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University Miscellany

1965 State Technical Services Act-VPI was named to administer a new federal-state program of technical assistance to business and industry under the act.

Academy of Distributive Teacher Education-Lucy C. Crawford, professor of education, was awarded the top national honor in distributive teacher education in 1972 by the Council for Distributive Teacher Education. Crawford’s work resulted in the formation of a 10-state consortium to construct learning packages for people teaching a distributive education subject.

American Institute of Industrial Engineering, Virginia Tech Chapter-In 1972, the chapter won the Wyllys G. Stanton Contest as the most outstanding chapter in the nation, marking the fourth consecutive year the chapter had been so recognized.

Annexation by Blacksburg-Effective January 1, 1973, the Town of Blacksburg annexed land owned by Virginia Tech, along with 6,900 university students, increasing the town’s population from 10,427 to 23,000.

Billion-dollar Budget-University’s first one ($1.02 billion) approved by board of visitors on June 20, 2008, a 5.9 percent increase from the previous year’s budget.

Bike Path-Announcement made in June 1977 that the Blacksburg bikeway would be developed through campus. Funding for the bikeway came from the Virginia Commission on Outdoor Recreation. The bikeway was later named the Huckleberry Trail.

Blacksburg Electronic Village-Virginia Tech was the visionary leader of this first-ever community-wide, citizen-based use of the Internet. Popularly known as BEV.

Building Biomarkers-Larry Hincker, associate vice president for university relations, proposed in 1998 that plaques be installed outside each building named for a person(s) that would provide a brief biographical sketch of the person(s). In 1998 the first plaque was engraved in Hokie Stone and installed in a wall that fronted Holden Hall at the crosswalk between Patton and Norris halls. Because the biographical sketch was difficult to read—it was too low—the decision was made to cast the biographies in bronze and to mount them on Hokie Stone pedestals; later, sitting-walls were added to many of the marker pedestals. The Laura Jane Harper marker was the first one cast in bronze and installed on a pedestal—in 2000. Clara B. Cox, director of university publications, wrote the biographical sketches and worked with university landscape architect Matt Gart to manage the project. By the beginning of 2010, 59 biomarkers had been written, although some awaited installation. The class of 1953 funded production of a large number of the biomarkers as its 50th anniversary class gift to the university. The class of 1999 contributed money for five markers.

Campus Bus Service-First offered at the university in fall 1971. Cost 10 cents per ride. Discontinued in 1972 due to lack of use. Reinstituted in early 1990s; free service to university employees. Again discontinued due to lack of use. Later, Blacksburg Transit, a partnership between the town and university, contracted with the university to offer limited campus bus service. The bus used for this service was painted in maroon and orange (designed by Tech employee Dave Elmore, who won a design contest) and named Hokie Express in 1908, the 25th anniversary of the town bus system.

Centennial Celebration-The university initiated Founders Day, the board of visitors held a commemorative meeting, and alumni chapters had special Founders Day chapter meetings in observance of the school’s centennial in 1972. Other activities included rededication ceremonies for McBryde Hall; a Centennial Choral Convocation; dedication of Cheatham Hall; a Montgomery County Day; a Centennial Commencement; and publication of The First Hundred Years, a history of Virginia Tech written by faculty member D. Lyle Kinnear, and Historical Data Book: Centennial Edition, compiled and edited by university editor Jenkins Mikell Robertson.

East, Phyllis M.-First woman appointed a patrol officer in Virginia Tech’s Security Division. She had spent four years as a secretary in the organization before her historic 1977 appointment.

Equal Employment/Affirmative Action Advisory Committee-Formed in fall 1975; disbanded in 2003 with formation of the Commission on Equal Opportunity and Diversity.

Founders Day-Initiated as part of the university’s centennial celebration in 1972. Became a major annual event for the university, one in which outstanding faculty, staff, and students were recognized. Over the years, the number of awards grew, making the ceremony unusually long. In 2000 student awards and faculty/staff awards were moved to different times of the year and the Founders Day Convocation consisted of a keynote speaker and presentation of the university’s major awards. The last traditional ceremony was held in 2004. Observances, however, continued in other formats.

Governors-One governor, James Patton Preston, is buried in an unmarked grave in the Smithfield cemetery on campus. Smithfield served as the birthplace and home of two Virginia governors: Preston and John Buchanan Floyd. Floyd’s father, John Floyd, was also governor of Virginia.

High School Day-Held on campus from 1936 to 1941; resumed in the spring of 1950 but was abandoned again after 1953 since an Engineering Conference (started in 1940) and an Agricultural Exposition (started in 1954) filled most of the functions. In 1963 the engineering and agricultural events were absorbed into the first “Tech Festival” weekend, a bigger but similar program to the old High School Day. The festival was dropped after 1970.

Huckleberry Trail-(see Bike Path).

LMDS Spectrum-Virginia Tech is the only university in the nation to own this extremely high bandwidth that allows simultaneous transmission of voice, video, and data.

Wilfred P. Maddux ’20-Co-composer with Mattie Eppes (Boggs) of Tech Triumph in 1919. Died on April 25, 1977, in Charlottesville.

