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Short biography

Education:

·       Ph.D. 1993 and MA 1989 Anthropology (Maya archaeology) Tulane University

·       MBA (Operations Research) - University of Virginia 1965

·       BA (Physics) - Princeton University 1963

 Work:

·       2007-present Professor of Anthropology and Science Education, Longwood University

·       1992-2007 Director, Science Museum of Virginia

Maya archaeologist; Co-PI: Electronic Atlas of Ancient Maya Sites

·       1985-1992 Independent consultant / Teacher / Doctoral student / Field archaeologist

·       1969-1984 The Computer Company, a facilities management and time-sharing business

·       1970-1984 CEO, Director

·       1969 Co-founder, VP, Director

·       1965-1969 IBM, installing scientific computer systems

Offices, appointments, and awards:

·       2007 onward Professor of Anthropology and Science Education, Longwood University

·       2001 onward, Research Fellow, Middle American Research Institute, Tulane University

·       2008 onward President, Virginia Rail Policy Institute

·       2006-07 Professor of Life Sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University

·       2006-07 Leader-in-Residence, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond

·       2003-04 President, Virginia Academy of Science

·       2001-03 President, international Association of Science Technology Centers

·       2003 Virginia Biotechnology Educator of the Year Award, Virginia Biotechnology Association

·       2001 Humanities and Sciences Distinguished Adjunct Award - Division of Social Sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University

·       1992 Outstanding Adjunct, University College, Tulane University

               Walter R. T. Witschey has more than 40 years experience in business management in both the public and private sectors. He served 14 years as President and CEO of a computer services business and has an extensive background as an independent business and systems management consultant. He has also taught at several major universities in the southeast. From 1992 until 2007 he served as the Director of the Science Museum of Virginia, a large state-agency multi-site science center network. He is past president of the international Association of Science-Technology Centers, and past president of the Virginia Academy of Science. In July 2007 he took up a full-time appointment on the faculty of Longwood University as Professor of Anthropology and Science Education.

               Witschey held appointments as Leader-in-Residence at the University of Richmond’s Jepson School of Leadership Studies, and as Professor of Life Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2006-2007.

               After receiving a BA in Physics from Princeton University, and an MBA in Operations Research from the Colgate W. Darden Graduate School of Business Administration of the University of Virginia, Witschey joined IBM as a Systems Engineer and Marketing Representative for Scientific Systems, serving the Medical College of Virginia, the University of Virginia, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and business clients throughout Virginia.

               In 1969, he co-founded The Computer Company, and under his leadership for fourteen years, the business grew from zero to a profitable $32 million enterprise with 1,200 employees. The Company served the Virginia Medical Assistance Program (MEDICAID) for more than two decades. His business provided Medicaid-related services to more than a dozen states. Other services included nationwide timesharing services, airline strategic decision systems, microform production, and Richmond's first retail computer store. In 1983, he arranged for the sale of the business to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Virginia. The successor company operates as First Health Services Corp.

               In 1985 he entered the Ph.D. program in Anthropology at Tulane University. He directed an on-going program of archaeological field research at Muyil, an ancient Maya site on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, with the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History. His field research continues today, with focus on settlement pattern theory. He is a research fellow of the Middle American Research Institute, Tulane University. He is Co-PI of the Electronic Atlas of Ancient Maya Sites, and produced a chapter for Quintana Roo Archaeology, published in late 2005.

               Upon completing his M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology (Maya Archaeology), Witschey accepted appointment in 1992 as director of the Science Museum of Virginia, the second Director in the Museum’s 30-year history, where he served for fifteen years.

               At the Science Museum of Virginia, Dr. Witschey directed the expansion of statewide outreach programs, including science-mobile trailers, satellite/cable video to schools, Internet and other network services, Wonderplace for pre-schoolers, and science after school for at-risk urban middle-schoolers among other business partnerships for improved science education. During his tenure, the Science Museum enjoyed substantially increased state and private support. A $20 million project was completed at the Museum’s headquarters (the Broad Street Station—a National Register Site). A $30 million capital campaign ($10 million for construction, $12 million for exhibits, and an $8 million endowment increase) raised over $36 million. The Museum’s annual budget exceeded $10 million.

               The Children’s Museum of Richmond, at his suggestion, joined the campus of the Science Museum. The Virginia Aviation Museum, a Museum division, displays historic and unique aircraft, including a record-holding SR-71. He opened the Danville Science Center in 1995. Rice RiverCenter, site of a unique Richard Joseph Neutra home, and the historic Five Mile Locks of the James River and Kanawha Canal, was added to the Museum in 1996. The Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum, an affiliate, opened the same year.

               As he left, the Science Museum was creating new science centers in Northern Virginia (SciencePort, the Belmont Bay Science Center), in Bristol (the Mountain Empire Science Center), and in Harrisonburg as it moves to make a hands-on science center within reach of more than 97% of Virginia’s citizens.

               The Science Museum was twice accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM) under Witschey's leadership, and is one of the Governing Members of the 500-member international Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC).

               Witschey is responsible for two Guinness world records, both at the Science Museum of Virginia. In 1981, he constructed a highly accurate record-breaking giant analemmic sundial. In 2004, the Earth Kugel in the Museum’s Mary Morton Parsons Earth-Moon Sculpture received the record for the world’s largest floating granite ball (a 29-ton solid granite sphere that floats on a 1/3 mm water bearing at 34 psi).

               Throughout his career, Dr. Witschey has served as consultant to federal and state agencies and to businesses for management, computer systems design and management, computer networks, and client management systems. His university-level faculty work includes curriculum design consulting, as well as teaching computer programming and systems management, business management, entrepreneurship, and archaeology.

               Dr. Witschey wrote a monthly science column for the Richmond Times-Dispatch for twelve years. He also wrote bi-weekly for Sci-Kids, a column for elementary and middle school students keyed to Virginia’s Science Standards of Learning, until the newspaper discontinued its Discover Section in June 2009. He is the author of published articles in fields as diverse as computer mapping of Colonial Virginia Land Patents and linguistic analysis of sixteenth century Spanish Colonial documents in Mexico.

               He has served on numerous boards and committees of non-profit organizations in Richmond and New Orleans. He is a frequent guest lecturer at business and professional organizations on his varied interests.

               Most recently his research interests are focused on developing the Electronic Atlas of Ancient Maya sites (http://MayaGIS.SMV.org), Virginia’s Science Standards of Learning, on science literacy and education issues, and the future of science and society issues. He is a native of Charleston, West Virginia, married to Joan DuRelle Vincent of Danville, the father of five children, and grandfather of eleven.

 
Send me an email   ©  copyright 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011  Walter R. T. Witschey  Updated Tuesday, May 24, 2011