Virginia Tech continuing and professional education specialist dies

BLACKSBURG, Va., April 20, 2004 – Virginia Tech Professor Emeritus of Continuing Education Linda Gail Leffel of Blacksburg, who planned, coordinated, and delivered more than 2,500 professional and advanced continuing education programs for the university, died April 8 after a long illness. She was 59.

Raised in Bluefield, W.Va., Leffel received her B.S. degree from Concord College. She earned her master's and doctorate in education at Virginia Tech in 1973 before beginning her career with the university as a member of the faculty and as an administrator in various capacities in the Division of Continuing Education (CE). She served as director of program development from 1988 until 2001, when she was named head of market research. She resigned in 2002 for health reasons.

During her career, the programs her department delivered generated more than $46 million in gross revenue and more than $10 million in net revenue for CE and the colleges. She also administered 400 continuing education, non-credit programs each year.

For over thirty years, Linda served the University and the people of the Commonwealth with distinction," said John E. Dooley, vice provost for Outreach and International Affairs. "She was a giant in the continuing and professional education field whose leadership and contributions will be felt for years to come."

Leffel directed the team that developed the first multidisciplinary teleconference series for Virginia Tech, reaching more than 4,000 individuals in 33 states. Under her leadership, the program development team produced a business plan that resulted in $1.2 million in external funding and provided nationally recognized market research on the need for workforce training. She also led and served on many university, Extension, and National University Continuing Education Association (NUCEA) committees and was a featured speaker at NUCEA annual meetings.

As director of market research, she collaborated on the research for and authored the text of the "Market Research Study: Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program." She wrote, researched, and collaborated on numerous other research and outreach endeavors and won many regional, state, and national awards during her 30-year career at Virginia Tech.

Funeral services were held April 12 in Bluefield, W. Va., with burial at Roselawn Memorial Gardens in Princeton, W.Va.

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