Dr. Virgil Wood will join SPIA as a Ridenour Faculty Fellow this year beginning in the Fall. Dr. Wood, a veteran civil rights activist and former lieutenant to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will lead the Beloved Community Initiative, a partnership between Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs, University Distinguished Professor Marc Edwards and Professor Amy Pruden (both of Civil and Environmental Engineering) and the Office of the Provost. The initiative will focus on environmental justice, inclusive economics, and community change, linking key partnerships in Flint, Michigan, Roanoke, Richmond, and several towns in Virginia and West Virginia, to innovative scholarship to explore and pursue Dr. King’s ideal of the Beloved Community. Professors Ralph Hall and Max Stephenson of SPIA, and Professors Edwards and Pruden, along with Dr. Wood, will provide leadership for this initiative. Throughout this year, and years to follow, this effort will serve as a platform for engagement and change through partnerships, praxis, and research. It will be integral to our efforts to promote strong public and civil society leadership and scholarship. An audio recording of Dr. Wood as a guest on the Institute for Policy and Governance Trustees Without Borders podcast series can be found here.