National Academy of Engineering-By 2010, 12 members (current or emeriti) had been elected to this prestigious organization.

National Academy of Sciences-By 2010, two professors (current or emeriti) were members of this prestigious organization.

National Science Foundation CAREER Awards-As of 2008, 46 active faculty members had won this award.

New Dimensions-Original name of an organization for retired Virginia Tech faculty and staff members started in 1981. Later renamed the Virginia Tech Retirees’ Association, it works through a 16-member advisory board for the benefit of retirees and their families. By 2008 membership had grown to 540 people, who paid a $25/year membership fee.

New Virginians-The musical group of student performers organized in 1972 by Stan Kingma,. It embarked on its first national tour in 1977. The tour was sponsored by Georgia-Pacific Corporation, which was celebrating its own 50th anniversary. The group’s first national television exposure came on “Dinah” in 1978.

On Campus-The weekly newsletter distributed to faculty and staff in the 1970s before the creation of Spectrum, the faculty-staff newspaper, in 1978.

Pass-Fail System-A no-grade elective for certain courses commenced in fall 1969.

Physical Plant-The board of visitors redesigned the university’s Buildings and Grounds Department as the Physical Plant Department in 1977 to indicate the wide range of operating, support, and planning services of the department. It was later renamed Facilities.

Presidential Early Career Awards-As of 2010, seven members of the faculty had won this award, aimed at young faculty members doing research in new fields.

Public Relations -The first publications department was inaugurated in 1928, with R. H. McNeil, an assistant professor of English, named director. Its purpose was to help get materials concerning VPI published in newspapers.

Rhodes Scholar-Virginia Tech’s first Rhodes Scholar was William Walker Lewis Jr., named in 1964. Mark Embree became the university’s second Rhodes Scholar in 1996.

Slogan-In 1929, VPI’s slogan was “Service to the State of Virginia.” In the 1990s, the slogan “The Commonwealth Is Our Campus” was used.  In the 2000s, the university adopted the official tagline “Invent the Future.”

Special Olympics-Efforts by Paul Gunsten, director of the recreational services activity program at Virginia Tech, led the university to host the state’s Special Olympics for the first time in 1978, although the campus had been the site of the Region IX Special Olympics the two preceding years.

Spectrum-Faculty/staff newspaper issued in 1978. First editor was Geoffrey Chapman. Publication ceased after the Dec. 17, 2004, issue, when the university turned to electronic delivery of campus news.

State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty-Between 1990 and 2010, 29 professors had received this recognition.

System X-A supercomputer comprised of a 2200 processor Apple G5 cluster that debuted in 2003 as the third most powerful supercomputer in the world.

Tagline-see “Slogan.”

Techgram—see Virginia Tech Magazine.

Telephones-First telephone on campus was installed in 1898 in President John M. McBryde’s office. It was also the first telephone in Blacksburg.

Tenure Policy-Adopted for college faculty members in 1953.

Virginia Academy of Science-In 1975 A. B. Massey, professor emeritus of botany, received a lifetime membership in the academy, only the seventh person to receive the award in 32 years and the first so honored since 1970.

Virginia Issues & Answers-Produced by University Relations, the public-policy magazine was issued for the first time in January 1994. The first editor was Clara B. Cox and the first executive editor was Larry Hincker. The magazine looks at issues facing Virginia and suggests steps policymakers can take to address those issues. Articles are written by experts, both on and off campus, on the topics.

Virginia Outstanding Scientists-As of 2010, nine professors at the university had received this recognition.

Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties-Consistently ranks in the top 20 in the nation in patents, licenses completed, and license income.

Virginia Tech Magazine-A quarterly periodical produced initially by the Educational Communications office and now by University Relations, the alumni magazine was distributed for the first time during the second week of October 1978 to alumni who had contributed $15 or more each year. The first editor was Harry Yeatts. Techgram, the university’s monthly tabloid newspaper, was incorporated in a new format as a section of the magazine and was also published as a complimentary publication distributed to all alumni of record. In 2009, the magazine began devoting a section to Alumni Relations, which then ceased producing Alma Mater.

Virginia Tech Retirees’ Association—see New Dimensions.

Virginia Tech Theatre Arts-University Theatre-Virginia Tech’s production of Waiting for Godot was one of eight plays selected for presentation at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., April 4-17, 1977.

Visiting Scholars Program-Established by a $300,000 anonymous gift in 1963. First visiting scholar was Dr. Allardyce Nicoll, retired director of England’s Shakespeare Institute, who arrived on Nov. 4, 1963.

Volunteer Rescue Squad-The first college rescue squad in Virginia. Founded in 1969.

VPI Facilities Inc.-A non-profit corporation established in 1968 to replace the former vending, snack bar, and bookstore operations of the Athletic Association.

Women’s Network-An organization formed in the spring of 1978 to explore the status of women and to promote their equal treatment on campus. Initially consisted primarily of women faculty in the College of Education, but it expanded to include female faculty and staff members across the university.

Zip Code—The university’s first and only zip code—24061—was received on July 1, 1963.