UPDATE 2:29 p.m.: Amid Virginia Tech’s sesquicentennial celebration, President Tim Sands took the stage Wednesday afternoon to deliver his sixth State of the University address.

Sands opened his speech by thanking members of the Hokie community for wearing masks, getting vaccinated, and more in order to protect themselves and others amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, research from Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and Fralin Life Sciences Institute helped the university adapt to the evolving nature of COVID-19.

Follow these links to learn more about the university’s public health requirements and pandemic response.

Sands also extended his appreciation to the university leaders — both new and old — who have helped make this year a success, as well as the dedicated athletics community and fanbase, including new head football coach Brent Pry.

According to Sands, Virginia Tech’s 150th anniversary is not just a celebration of the school’s future, but a time to reflect on its past and learn from those who paved the way to the present.

After all, by learning from the university’s history, Hokies can join together and broaden their impact going forward, creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive school, officials say.

In fact, Virginia Tech says it already welcomed a historic class of Hokies, filled with diversity and talent, during the 2020-2021 admissions cycle.

This is a pivotal moment for Virginia Tech,” Sands said.

The address also served as a reminder that whether students are on the Blacksburg campus or studying online, they are part of the growing Virginia Tech community.

After all, Virginia Tech also ended 2021 with a record-breaking donation that will contribute to the construction of new spaces for Hokies to research, work, and study.

Moving forward, the school is taking steps to advance towards its goal of becoming a top-100 global research university, such as the launch of the Blacksburg-based Virginia Tech Center for Quantum Information Science and Engineering.

Meanwhile, as the university is growing, Sands says the goal is responsible growth. As a result, Virginia Tech has a Climate Action Commitment and a pathway to sustainability.

The university president did address sexual violence on campus — especially since Virginia Tech Police has received more than a dozen reports of sexual assaults since August — saying, “the safety of our community is our highest priority.”

Sands has already established the Sexual Violence Culture and Climate Work Group to help end sexual violence and improve prevention programming.

He also shared a reminder about Virginia Tech Giving Day, a 24-hour event running from Feb. 23-24 that allows Hokies to unite, give back, and make a powerful impacts.

“Every Hokie — wherever you learn, work, teach, and serve — has an important role to play,” Sands said. “That’s what we mean when we say ‘this is home.”

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Members of the Hokie community are invited to join Virginia Tech President Tim Sands Wednesday afternoon — either in-person or virtually — as he delivers his sixth State of the University address.

The event starts at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 19 at the Moss Arts Center.

However, if you want to attend in person, you will need to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result before entering the arts center.

You can also watch a livestream of Wednesday’s address below: