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Elizabeth McClanahan

CEO of Virginia Tech Foundation
  • Adjunct Professor of Finance

Photo credit Bob Brown

3063 Pamplin (0221)
880 West Campus Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061


Elizabeth currently teaches Legal, Financing, and Ethical Issues for Entrepreneurs at Virginia Tech. She has also served as Chair of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia; Vice Rector of her alma mater, the College of William and Mary; Williamson Fellow at William and Mary College of Law; Street Memorial Distinguished Visitor in Real Estate Law at Appalachian School of Law; El Paso Natural Gas Law Fellow at the University of Colorado School of Law; and on the Faculty for the Summer Management Program at Wake Forest School of Business and Accountancy.

In addition to Elizabeth’s published opinions for the Court of Appeals of Virginia and the Supreme Court of Virginia, she was a nationally recognized expert in coalbed methane development, having published and/or presented almost 40 papers on coalbed methane, mineral title rights, and regulatory issues.

Education & Certification

J.D., University of Dayton School of Law, 1984

B.A., College of William & Mary, 1980

At Virginia Tech since August 2019

Professional Achievements

Elizabeth is currently the Dean, Chief Academic Officer, and Chief Operating Officer of Appalachian School of Law. She previously served on the Court of Appeals of Virginia and the Supreme Court of Virginia for a combined 16 years. Prior to being appointed to the bench, Elizabeth served as the Chief Deputy Attorney General for Virginia.

McClanahan began her legal career in private practice at Penn, Stuart & Eskridge, where she later became a shareholder, director and management committee member. While at Penn, Stuart & Eskridge, she served as general counsel to Bur-Wil, Strongwell Corporation, and Virginia Gas Company, and represented clients such as Texaco; OXY USA Inc.; the U.S. EPA; Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation; Coastal Oil & Gas Corp.; AMVEST Oil & Gas, Inc.; CONSOL Energy Inc.; and Equitable Gas Company, LLC. She was admitted to six state bars – Virginia, District of Columbia, Maryland, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, and she earned a Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating.

Elizabeth has also received 17 civic and professional awards, including statewide Virginia Jaycees, Outstanding Young Virginian; David M. Young Award, Virginia Oil & Gas Association; Virginia Lawyers Media “Influential Women of Virginia”; Virginia Business Legal Elite; and the William Skelton Extension Leadership Award, Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Service Related Contributions 

Elizabeth has served as a director on professional and nonprofit boards, including the North American Coalbed Methane Forum, National Chamber Foundation Board of the United States Chamber of Commerce, Energy and Mineral Law Foundation, Virginia Oil and Gas Association, Wellmont Bristol Regional Medical Center, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, the Virginia 4-H Foundation, VCOM, and other local nonprofit boards.