Patricia Raun, director of the Center for Communicating Science at Virginia Tech, and a professor of theatre arts in the School of Performing Arts in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, will deliver the keynote address at Virginia Tech’s 2019 fall Graduate School commencement ceremony on Dec. 20.

Raun served as department head of theatre and as director of the School of Performing Arts from 2002 to 2016. She has since shifted her focus to understanding how the tools of the theatre can be used to develop communication skills for scientists, technology professionals, and scholars — helping them discover ways to become more direct, personal, spontaneous, and responsive. Her research focuses on empathy development, serious games and roleplay, collaborative problem-solving, and values-based leadership.

Raun has served on the boards of a variety of national organizations, including the Southeastern Theatre Conference, the Association of Theatre in Higher Education, the Voice and Speech Trainers Association, and the National Association of Schools of Theatre.

She received her M.F.A. from Pennsylvania State University’s Professional Actor Training Program and a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Raun has earned many honors for her leadership and teaching, including a 2010 Virginia Tech Excellence in Administration Award, a 2011 College of Arts and Architecture Alumni Award from Penn State, and a 2017 College of Fine and Performing Arts Outstanding Alumni Award from the University of Nebraska.

This past spring, Raun and her colleague, Carrie Kroehler, received the Alumni Award for Excellence in Outreach from Virginia Tech for their work supporting scientists’ needs to tell their stories.