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1919-1920 First General Report

On November 6, 1919, the president submitted to the Board his first report. It was of a general nature, covering observations during the first two months of his term. A summary of this report follows:

Opening Of The Session

By registering a large number of students the day before the opening, classes were started on the second day of the session, thus saving at least three days which had heretofore been devoted to preliminary matters. An enrolment of 745 students, as compared with 477 regular students for the preceding year, and with an average of less than 500 students for the preceding ten-year period, has overtaxed our classrooms, laboratories, and equipment in many directions, and has necessitated employing hurriedly a number of assistants. A number of rooms in the barracks heretofore used for other purposes have been made available for student bedrooms.

Faculty committees have been organized to work on specific problems during the year and to assist the president with various phases of administration. The advice and cooperation of these committees have already proved quite helpful. Plans have been initiated with a view to improving the social, moral and religious phases of student life. The literary societies, long asleep, are being revived, and other student organizations are being improved.

Faculty Salaries And Houses

The whole salary schedule should be readjusted. The Board must recognize the fact that if we are to keep our staff up to the necessary high standard, we must increase salaries all along the line. The salaries are now miserably low, and to increase at this time is but to follow the policy of other institutions and indeed that of almost every sort of commercial concern. Moreover, the assignment of college-owned residences appears to have given much dissatisfaction in the past and a fair and clear-cut policy should be formulated and put into operation at once.

The following revision in salaries is recommended:

 Present RateProposed Rate
Professor$2,100-$2,600 with house$2,600-$3,600 with house
Associate Professor1,600- 2,0002,100- 2,500
Assistant Professor(this grade not represented)1,600- 2,000
Instructor1,200- 1,5001,000- 1,500
Assistant300400- 900
Student Assistant300300 or less

An appointee to any grade will ordinarily start with the minimum amount named for the grade, and under usual conditions, if his work is satisfactory, he will advance $100 yearly to the maximum for the grade. When the maximum for the grade is reached there is no claim on that account for advancement to the next highest grade. Advancement to a higher grade is not automatic but will depend upon the needs of the staff organization. Service in a similar grade elsewhere may be credited in fixing the salary when a new appointment is made. Leaves of absence granted for securing further professional preparation will be counted as equivalent in time to service here, in advancing salary rate within any grade. The appointment of deans, and advancement from one grade to another in faculty rank, will be based not primarily on seniority or previous rank but on fitness and the requirements of the office or department concerned.

All professors of full rank shall be allowed to occupy college-owned residences as part of their compensation or in lieu thereof the sum of $300 a year. When a house becomes available it will be offered to members of the faculty in order of seniority. If a professor declines any house when offered it will not affect his status the next time a house is available. Houses will be allotted only a reasonable amount of land for yard and garden. No house may be sub-let or used for commercial purposes. [The proposed salary schedule and principles to be followed as to salaries and houses were adopted by the Board; but it was found necessary to fix the maximum at $3,200 for the year 1920-21, deans to be paid $400 a year additional to this.]

Military Department

Placing the college on the "distinguished list" last year has had a wholesome effect on the standards of the military department. There are now three units of the R. O. T. C.—coast artillery, engineer, and infantry, and a large amount of new equipment is being received from the War Department. There are four commissioned officers and five sergeants from the regular army stationed here. Comparatively few students seek to be excused from military duty, and those excused are not permitted to room in the cadet barracks. The old forge and foundry building has been assigned to this department. The commandant prefers to use the three army officers for the duties heretofore performed by graduate students employed as assistant commandants, and it is recommended that the amount formerly paid to such assistant commandants be divided equally among the three army officers. [This recommendation was approved.]

Department Of Agricultural Education

This department, established under the Smith-Hughes act, begins its real work this year and the enrolment of students is beyond expectation. The new building is nearing completion. This will be paid for out of funds allotted to this work. We have succeeded in securing an increase from $4,000 to $8,000 from the State Board of Education. It is hoped that this amount may be increased again next year, and the same amount as at present; $4,000 a year, should be requested from the Legislature.

Trades And Industries Course

A course has been mapped out for the training of teachers of trades and industries under the Smith-Hughes act. To date there have been no applicants. There are three essentials to success, namely, a revision of the course outline, the employment of a professor to direct the work, and advertisement. Only $1,000 has been appropriated by the State Board of Education and obviously this is inadequate.

