Cooper Center's Southside Director Named an 'Unsung Hero'

June 29, 2010 — Randal E. Arno has been called a "virtual knowledge center for rural Virginians" by those who benefit from his work as director of the Southside office of the University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

The Virginia General Assembly honored Arno earlier this year as a recipient of the 2009 Unsung Heroes Award, part of the Excellence in Virginia Government Awards.

Arno and the Southside office have supported the deployment of affordable high-speed broadband throughout the region and coordinated higher education initiatives through the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston and the New College Institute in Martinsville.

An experienced administrator, Arno worked for 23 years for local government in Virginia, including in Fluvanna, Alleghany, Tazewell and Floyd counties. In 1995, he became director of the Cooper Center's Southside office in Danville.

Arno and the Southside office have been instrumental in analyzing public issues and assisting in many legislative initiatives through the creation of the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, the Regional Center for Advanced Technology and Training of Danville Community College, the Rural Virginia Prosperity Commission, the Roanoke River Bi-State Commission and the Danville Science Center.

"Joint resolutions are quite common. What is not common is recognition for public servants, especially those who are still living," Cooper Center director John Thomas said.

House Joint Resolution No. 461 was passed in March. To see the full resolution, go to the Legislative Information System [link to].