Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
The Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, or Virginia Tech for short, is a university in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA, in the New River Valley of western Virginia near the Appalachian Mountains. Virginia Tech is best known for academic programs in agriculture, architecture, computer science, engineering, and veterinary medicine, and recently for the success of its football program. Currently, Virginia Tech is ranked 71st in US News and World Report's Top 100 US Universities. Virginia Tech is also well known for their ground breaking research, leading them to be ranked as one of the top 50 research institutions in the United States.
Founded under the provisions of the Morrill Act, the institution became a state-supported land grant military institute called the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1872. The school considers this to be its founding date, although some would like to date it to 1851 because the school purchased land and facilities from a private Methodist school on the same site. Under the 1891-1907 presidency of John M. McBryde, the school reorganized its academic programs into a traditional four-year college setup (including the renaming of the mechanics department to engineering); this led to an 1896 name change to Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute. The "Agricultural and Mechanical College" section of the name was popularly omitted almost immediately, though the name was not officially changed to Virginia Polytechnic Institute until 1944 as part of a short-lived merger with what is now Radford University. VPI achieved full accreditation in 1923, and the requirement of participation in the Corps of Cadets was dropped from four years to two that same year (for men only; women, when they began enrolling in the 1920s, were never required to join).
Throughout the early 20th century, a rivalry developed between Virginia Tech and Charlottesville's University of Virginia (founded 1819). Today, the two universities have the second- and third-largest student populations amongst public institutions of higher learning in the state of Virginia, respectively, behind George Mason University. The rivalry continues, both in academics and athletics.
President T. Marshall Hahn (1962-74) was responsible for many of the changes that shaped the modern institution of Virginia Tech. The merger with Radford was dissolved in 1964, and in 1966, the school dropped the two-year Corps requirement for male students (in 1973, women were allowed to join the Corps; Tech was the first school in the nation to open its military wing to women). One of Hahn's more controversial missions was only partially achieved; he had visions of renaming the school from VPI to Virginia State University, reflecting the status it had achieved as a full-fledged public research university. As part of this move, Tech would have taken over control of the state's other land-grant institution, a historically black college in Ettrick, Virginia south of Richmond then called Virginia State College; this failed, and that school eventually became Virginia State University. As a compromise, the school added "and State University" to its name in 1970, yielding the current formal name of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. The new acronym of VPISU was derisively spoken as Vippy-sue by students and Hahn detractors. In the early 1990s, the school quietly authorized the official use of Virginia Tech as equivalent to the full VPI&SU name; most school documents today use the shorter name, though diplomas still spell out the formal name. Similarly, the abbreviation VT is far more common today than VPI or VPI&SU, and appears everywhere from athletic uniforms (most notably on football helmets) to the university's Internet domain vt.edu.
From 1970 for the next five years, the student population grew from about 13,500 to 22,000.
Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs are offered through the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, the College of Architecture & Urban Studies, the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, the Pamplin College of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Natural Resources, the College of Science, and the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers the only two-year associate's degree program on campus, in agricultural technology.
The Virginia Tech campus is located within Blacksburg; the central campus is roughly bordered by Prices Fork Road to the northwest, Plantation Drive to the west, Main Street to the east, and 460-bypass to the south, though it has several thousand acres beyond the central campus. The university also has several commonwealth branch campus centers: Hampton Roads (Virginia Beach), National Capital Region (Falls Church), Richmond, Roanoke, and the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon.
On the Blacksburg campus, the majority of the buildings incorporate Hokie Stone as a building material.
The school's sports teams are called the Hokies; the school's mascot is the Hokie Bird. They participate in the NCAA's Division I (I-A for football) and in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which the school joined in 2004 after leaving the Big East Conference.
The word "Hokies," which originated from the Old Hokie spirit yell, is often used interchangeably with "Fighting Gobblers" to refer to the sports team, fans, students, or alumni, although the former is the official usage. The word "Hokies" originated in the 1890s; see Hokies for more information. The mascot is the Hokie Bird, a turkey-like creature. Originally the teams were known as the "Fighting Gobblers" and the turkey motif was retained despite the name change.
The stylized VT (the abbreviation for Virginia Tech) is used primarily by the athletic department as a symbol for Virginia Tech athletic teams. The "athletic VT" symbol is trademarked by the university, and appears frequently on licensed merchandise. The logo is available on the university's website .
Virginia Tech has become a major power in college football in recent years. The Hokies currently have the fifth longest bowl streak in the country, having participated in bowl games each of the last 12 seasons. Head coach Frank Beamer has become one of the winningest currently active head coaches in Division I-A football (167 following the 2004 season).
In 2000, the Hokies played for the national championship at the Nokia Sugar Bowl against Florida State University. The 2002 and 2003 seasons started out well for the VT football team, but ended disappointingly.
In 2004, all Virginia Tech athletic teams moved from the Big East Conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference. After losing several top players to the NFL draft, graduation, and disciplinary action, few expected the football team to fare well. However, to the surprise of many college football viewers, the Hokies won the ACC championship and went on to play in the Nokia Sugar Bowl against Auburn University.
The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, founded in 1978, is a separate institution on the same campus, paid for by the two US states of Virginia and Maryland and jointly operated by VT and the University of Maryland. VMRCVM and VT jointly operate an equine center in Leesburg, Virginia, and VMRCVM has a small operation on the University of Maryland's College Park, Maryland campus.
