Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, better known as Virginia Tech, is a public land grant polytechnic university in Blacksburg, Virginia, U.S. Although it is a comprehensive university with many departments, the agriculture, engineering, architecture, forestry and veterinary medicine programs from its historical polytechnic core are still considered to be among its strongest.
Founded as a military college, Virginia Tech is one of the few public universities in the United States which continues to maintain a corps of cadets (a full-time military training program). Virginia Tech is one of the six senior military colleges (five are public, one private) due to the nature and presence of the corps of cadets.
The Virginia Tech campus is located in the New River Valley in the Valley and Ridge physiographic region of the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia, a few miles from the Jefferson National Forest in Montgomery County.
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).
VPI President T. Marshall Hahn, whose tenure ran from 1962 to 1974, 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 training requirement for its male students. In 1973, women were allowed to join the Corps; Virginia Tech was the first school in the nation to open its corps of cadets 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 education & research university. As part of this move, Virginia 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 plan failed to take root, and that school eventually became Virginia State University. As a compromise, VPI added "and State University" to its name in 1970, yielding the current formal name of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. In the early 1990s, the school quietly authorized the official use of Virginia Tech as equivalent to the full VPI&SU name. Many school documents today use the shorter name, though diplomas and transcripts 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, to the university's Internet domain name vt.edu.
|Virginia Tech presidents|
|John Lee Buchanan||March 1, 1880–August 12, 1880|
|Scott Shipp||August 12, 1880–August 25, 1880|
|John Lee Buchanan||May 1881–1882|
|Thomas Nelson Conrad||1882–1886|
|Lunsford Lindsay Lomax||1886–1891|
|John McLaren McBryde||1891–1907|
|Paul Brandon Barringer||1907–1913|
|Joseph Dupuy Eggleston||1913–1919|
|Julian Ashby Burruss||1919–1945|
|John Redd Hutcheson||1945–1947|
|Walter Stephenson Newman||1947–1962|
|T. Marshall Hahn||1962–1974|
|William Edward Lavery||1975–1987|
|James Douglas McComas||1987–1993|
|Charles W. Steger||2000–present|
Virginia Tech offers 80 bachelor's degree programs and 140 Master's and Doctoral degree programs 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 ten most popular majors for the incoming class of 2005 were University Studies (Undeclared), General Engineering, Business (Undeclared), Biology, Communication, Psychology, Marketing, Political Science, Animal and Poultry Sciences, and Architecture. Virginia Tech's endowment is known as the Virginia Tech Foundation, and as of 2007 total assets, gifts, and funds equal $524.7 million USD. Virginia Tech's operating budget for the 2007–2008 school year is $967 million.
Virginia Tech ranked 29th among national public universities and 71st among all national universities. Its College of Engineering undergraduate program was ranked 8th among public engineering schools and 14th in the nation among all accredited engineering schools that offer doctorates. Seven different undergraduate programs in the College of Engineering are ranked in the top 20 among peer programs nationally - the industrial engineering program is ranked 6th; engineering science and mechanics, 8th; civil engineering, 11th; environmental engineering, 14th; mechanical engineering, 14th; aerospace engineering, 14th; and electrical engineering, 17th. Its Pamplin College of Business undergraduate program is ranked 24th among the nation's public institutions and 41st overall. The architecture and landscape architecture programs in Virginia Tech's College of Architecture and Urban Studies are ranked among the very best in America. In its 2008 report, DesignIntelligence (the only national college ranking survey focused exclusively on design) ranked the undergraduate architecture and urban/regional studies program 1st nationally among both public and private universities. The graduate architecture program ranked 5th in the nation and 1st among public universities. In its 2007 report, DesignIntelligence ranked the university’s undergraduate and graduate interior design programs 7th and 5th respectively.
