different advisory boards, societies, and councils. According to PCLE Chair Jim Hatch (MACCT ’72), the group builds upon Pamplin’s Principles of Community, sharing best practices, providing a forum for increased collaboration between boards, and, ultimately, creating a more informed and engaged Pamplin alumni base.

“A large part of what the PCLE is all about is alumni engagement. We are trying to build a community, to build a more informed, sharing, and collaborative team,” Hatch explained.

“Before the creation of the PCLE, there was no means for all of the boards to communicate with one another,” continued Hatch.

Our outreach is extensive and provides an opportunity to spread the word and generate greater levels of alumni engagement.”

The PCLE is comprised of representatives from the advisory boards guiding the college and its departments, centers, and programs. The team is led by a seven-member board of directors appointed by Pamplin Dean Robert Sumichrast.

“We have been very fortunate to have the ongoing support of Dean Sumichrast,” said Hatch.

“The fact that we have so many boards in Pamplin is a real advantage to us,” said Dean Sumichrast. “It means that we have hundreds of Pamplin alumni who are actively participating in Pamplin.”

He continued, “PCLE is our opportunity for these groups to learn from each other.”

The PCLE itself is not an advisory board, Hatch noted, and is not authorized to recommend changes to the college’s boards. “Our mission is to strengthen the individual and collective impact of Pamplin’s advisory boards and to foster a stronger sense of community among them,” Hatch said.

“The PCLE is a vibrant organization which reaches more than 500 members of the various alumni boards,” said Hatch.

In the coming months, much of the aforementioned outreach is anticipated to be about the impact of the Global Business and Analytics Complex, or GBAC.

“PCLE will strive to support GBAC with continued updates, as well as information as to what the project will mean to students, alumni, and staff,” Hatch explained.

PCLE members, of whom there are currently 18, serve terms consistent with their advisory board appointment.    

The members represent 18 different boards, societies, and councils, and are typically board chairs or presidents. The PCLE meets quarterly and hopes to have its first in-person meeting since the October 2019 Summit this Fall.     

According to Dean Sumichrast, the PCLE may set an example for Virginia Tech’s other colleges.

“With the PCLE, Pamplin can be seen as the leading college when it comes to ways to engage our alumni,” he said.