Martha Sullivan honored at New River Leading Light Ceremony

On April 11, 2019, Industrial Design Assistant Professor of Practice, Martha Sullivan, was named as a New River Valley Leading Light. Awardees are nominated by local organizations and schools in recognition of their community service. Sullivan was nominated for her work volunteering for Blue Mountain School as President of their Board of Trustees, serving as a Board Member and Chair of the Development Committee at the Floyd Center for the Arts, volunteering as a Troop Leader for Girl Scouts in Floyd, volunteering as a graphic designer for The Catherine Elizabeth Blair Memorial Foundation, and organizing the annual event at Virginia Tech, Empty Bowls, which raised over $5000 for Micah’s Backpack this semester.

At the event, Sullivan was gifted a Nominee’s Certificate and a New River Valley Leading Light Pin, along with fellow Floyd nominee Darcie Luster, recognized for her efforts in animal welfare. Travis Cantrell, founder of, was recognized as Floyd’s Distinguished Recipient for his assistance given to families in Floyd with children under 18 who are fighting cancer.  Travis has been involved with and Joshua’s Hope for over a decade. Sarah Merfield and Chris Wolf were recognized in the program as Floyd County nominees as well. Congratulations to all!

The New River Valley Leading Lights’ vision is to strengthen our community by inspiring a culture of volunteerism. Their mission is to acknowledge and honor volunteers across the NRV who are making community-changing impacts, culminating in an annual celebratory banquet.

The program and recognition of community members began in 2007, prompted by the outpouring of voluntary service after the 4/16 shootings at Virginia Tech. These events demonstrated the extraordinary compassion of ordinary citizens who united in service to others. It has now celebrated ten strong years.

The Virginia Tech German Club Alumni Foundation is a major sponsor of the program and has teamed up with area non-profits to create a way to recognize citizens in the New River Valley for their service. The Board of Directors, which coordinates fundraising, plans the ceremony, and vets the Leading Lights, includes representatives from charities, the NRV faith community, and three colleges.