In 2003, a school of osteopathic medicine called the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine opened in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, an office park adjacent to and owned and operated by the university as a local business incubator. VCOM is incorporated as a private, non-profit institution with no state interest, but is very closely affiliated with Virginia Tech on an operational level.
In 2002, a biomedical engineering program, called the School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences (SBES), was created as a cooperative venture between Virginia Tech and Wake Forest University. SBES offers opportunities to undergraduates and grants M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical engineering.
- Frank Beamer, Class of 1969--football Coach at Virginia Tech, creator of Beamer Ball
- Vernell "Bimbo" Coles--member of the United States 1988 Olympic Basketball team; played in the National Basketball Association, ending his career with the Miami Heat
- André Davis, Class of 2001--football wide receiver
- Antonio Freeman--former football wide receiver
- Kevin Jones--football running back; drafted by the Detroit Lions of the NFL
- Bruce Smith--football defensive linesman
- Michael Vick--football quarterback
- Johnny Oates--baseball catcher, manager
- Franklin Stubbs--baseball first baseman
- Antoine A.M. Gaujot, Class of 1901, Awarded the Medal of Honor for actions as an army corporal at the Battle of San Mateo during the Philippine Insurrection.
- Julien E. Gaujot, Class of 1894, Awarded the Medal of Honor for actions on the Mexican Border in 1914, the only soldier ever awarded the Medal for actions of a peacekeeping nature, brother of Antoine Gaujot.
- Earle D. Gregory, Class of 1923, Awarded the Medal of Honor for actions as an army sergeant during the Meuse Argonne Offensive in World War I.
- Herbert J. Thomas, class of 1944, member of Virginia Tech's Athletic Hall of Fame, Awarded the Medal of Honor for action on Bougainville Island in World War II.
- Jimmie W. Monteith, Class of 1944, Awarded the Medal of Honor for actions as an army lieutenant at D-Day during World War II.
- Robert E. Femoyer, class of 1944, Awarded the Medal of Honor for actions as an Army Air Force B-17 navigator on a bombing mission over Germany.
- Richard Shea, class of 1948, Awarded the Medal of Honor for actions as an army first lieutenant at Pork Chop Hill during the Korean War.
- Maj Lloyd Williams, Class of 1907, Williams has been attributed with one of the more famous quotes of World War I: "Retreat? Hell! We just got here!"
- Lieutenant General Lewis A. Pick, USA, Class of 1914.
- Lieutenant General Wallace H. Robinson, USMC, Class of 1940
- Lieutenant General John H. Elder, Jr., USA, Class of 1941
- Lieutenant General Joseph G. Wilson, USAF, Class of 1942
- Lieutenant General Howard H. Cooksey, USA, Class of 1943
- Lieutenant General Walter D. Druen,Jr., USAF, Class of 1951,commander of Allied Air Forces Southern Europe and deputy commander in chief, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Southern Area
- Lieutenant General Robert L. Moore, USA, Class of 1952, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Missile Command
- General Thomas C. Richards, Four Star General, Class of 1956, Deputy Commander in Chief of US European Command.
- Lieutenant General Lance L. Smith, USAF, Class of 1969
- Lieutenant General Joseph R. Inge, USA, Class of 1969, Deputy Commander, United States Northern Command, and Vice Commander, U.S. Element, North American Aerospace Defense Command
- Lieutenant General William G. Boykin, USA, Class of 1971, Assistant Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence
Business, government and academia
- Donaldson Brown, Class of 1902, financial executive and corporate director with both DuPont and General Motors
- Robert B. Pamplin, Sr, Class of 1933, CEO of Georgia Pacific Corp
- Clifton C. Garvin, Class of 1943 (BS) and 1947 (MS), Chairman and CEO of Exxon Corp.
- Clifford A. Cutchins III, Class of 1944, Chairman and CEO of Sovran Bank
- Chris Kraft, Class of 1944, NASA architect of Mission Control and the first flight director
- Thomas L. Phillips, Class of 1947, Chairman and CEO of Raytheon Corp.
- Robert C. Richardson, Class of 1958 (BS) and 1960 (MS), physicist at Cornell University, shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1996 for the discovery of superfluidity in He-3.
- Homer Hickam, Class of 1964, NASA employee and author of Rocket Boys
- Roger K. Crouch, Class of 1968 (MS) and 1971 (PhD), NASA astronaut
- James K. Asselstine, Class of 1970, Commissioner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission during Three Mile Island incident
- Richard Baker -- game designer
- William Lewis - Rhodes Scholar, Founding Director of McKinsey Global Institute
- Mark Embree - Rhodes Scholar, currently Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Rice University
- Charles J. Camarda, Class of 1983 (Ph.D) -- Astronaut on board the space shuttle Discovery for the STS-114 mission.
In 2003, Virginia Tech created a supercomputer which ranked as the 3rd fastest in the world. The system was made from 1100 dual processor Power Macintosh G5s and cost $5.2 million. The supercomputer, called System X, was disassembled shortly after it was ranked in order for it to be replaced with Apple's rack-based servers which consume both less space and power.
Internet networking research is an important part of Virginia Tech's history. It has participated in Suranet, Internet2, Abilene, the Lambda Rail and other such networks. Virginia Tech also participates in the management of several key parts of the East Coast Internet including Net.Work.Virginia, and the Mid Atlantic Crossroads.
- Main university site
- Official VT athletics site
- Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
- Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine
- VT research computing
- Terascale Computing Facility (home of System X)
- School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences
- Metropolitan Institute