New Instruction Suggested

1. Printing.—The Virginia Press Association by formal resolution has asked us to establish a course for the training of linotype-machine operators and later on of general printers. Suitable rooms may be found and the equipment for beginning the work will cost $6,000, the instructor probably $1,400 a year, supplies and miscellaneous expenses $1,000, making a total of $8,400. The equipment may be bought on long time. The association agrees to use its influence in securing an appropriation to cover the cost. It is recommended that steps be taken to establish such a department as soon as practicable. [This recommendation was approved.]

2. Naval Architecture.—It appears that the addition of one man to the faculty would be sufficient to provide a course in naval architecture in view of the fact that most of the work of such a course is already given in the various departments. It is suggested that an effort be made to ascertain the need for such a course in this state and what cooperation may be expected from those interested in this industry.

3. Physical Education.—The outgoing president recommended in his final report that a professorship in physical education be established. This is again brought to attention with the recommendation that provision be made for it in the next budget. [This recommendation was approved.]

4. Social Science.—Questions of great importance relating to the organization of industrial society are uppermost in the public mind today. Our students are to be the leaders in the commercial and industrial world, they must organize and manage groups of men, they must fit themselves to the financial and business plans of a rapidly changing order, they must understand thoroly the principles of production, distribution, and management. The vast perplexity of the much involved industrial organization of today demands special study. Our students should go from us with a fair knowledge of the underlying principles and with right attitudes to these things. It must be admitted that the present work at this college is weak and lacking in this field. It is strongly recommended that the budget for next year include at least one addition to the faculty for social science. [This recommendation was approved.]

5. Agricultural Engineering.—The institution has been offering a four-year curriculum in agricultural engineering without a single instructor of agricultural engineering in the faculty. Such work as has been done in this field has been done in the department of agronomy. It is generally recognized that a real need exists in Virginia for instruction in farm surveying, land drainage, farm machinery, rural road engineering, rural architecture, etc. The establishment of such a department will call for from $3,000 to $4,000 a year for instructors and supplies, in the beginning, and more as the work grows. If a machinery hall can be provided, manufacturers will doubtless be willing to donate for our use a considerable amount of valuable machinery and implements. It is recommended that such a department be provided for at the earliest possible date. [This recommendation was approved.]

6. Poultry Husbandry.—The poultry industry ranks very high in importance in Virginia. We are dependent upon work done in other states to furnish information to our poultrymen, and we offer no resident instruction in this subject. The salary of an instructor has been included in the proposed budget for the coming year.

7. Horticultural By-products.—Included in the proposed budget is provision for instruction in the handling of horticultural by-products. Many thousands of dollars worth of horticultural products go to waste in Virginia each year because of lack of instruction as to the best methods of preserving the same. There is demand for both research and instruction. A well-equipped tho small laboratory can be provided for $10,000, and an associate professor should be employed to carryon the work.

8. Landscape Gardening and Floriculture.—An instructor for this is provided for in the proposed budget for the coming year. There is need for a man who can devote one-half time to extension work and the other half to teaching. He might also be in charge of the campus landscaping.

9. Beef Cattle.—The cattle interests, particularly in the southwestern part of the state, are insistent that beef-cattle herds be established at the college; and they have started a movement to get legislation to this end. The chief expense will be the provision of the considerable land area necessary to the maintenance of such herds. To get even a very small start on this project will require at least $8,000.

10. Veterinary Medicine.— The present curriculum entitled "Preparatory Veterinary Medicine" attracts no students because the whole four years counts as only one when the graduate goes to a veterinary school. It is possible to develop here a curriculum leading to a degree in veterinary medicine, but this will require the addition of at least one full-time instructor and two part-time lecturers, and certainly better laboratory and teaching quarters must be provided. In the proposed operating budget provision has been made for the instructor and lecturers, and a new building is included in the proposed building budget. This is submitted for information rather than as a definite recommendation, because it has not been clearly determined whether there is sufficient need for an additional school of veterinary medicine in this section to justify an effort to establish one here.

11. Two-Year Mechanic Arts Course.—There has been some demand for a two-year course in mechanic arts similar to the two-year course in practical agriculture. To offer such a course would cost nothing as it would mean merely a re-grouping of classwork already offered.


One of the first acts of the present administration was to urge the State Highway Commissioner to have the road between Blacksburg and Christiansburg improved. It is understood that this will be done, but it is uncertain how soon it will be done, and we should continue to push the matter as much as possible.

The road to the college coal mines becomes impassable in winter and it is urged that this be put in better condition.

Attention is called to the bad condition of roads on the main campus and in the vicinity of the college barns. It is unfortunate that there are no funds available for their improvement.

