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Seeds : Newsletter for Alumni of the Department of Horticulture at Virginia Tech : March 2017
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I hope that this new edition of SEEDS finds you enjoying the beautiful world around you. It is indeed a great time to be a Horticulturist as business in the green industry is booming and interest in nutritious local food has never been higher. In addition to a very strong job market upon graduation, our students find that Horticulture is a great foundation for lifetime learning and that the critical thinking and communication skills learned in our majors serve them well in whatever career they pursue. As mentioned in last year’s SEEDS, we will soon be joining the Plant Pathology, Physiology, & Weed Science (PPWS) and the Crop & Soils Environmental Sciences (CSES) departments to create the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences. The time line for formation of the new school keeps getting shifted forward as we jump through the organizational hoops one at a time, but it seems like we may be organized by this time next year. I would like to assure you that Horticulture is not going anywhere; it will just be living under a new banner. There is plenty of innovative Horticulture in the other two departments and our flag will be flying considerably higher when the three departments become the new school. I am probably most excited about the potential for a stronger undergraduate program. Although we constantly work on improving our programs, the new organization gives us some great opportunities that were not previously available. For example, turf students will now become part of our Landscape Contracting (now Landscape Horticulture and Design) major. This was not possible before since the program was in the CSES department. New cross-cutting majors, such as Ecological Restoration, Sustainable Agriculture, and Plant Science will also be offered by the new school and should attract many new students.