A letter by Michael J. Friedlander

“The vibrant arts community and the cultural richness of Roanoke have been major factors in the ability of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC to attract leading medical research teams and their families to Roanoke.

These individuals bring not only their externally funded research programs that provide high-paying jobs and purchases in the community, but they bring along their own culturally diverse family members and co-workers from across the United States and from international locations as well, who are very interested in the cultural aspects of our city. 

I am pleased to share not only the outstanding scientific and medical opportunities that Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic have to offer for these individuals’ careers and their passion for research, but also to share with them our community’s natural beauty and the many venues for artistic expression and enjoyment here. Resources such as the Taubman Museum, the Mill Mountain Theatre, the Jefferson Center, the Roanoke Symphony and the opera, in addition to the international cuisine and many festivals, are a major factor in what makes Roanoke attractive. 

These are the types of things one expects in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Charlotte and Chicago, but not always in smaller cities like Roanoke. Thus, it is a fantastic experience when I see the delight and often surprise in our visitors’ eyes when I share these opportunities with them. Often, after we have discussed the terms of their recruitment to the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC for their research operations, it is this discovery of Roanoke’s arts and its cultural side that seals the deal.

We are very fortunate to have such a rich and vibrant cultural ecosystem here. There is no doubt that it is a major contributor to the economic vitality of Roanoke now and into the future.” 

Michael J. Friedlander, Ph.D.

Founding Executive Director, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, Vice President for Health Sciences and Technology, Virginia Tech

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