Power Plant

Some relief must be provided for the power plant, else a catastrophe may result at any time. The engines have been in continuous service for more than twenty years and are now in a precarious condition. The cost of oil unnecessarily consumed and of repairs that should not have to be made so frequently would more than pay the interest on the capital outlay required for new engines. It will cost $20,000 to install new engines, but a real emergency exists here, inasmuch as our electric lights and power, water supply, sewage disposal, and fire protection for the entire community as well as the campus, are dependent upon these engines.

The central heating system should be extended to at least include the two academic buildings, and practically all of the present steam-pipe lines must be rebuilt.

The power plant is woefully inadequate and antiquated, and a large sum should be invested in a practically new plant.

It has been customary to shut off the electric current at midnight. This is dangerous in many respects. The current should be available at all hours. It is probable that the additional collections for current sold would offset the comparatively slight extra cost to provide this.

Water Supply

The water tank frequently becomes empty, due to the irregularity of the voltage maintained at the power plant. Regulating apparatus may be secured for a comparatively small amount, and should be installed as soon as possible. But there is a more serious phase of the matter. The tank was erected twenty-odd years ago, when the population to be served was one-fourth what it is now. The budget should include $10,000 for increased water storage.

A competent faculty committee has recently studied the situation as to possible contamination of the water supply, and every detail has been considered. It is advisable to extend the present sewer system to certain sections of the community in the direction from which our water supply comes. It is estimated that such extensions would involve an outlay of probably $10,000. The chlorine treatment now given our water is considered quite effective, and a bacteriologist of the college staff makes regular and frequent examinations of the water to ensure its purity.

Coal Mine

The custom of permitting anyone to purchase coal from the college mine seems altogether undesirable, and instructions have been issued to discontinue this practise until the college can accumulate a sufficient supply for its own use to take it safely thru the winter. It is recommended that this prohibition be permanent. [The recommendation was approved.]

While the operation of a coal mine by the college was a great help during the war period, there is doubt as to the advisability of continuing it under present conditions. From data in hand it appears to be more economical to purchase Pocahontas coal, and certainly it is advisable to use a large quantity of this hereafter for both economy and protection.


It appears that for a long time the laundry has not been efficiently conducted. We have just employed a new manager of long experience and there should be a marked improvement soon.

The laundry building is in need of repair. The upper floor is unsuited for heavy machinery or vibration, and it is also crowded. It is recommended that a new building be erected and that the present building be used for the tailor-shop, the book-shop, and other shops now taking up much-needed space elsewhere.


It is a mistake to believe that the college farm is on a paying basis, because the property has been permitted to fall into a sad state of disrepair. The present condition is disgraceful to an institution where hundreds of people get their ideals of good farming. New structures, new fences, and especially a general cleaning up, are sorely needed.

The Houston farm may be purchased now on our option for $26,100. Since land values here have advanced very greatly since this option was secured, it is exceedingly important that this land be purchased prior to expiration of the option, which is soon. Moreover, this particular tract is absolutely essential to the college. The appropriation of funds for this purpose should be most strongly urged.

Ten acres of land adjoining the college property are being offered for sale by Mr. H. L. Shelor and a similar tract by Mr. A. W. Miller. The purchase of these tracts is advisable from the standpoint of our water supply. It is probable that $9,000 would be necessary to purchase the land.

Control Of College Buildings

Some question has arisen as to the control of the college auditorium, because a student organization twelve years ago was permitted to lay a new floor in the same and pay for it. While this seems almost too absurd to bring it to the attention of the Board, yet it may be well to take opportunity to impress upon everyone concerned that the college authorities control all buildings and parts of buildings on college property. The college auditorium should be put in good repair, made as attractive as possible for auditorium purposes, and use of it allowed only by permission of the college authorities. The same principle applies to the Y. M. C. A. building, the field house, the proposed alumni building, and all other structures on college property. No indefinite, interminable, or verbal agreement should be made for the use of any part of any college building, any portion of the campus, or any other college property, independently of the control of the college authorities. [This policy was approved by the Board.]

Professors' Houses

For the coming year, according to the budget list of professors, we shall need eleven additional houses to supply all, and the following year we shall need three more. Since some may prefer commutation, let us say that we shall need six or eight additional houses in the next two years. There is also need for five or six cottages, or a small apartment house for instructors and employes. This appears to be the greatest building need of the college at present, despite the fact that demands for new buildings are exceedingly urgent in many directions. It is almost impossible to secure living quarters in town. Here is also a means for securing additional space in the cadet barracks, and about the only means in immediate prospect.

