John G. Rocovich served on the board of visitors from 1997 to 2005 and was appointed to a term to serve from 2010 through 2014 and was rector from 2002 to 2004.
Rocovich was born in Roanoke, Va., on Jan. 19, 1945. He graduated from Blacksburg High School in 1963 and attended Virginia Tech, graduating cum laude from the College of Business in 1966. He attended law school at the University of Richmond and earned his juris doctorate and passed the Virginia bar in 1967. Rocovich then entered New York University, where he graduated with his Master of Law in taxation in 1968.
Rocovich returned to Roanoke to establish the law firm Moss & Rocovich, where he practices taxation and trusts and estates law. He has been admitted to the bar in Virginia, District of Columbia, U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and the 4th and 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
Rocovich has also made Virginia Tech the central focus of his life, with much of his work in support of the university and often behind the scenes. In 1986, Rocovich orchestrated a $4.7 million gift for the benefit of Virginia Tech's Chemistry Department to create the Harvey W. Peters Research Center for the Study of Parkinson's Disease and Disorders of the Central Nervous System. Since its founding, the endowment, directed by Rocovich, has grown to $11.5 million, and the center has made strides in the understanding of the disease.
In 1987, Rocovich arranged another gift to the university. This time, two departments in the College of Engineering were endowed, each with a $5 million gift. Each year, the growing return from the endowment funds several dozen undergraduate and graduate scholarships and fellowships in the Harry Lynde Bradley Department of Electrical and Computing Engineering and in the Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The endowment also funds several other programs.
The colleges of Engineering, Business, Natural Resources, and Arts and Sciences have each benefited from Rocovich's allegiance. So have the Corps of Cadets, the Athletic Association, and the 4-H Center. In recognition of his support, the John G. Rocovich Shooting Sports Complex at the W.E. Skelton 4-H Educational Conference Center was named for Rocovich. He served as member and president of the Virginia Tech Foundation, was president of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, and on the board of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Alumni Foundation. He served on the board of visitors for one term, from 1997 to 2005, and as rector from 2002 to 2004, and is serving a second term that started in 2010.
His interest and support extends beyond Virginia Tech to other areas of education and civic organizations. He founded the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg and is the Chairman of its board of directors. He also was a member of the board of trustees of Mary Baldwin College, a member of the board of visitors of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, a member of the Education Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, a member of the board of directors and treasurer of the Western Virginia Foundation for Arts and Sciences, member of the board of directors of the Art Museum of Western Virginia, a member of the board of trustees and chairman of the Virginia Museum of Natural History. He served as a member of the Governor's Commission on Champion Schools from 1994 to 1996, was a member of the Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education from 1998 to 2000, and a member of the Governor's Distance Learning Steering Committee from 1999 to 2000.
To recognize his contributions to the university, Rocovich was presented with the Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 2000.