Virginia Tech has renamed its New Cadet Hall as Pearson Hall West to recognize the continued generosity of alumni couple J. and Renae Pearson.

Pearson Hall West is the newer of two residence halls that the university has opened on its Upper Quad since 2015 to accommodate growth in the Corps of Cadets program. The first of those two halls, which was already named for the Pearsons in recognition of their giving, is now known as Pearson Hall East.

The naming of Pearson Hall West recognizes the Pearsons’ commitment of extraordinarily generous additional support. The Pearsons directed a majority of that support to the corps, but athletics, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences also benefitted.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Pearsons, and proud to recognize them as the namesakes of two residence halls,” Virginia Tech President Tim Sands said. “Pearson Hall East and West are a testament to the breadth and depth of J. and Renae’s commitment to Virginia Tech and the Corps of Cadets. They also demonstrate the impact that the Virginia Tech experience and spirit of Ut Prosim can have on students, families, and communities.”

Ut Prosim, Latin for “That I May Serve,” is Virginia Tech’s university motto.

Renae and J. Pearson at the 2015 dedication of what is now Pearson Hall East at Virginia Tech.
Renae and J. Pearson at the 2015 dedication of what is now Pearson Hall East.

The Pearsons, who live in Lavonia, Georgia, met while living on the Upper Quad as cadets.

“Our experiences at Virginia Tech and in the Corps of Cadets helped shape us into the people we are today and laid a foundation for all of the professional and personal successes that we have had,” said Renae Pearson, who earned her bachelor’s in family and child development in 1990. “We get a great deal of joy from seeing the accomplishments of today’s Hokies and are happy to be able to give back.”

J. Pearson earned his bachelor’s in agricultural and applied economics in 1987. He is the founder of the private equity firm P & L Enterprises LLC. Earlier in his career, he founded Carry-on Trailer Inc., a manufacturer of trailers, trailer parts, and related accessories.

“I’m happy to give to Virginia Tech because it has played such a major role in the life of my family,” J. Pearson said. “Tech is where my uncle, [a member of the] Class of ’50, and my sister, [a member of the] Class of ’84, went. It’s where I met my wife and where we learned skills and character that helped us succeed. It’s where our daughter, [a member of the] Class of 2018, graduated, and our son will graduate in 2020. It’s also where we learned what Ut Prosim means. And that’s the code we try to live by.”

The Pearsons also support Virginia Tech as highly engaged volunteers. Renae Pearson serves on the Virginia Tech Foundation Board and the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Dean’s Roundtable. J. Pearson is president of the alumni board for the Corps of Cadets, a member of the steering committee for Boundless Impact: The Campaign for Virginia Tech, and a member of the advisory board for the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.

“J. and Renae are an inspiration to be around,” said Charlie Phlegar, Virginia Tech’s vice president for advancement. “Their generosity is remarkable, but so are the energy and insights that they bring while serving in many other ways. They are tremendous partners to have as we strive to reach new heights as a university.”

Aerial view of Pearson Hall West and East, flanking Lane Hall on Virginia Tech’s Upper Quad.
Pearson Hall West and East flank Lane Hall on Virginia Tech’s Upper Quad.

Virginia Tech’s athletics director, Whit Babcock, said that “J. and Renae are true leaders within our community of Hokie supporters. Their generosity makes a profound impact on the success of our programs and in the lives of our student-athletes.”

Pearson Hall East and West stand atop a hill alongside Alumni Mall, a prominent road into campus. Combined, the halls can house 1,095 cadets. Their construction was part of an ongoing transformation of the Upper Quad section of campus, which includes adding a Corps Leadership and Military Science Building and another new residence hall. The new hall will house about 300 cadets. Cadet enrollment is projected to grow to 1,400 over the next few years.

“It’s impossible to walk down the Alumni Mall and not notice the cadet residence halls sitting up on that hill,” said Maj. Gen. Randal Fullhart, the corps commandant. “Pearson Hall East and West are prominent symbols of how much our program is thriving. J. and Renae’s generosity has done a great deal to make that possible. We’re proud to have the Pearsons’ name on our buildings and are thankful for their extraordinary support.”

Written by Albert Raboteau