Mechanic Arts Building

Contrary to general opinion, the new shops building is far from completion, and it will require from $20,000 to $25,000 to complete it. While this building presents a handsome exterior appearance, it is poorly constructed in some respects and poorly planned for the use intended. Valuable space is wasted. Spacious high-vaulted rooms, which would be appropriate in a medieval cathedral, are here used for the storage of junk. Roofs and walls are so poorly built that when it rains splendid rooms are flooded. It is to be hoped that we can complete this building and make it safe and usable thruout in the near future; but, with the present attitude of the Legislature toward it, it will probably be unwise to request any appropriation for this specific purpose. Perhaps the best plan is to attempt to remedy the defects and gradually complete the unfinished portions from time to time as funds may be found available from sources other than direct appropriations.

Future Building Program

The building program which it is generally understood has been adopted by the Board, needs considerable modification in the light of studies made during the past six weeks as to the demands upon the institution. It seems out of the question to tear down any of the present buildings to provide sites for new buildings, and it is also evident that an academic building is not the greatest need at this time. We should get away from the idea that a new plant must be erected on the present narrowly restricted quadrangle, for there is abundance of room to erect new buildings on unoccupied ground. We need a broad vision of a truly modern physical plant, one capable of indefinite expansion as the institution grows; and to this end the best architectural and landscape design talent in the country should be sought.

Proposed Engineering Experiment Station

There is now pending in the Congress of the United States a bill proposing to establish engineering experiment stations at the Land Grant Colleges on a plan similar to the agricultural experiment stations. It is recommended that we do everything we can to secure the enactment of such legislation. [The Board authorized this effort to be made.]

Fire Protection

Our buildings and contents are far from being properly protected against loss by fire. The whole insurance schedule should be gone over carefully and readjustments and additions made to cover the entire plant. It should be ascertained just what amount of insurance is necessary to protect the property and an appropriation to cover the cost of same should be strongly urged.

None of our buildings is adequately provided with fire escapes. To comply with the spirit as well as the letter of the state law, and for human safety, steps should be immediately taken to properly equip every building on the campus in this respect.

A recent inspection shows the fire-fighting equipment to be in good condition, but some of the extinguishers are of an old pattern. It is advisable to purchase chemical equipment for the fire truck, or a chemical truck; and until funds can be secured for this, a redistribution of the present equipment will be made and a number of hand extinguishers added where there are none now.

Law Changing Funds

The Rector of the Board, at the special session of the General Assembly, during the past summer, had a bill passed authorizing the use for other purposes of the $21,375 remaining from the appropriation made in 1918 for the erection of an academic building. Out of this amount it is recommended that the $6,000 debt found remaining on the mechanic arts building be paid; and that the balance be used to make up other deficits incurred prior to the beginning of the present administration. [This recommendation was approved.]

Floating Debts

Besides the debts referred to in the foregoing paragraph, there remains due on professors' houses the sum of $11,894, and on the Black farm property the sum of $17,176. These debts have been standing for some years, and the next General Assembly should be asked to provide for settlement, in order that interest charges may cease.

Special Repairs

The various buildings of the college have been in need of repairs for many years, and now in some cases they are in such condition that comparatively large amounts must be spent upon them if they are to be continued in use. With the assistance of competent members of the faculty a conservative list of repairs immediately needed has been prepared as follows:

Dining Hall and Auditorium$1,200
Academic Buildings (two)9,500
Science Hall2,500
Barracks (five)11,300
Administration Building500
Agricultural Hall and Greenhouse1,500
Veterinary Hospital5,000

The above are in addition to general repairs which have to he made every year. They do not include repairs for professors' houses, some of which are not fit for occupancy and should be practically rebuilt inside. It is poor policy to let buildings deteriorate as ours have done, and if this be continued longer they will, in some cases, be altogether beyond repair. It is plain business sense to keep present buildings in reasonably good condition, if they are needed for use as these are, even tho it may mean postponing' the erection of new buildings or other additions to the plant. It is far better to properly care for what we have than to add others to be neglected.


The campus. is naturally beautiful, but some work needs to be done on it. The greatest need at present is hard-surfaced driveways. It is recommended that $5,000 be put in the budget for this purpose for each of the coming two years. For additional cement walks $3,000, and for terracing, trees, and shrubbery, $2,000 should likewise be included.

The section near the main entrance, where the old shops building was burned, should be cleaned up and improved. This may be done at slight cost and thus remove an unsightly condition which has existed for several years in this most prominent location.


