Virginia’s two land-grant universities, Virginia State University (VSU) in Ettrick and Blacksburg’s Virginia Tech, offer a diverse range of agricultural degree programs designed to prepare students to take on the career of their choice upon graduation.
From agribusiness and animal science to agricultural education and environmental science, these institutions have a wide variety of majors to suit ag degree seekers of all kinds. Combine that with the unique resources and opportunities both Virginia Tech and VSU offer and it’s no wonder why so many graduates are finding success in the industry.
Virginia Tech Grad Grows Successful Career in Agronomy
When Carroll County native Eric Frazier began his undergraduate career at Virginia Tech in 1996, he planned to earn a degree in business – but before long, he changed his major to crop and soil sciences with an emphasis on turfgrass management, which is part of the university’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
“I became interested in turfgrass while I was a student at Virginia Tech, and that led me to crop and soil sciences,” Frazier says. “I was fortunate to have chosen a school with a fantastic agriculture program because I didn’t even realize that’s what I wanted to pursue when I enrolled.”
Frazier completed two internships while attending Virginia Tech – one at Kingsmill Resort and the other at Two Rivers Country Club, both in Williamsburg – and after graduating with his bachelor’s degree in 2000, he went to work for The Country Club of Virginia in Richmond, where he spent just over eight years and eventually became the golf course superintendent.
In 2008, Frazier took on his current role as the director of agronomy at Willow Oaks Country Club in Richmond, overseeing all of the club’s turfgrass and horticulture programs and ensuring the golf course’s grass remains strong and healthy throughout the year.
“People may not think of agriculture when they hear about what I do, but I’m basically a grass farmer,” Frazier says. “I deal with pests and soil and fertility issues, along with environmental factors, much like a row-crop farmer, and I use ag-based knowledge and skills daily.”
As he has built his career, Frazier has remained involved with his alma mater, serving on both the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni Organization Board of Directors and the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Leadership Council for several years. In addition, thanks to his continued success, the university recognized Frazier with the 2009-10 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Outstanding Recent Alumni Award for the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences.
Frazier has fond memories of his time at Virginia Tech and credits the university with bringing him and his wife, a fellow Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences graduate, together, and that’s part of why he continues to give back. However, he says he also enjoys serving the university as an alumnus because it allows him to connect with other Virginia Tech Hokies on a regular basis.
“Even though Virginia Tech is a large school with a sizable student body, there’s a tight-knit community that’s warm and welcoming. I remember feeling at home right away,” Frazier says. “I’ve been a proud Hokie since day one, and I think a lot of alumni feel that way. Whenever I meet someone else who went to school at Virginia Tech, we form an immediate bond, and that’s pretty special.”