Laura Belmonte Named Dean of the College

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Laura Belmonte
Laura Belmonte

Following a national search, Virginia Tech Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke has appointed Laura Belmonte as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Belmonte will begin at Virginia Tech on Aug. 1.

“Laura’s strong record of scholarship, leadership, and achievement made her the ideal candidate to lead our College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences,” Clarke said. “We are excited to have her join our team as dean and develop her vision for leading and serving the college’s students, faculty, and staff.”

Belmonte currently serves as associate dean for instruction and personnel at Oklahoma State University.

“I am honored to lead a college with a remarkable legacy of outstanding research and innovative teaching addressing all facets of the human experience,” Belmonte said. “I’m thrilled to support Virginia Tech’s visionary leadership and world-class partners and people in advancing knowledge, improving society, and celebrating diversity.”

Rosemary Blieszner, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Human Development, has served as dean of the college since 2017 and will be returning to the faculty in the fall.

“Rosemary’s leadership and service to our College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences as dean has been exemplary,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “She has distinguished herself as a leader, academician, and advocate for the college. I am grateful she will continue to be a part of our campus community and look forward to joining her in welcoming Laura to her new role at the college and Virginia Tech.”

Belmonte joined the faculty at Oklahoma State University in 1996 and during her tenure has served as the director of American studies and head of the Department of History before taking on her current role in 2018. A specialist in the history of U.S. foreign relations, she is author of Selling the American Way: U.S. Propaganda and the Cold War and numerous articles on cultural diplomacy. Her most recent book, A History of the International LGBT Movement, will be published by Bloomsbury as part of the series “New Approaches to International History.”

At Oklahoma State, Belmonte was a co-founder of both the American Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies programs. During her tenure as department head, she brought in donor funding to support additional endowed positions, worked creatively to increase the revenue of the department during a period of budget retrenchments, and piloted an initiative to strengthen the department’s ability to serve underrepresented students and to diversify the faculty.

Belmonte serves on the nominating committee of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. She has also served on the society’s national council and the editorial board of its official journal, Diplomatic History. She is serving her third three-year term on the U.S. Department of State’s Advisory Committee for Historical Diplomatic Documentation, a group that participates in ongoing debates over transparency and declassification and the intersections between historical events and contemporary diplomacy.

Belmonte holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Georgia and a master of arts and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech combines the wide-ranging intellectual exploration of the liberal arts with the technological advantages of a leading university and the civic engagement of a land-grant institution. Recognizing that technology alone is never a solution and that innovation is fundamentally a human achievement, the college brings the perspectives of the arts, humanities, and social sciences to achieve meaningful solutions to complex human problems.

— Written by Rachel Gabriele