Many of our departments are meagerly equipped. The estimates of the heads of departments are included in the budget of requests. While some of these estimates may appear large by comparison with former years, they are really very small in comparison with actual needs and with the equipment supplied at similar institutions. It seems good policy to supply additional equipment at this time even tho it may postpone the erection of new buildings. Equipment is like repairs in this respect, and should come next to the latter in relative importance so far as the physical plant is concerned, both preceding new construction.

New Buildings Needed

Where building needs are so great in so many directions, it is difficult to discriminate and select those which are more important. Yet, in the following list an attempt has been made to rank the buildings as nearly as possible in the order of their present need. As it will take years to erect these buildings, the relative ranking will undoubtedly change from time to time. This is intended merely to give some idea of the needs at this time.

Residences for Professors$100,000
Cottages for Instructors and Employes25,000
Engineering Hall200,000
Dairy Barns25,000
Veterinary Medicine and Hospital Building30,000
Dairy Husbandry Building50,000
Poultry Plant9,000
Addition to Student Hospital10,000
Heating and Power Plant100,000
Stock Judging, Agricultural Machinery, and Agricultural Assembly Hall50,000
Horticultural By-Products Laboratory10,000
Laundry Building20,000
Hog Houses and Yards3,000
Farm Repair Shop2,000
Agricultural Building200,000
Academic Building100,000

The foregoing list has been made up after consultation with the heads of the various departments. It is hoped that the Board will study carefully our building needs, and plan on broad lines to meet them as rapidly as possible.

Conclusion Of This Report

Certainly none of us is so visionary as to believe that all of these needs can be met in a year or in several years. Even a superficial inspection of the plant will convince one that these are real needs; and surely vision for the future is essential to intelligent action now. The possibilities of this institution are so great, and the demands of the times for the type of education offered here are so great, that we should be false to the trust imposed in us did we not plan on broad and intelligent lines for its development, in order that it may render the most efficient service to the state which owns and maintains it.

Moreover, at the beginning of a new administration, it seems advisable to take stock and set down findings in definite terms, for reference from time to time in the future.

Accompanying this report is the budget proposed for presentation to the General Assembly thru the Governor, this budget covering the estimated needs of the college for the biennial period beginning March 1, 1920. The budgets of the agricultural experiment station and the agricultural extension division are also presented.* [The Board approved the budget requests for the next biennium, including the items suggested and recommended in this report.]

*These budgets are printed in detail in the budget submitted to the General Assembly of Virginia by Governor Westmoreland Davis, in January, 1920. Copies of this may be obtained from the Governor's office at Richmond.

1919-1929 Reports

Early President's Reports were published in bulletins, with multiple reports in each bulletin. Note that the original spelling of many words (enrolment, remodelling, etc.) has been retained.

1930-1931 Report


General Report of the President

Reports of

The Dean of the College

The Dean of Agriculture

The Dean of Engineering

The Chairman of the Summer Quarter

The Committee on Graduate Programs and Degrees

The Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station

The Director of the Engineering Experiment Station

The Director of the Agricultural Extension Division

The Director of the Engineering Extension Division

The Librarian

The Adviser to Women Students

The Health Officer

The Secretary of the Young Men’s Christian Association

Statistical Tables

Statistics of Enrolment and Graduation

Summary of Treasurer’s Reports

1929-1930 Report


General Report of the President

Reports of

The Dean of the College

The Dean of Agriculture

The Dean of Engineering

The Chairman of the Summer Quarter

The Committee on Graduate Programs and Degrees

The Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station

The Director of the Engineering Experiment Station

The Director of the Agricultural Extension Division

The Director of the Engineering Extension Division

The Librarian

The Adviser to Women Students

The Health Officer

The Secretary of the Young Men’s Christian Association

Statistical Tables

Statistics of Enrolment and Graduation

Summary of Treasurer’s Reports

1927-1928, 1928-1929 Reports


1927-1928 -- General Report

1928-1929 -- General Report


Enrolment Statistics

Summary of Treasurer's Reports

1925-26, 1926-27 Reports

1925-1927 Introduction

1925-1926 -- General Report

1926-1927 -- General Report


Appointments, Tenure, and Salaries

Vacations, Office Hours, Records, etc.

Enrolment Statistics

Summary of Treasurer's Reports

1919-1925 Reports



1919-1920 Report

Preliminary Statement

First General Report

Second General Report

Special Report on Instruction

Special Report on Organization

1920-1921—General Report For The Year

1921-1922—General Report For The Year

1922-1923—General Report For The Year

1923-1924—General Report For The Year

1924-1925—General Report For The Year

Enrolment Statistics

Summary of Treasurer's Reports