Virginia Tech® home

Giving to Fralin

FLSI Buildings

Since the establishment of the original Fralin Biotechnology Center in 1995, cutting-edge life science research has expanded significantly and continues to grow - and it was all made possible by an endowment provided by Horace Fralin.

Fralin’s contribution and the gifts of subsequent donors, such as Tracy D. Wilkins - the former director of the Fralin Life Science Institute - continue to provide funding for student scholarships, faculty stipends, laboratory resources, and equipment. Specifically, proceeds from the Fralin endowment are used to match contributions and grants from other sources to continue the outreach, teaching, and research missions of the Fralin Life Sciences Institute. 

In April 2019, Virginia Tech transferred the resources of the Biocomplexity Institute into the Fralin Life Sciences Institute at Virginia Tech on the Blacksburg campus. In doing so, Virginia Tech plans to support life sciences research across the university by providing “room to grow” through shared laboratories and catalyzing collaboration and partnership.

Shared research facilities supporting the life sciences will provide core resources across departments and disciplines. Staffed by expert technicians and guided by user needs, these facilities will drive efficiencies and promote collaborations across the research enterprise. This model will allow for scale and quality of investment not currently available to individual researchers, departments, or colleges; efficiencies of scale for service and infrastructure; and strategic support for university priorities.

Co-funded faculty in strategic thematic thrusts and promising research projects will have the potential to receive additional university support for strategic hires for faculty and retention of key faculty to engage in emerging areas of research excellence.

For information about how to donate to the Fralin Life Sciences Institute, please visit the Virginia Tech Foundation website.

Horace Fralin: An Eye to the Future

Horace Fralin

Following his graduation in 1948 with a degree in electrical engineering, the late Horace Fralin went on to forge a partnership in Fralin and Waldron Inc., a company that specialized in federal housing programs, health care facilities, and retirement centers. The company has also been involved with the rehabilitation of buildings in downtown Roanoke.

Fralin was a charter member of Virginia Tech's Ut Prosim Society and was a Corporate Distinguished Benefactor, founding member of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center Board of Directors, and served as president of the Virginia Tech Foundation.  He served on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, College of Engineering Committee of 100 Advisory Board, Virginia Tech Foundation Executive and Finance Committee, and was chairman of the Hotel Roanoke advisory committee.

The Virginia Tech Alumni Association recognized his leadership by honoring Fralin with the Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award, and in 1992 the university conferred upon him its most distinguished award for service, the William H. Ruffner Medal.

Fralin's bequest to Virginia Tech, valued at $8.6 million, is one of the largest gifts in university history. Four million dollars of his gift was, at his request, earmarked for the study and application of biotechnology. These funds have been used to create a permanent endowment for the institute. The proceeds from the endowment are used to match contributions and grants from other sources to continue the outreach, teaching, and research missions of the Fralin Center. Through this endowment, Horace Fralin will continue to support research in the fields of human and animal health and agricultural productivity forever.