The Rotary Club of Christiansburg-Blacksburg presented its 2023 Citizen of the Year Award to Dr. Edward Spencer at their April 10 meeting. The Citizen of the Year Award honors a non-Rotarian whose voluntary acts and services have made the Christiansburg-Blacksburg area a better place in which to live. Dr. Spencer’s life of volunteerism and service has unquestionably improved lives throughout the New River Valley.
Dr. Spencer, Vice President Emeritus for Student Affairs, retired in 2012 after 30 years of service to Virginia Tech. While working, he was active in leadership roles with the Blacksburg Presbyterian Church; United Way of Montgomery, Floyd and Radford; Free Clinic of the New River Valley, Planned Parenthood of the Blue Ridge; Town/Gown Community Relations Committee; Giles Community Apartments Corporation; and Westminster Presbyterian Homes. In retirement, he has focused his attention on two organizations that help the elderly. As Citizen of the Year Committee Chair Doug McAlister noted, “In the New River Valley, we are fortunate that when people retire, they don’t stop working.”
Dr. Spencer has been on the board of directors of Warm Hearth Village since 2013, becoming the chairman of the board in 2016. In this role, he has overseen the development of the Woods Edge active adult community, Warm Hearth at Home home health care service, a Carilion Clinic Family Practice sited within Warm Hearth Village, and replacement of the longtime CEO after her recent retirement. Current President and CEO of Warm Hearth Village William Lester said of Dr. Spencer, “From my point of view, I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award. Ed has generously volunteered his time and shared talents with our employees, residents and the community while positioning the Warm Hearth Village Board of Directors for success for years to come.”
Upon receiving the 2023 Citizen of the Year Award from the Rotary Club of Christiansburg-Blacksburg, Dr. Spencer said, “I think role models are important,” and that he traces his passion for volunteerism back to his father who volunteered throughout his life, including for 26 years after retirement. He finds inspiration for the organizations where he volunteers from his father and mother-in-law who lived at Warm Hearth Village and his wife Norrine who died in hospice care. Dr. Spencer concurred with McAlister, expressing his gratitude for the many Virginia Tech employees and graduates in the area who take “Ut Prosim” to heart, continuing to “work” as volunteers long into retirement and improving our collective quality of life.