William C. Latham graduated from Virginia Tech in 1955 with a Bachelor of Science in General Agriculture. Upon his graduation, he returned home to Haymarket to operate Waterloo Farm, a 700-acre dairy and general farm. He later founded Budget Motels, Inc., which currently owns and operates one Comfort Inn and nine Days Inns.
Mr. Latham was appointed by governors Charles Robb and James Gilmore to serve two terms on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, where he chaired the Building and Grounds Committee and was also appointed Vice Rector.
Mr. Latham continues an extensive volunteer career with the university including service on the Hospitality and Tourism Management Council, the Class of ’55 Reunion Gift Committee, the Pamplin Advisory Council, the Alumni Association Board of Directors (past-president), Hokies for Higher Education, the Virginia Tech Foundation Board and Executive Committee. He served on the National Leadership Campaign Committee for the university’s Alumni and Conference Center Campaign and filled leadership roles as a campaign steering committee member for the current comprehensive campaign as well as two earlier capital campaigns.
In recognition of his service to the university, he was awarded the Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 1996. Bill and his wife Betty recently gave a $5 million gift to be used to establish an endowed fund to support academic research in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. In recognition of this gift and their life-long commitment to service and philanthropy, the new agriculture and natural resources research building was named the William C. and Elizabeth Latham Agriculture and Natural Resources Building, dedicated on September 22, 2006.
Currently serving as the co-chairs of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Campaign Steering Committee, the Lathams have made several other significant contributions to Virginia Tech including those to enhance the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the livestock-teaching arena, and to the Northern Virginia 4-H educational center. They have provided funds for a lab in the Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and established an endowment for the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies. The university has also benefited from their support to the alumni and conference center, WVTF-FM public radio, and to athletic programs and scholarships for student athletes.