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McClanahan to leave ASL to lead Tech Foundation


Former Virginia Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth McClanahan

Former Virginia Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth McClanahan has been hired as CEO of the Virginia Tech Foundation, the school announced Dec. 21.

McClanahan will become foundation CEO on June 1, 2021, succeeding the retiring John Dooley, according to a news release. The foundation CEO is a member of the Virginia Tech president’s cabinet.

McClanahan now serves as president and dean of the Appalachian School of Law.

The foundation manages the university’s endowment, has an extensive real estate portfolio, and encourages economic development by fostering connections between Virginia Tech and numerous partners, the release said.

“The foundation is deeply involved in realizing the university’s mission and vision,” Virginia Tech President Tim Sands said. “Elizabeth brings a wealth of experiences in law, leadership and higher education, and I look forward to working closely with her on our key strategic initiatives and partnerships.”

McClanahan has served as an adjunct professor of finance and senior advisor to the dean in Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business since September 2019, the school said. She also has a daughter attending Virginia Tech.

McClanahan has served as the Williamson Fellow at the College of William & Mary law school and taught at the Wake Forest business school. She has chaired the State Council of Higher Education and also has served on the W&M Board of Visitors as vice-rector and on the Board of Trustees for Emory & Henry College.

McClanahan earned her bachelor’s degree from W&M and her law degree from the University of Dayton. She is admitted to the bar in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. Her law career includes having served as a shareholder at Penn, Stuart & Eskridge; being chief deputy attorney general for Virginia; and serving as a Virginia Court of Appeals judge before joining the Supreme Court of Virginia in 2011. She retired from the bench in 2019.

Dooley, the outgoing foundation CEO, plans to help McClanahan transition into her new position, the release said. Years ago, he was executive director of the Virginia 4-H Foundation while she was a member of its board.

“She really knows well the public-higher-education community in Virginia,” Dooley said. “She’s been in positions where she has seen the value that higher education brings to the economic vitality of the state, and I’m sure that will be of benefit as she assumes this role.”

McClanahan’s accomplishments as president of ASL include establishing a partnership between the school, Ballad Health and the Pamplin College of Business on a project to combine health and legal services at a single point of care, the release said. Pamplin faculty experts will use analytics to track and measure the program’s success as part of their research. As president and dean, McClanahan also played a leading role in ASL’s fundraising.