Programs in the College of Natural Resources consistently rank among the top of their type in the nation. The college's wildlife program is ranked first by its peers, and the fisheries program is ranked second. In a recently published study of the research impact of North American forestry programs, the Journal of Forestry ranked Virginia Tech's programs second on the perceptions-based composite score and third on the citations- and publications-based index.
On January 3 2007 Virginia Tech along with Carilion Health System announced the creation of a new medical school that will be a joint venture between the two organizations. The first class is scheduled to be admitted in either 2009 or 2010. The new medical school will have approximately 40 students per class, making it a very small medical school. It will be located in Roanoke next to the Carilion Health System hospital.
The Virginia Tech Stability Wind Tunnel, directed by Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Professor William Devenport, is the largest university-owned anechoic wind tunnel in the United States.
Virginia Tech ranked 29th among national public universities. Among national universities, Virginia Tech ranked 71st. The Virginia Tech College of Engineering undergraduate program was ranked 14th in the nation (tied with Johns Hopkins and Northwestern) among all accredited engineering schools that offer doctorates. It was eighth among engineering schools at public universities. Six Virginia Tech undergraduate engineering specialties ranked among the top 20 of their respective peer programs (aerospace engineering, 14th; civil engineering, 11th; electrical engineering, 17th; engineering science and mechanics, 8th; environmental engineering, 14th; industrial engineering, 6th (tied with Stanford as of 2009 rankings); and mechanical engineering, 14th).
The Pamplin College of Business undergraduate program is ranked 41st among the nation's undergraduate business programs and 24th among public institutions. Pamplin's overall ranking places it in the top 10 percent of the approximately 460 U.S. undergraduate programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.
Virginia Tech was also recognized as having one of the top 14 cooperative education and internship programs in the nation.
Virginia Tech ranks in the top 20 public colleges and universities nationally among colleges that offer a first-class educational experience at a bargain price, according to Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine.
The architecture and landscape architecture programs in Virginia Tech's College of Architecture and Urban Studies are ranked among the very best in America. In its 2007 report, DesignIntelligence (the only national college ranking survey focused exclusively on design) ranked the undergraduate architecture program fourth nationally and first among public universities. DesignIntelligence also ranked the university’s undergraduate interior design program seventh in the nation.
The Virginia Tech campus is located in Blacksburg, Virginia. The central campus is roughly bordered by Prices Fork Road to the northwest, Plantation Drive to the west, Main Street to the east, and US 460 Bypass to the south, though it has several thousand acres beyond the central campus. The university has established branch campuses in Hampton Roads (Virginia Beach), the National Capital Region (Falls Church - Alexandria, Virginia), Richmond, Roanoke, and the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon.
The Blacksburg campus is arranged rather uniquely in comparison to other universities. In the center of campus lies the Drillfield, which is a large oval field running Northeast to Southwest, encircled by a one way street known as Drillfield Drive. The Drillfield's name stems from its historical use by the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets to conduct military drills. An underground river underneath the drillfield makes the land unsuitable for building, protecting it as an open space on campus. On the northwestern side of the Drillfield lies the majority of the academic and administrative buildings, including Burruss and McBryde halls. On the southeastern side of the Drillfield lies the majority of the residential buildings, including the residence halls, dining halls, and War Memorial Gym. Newman Library is located on the eastern side of campus and connects to Torgersen Bridge, which spans the main road into campus, Alumni Mall. North of the Drillfield and northwest of Alumni Mall lies the Upper Quad, known to many students as military campus. The Upper Quad is home to the Corps of Cadets' barracks and Shultz Dining center.
On the Blacksburg campus, the majority of the buildings incorporate Hokie Stone as building material. In fact, it is now official university policy that all new buildings must incorporate the stone into their design. Hokie Stone is generally gray, shaded by hues of brown and pink. The limestone is mined from various quarries in Southwestern Virginia, Tennessee, and Alabama - one of which has been operated by the university since the 1950s. However, while it is true that the majority of buildings on campus incorporate Hokie Stone into their design, there are a few notable exceptions. For example, all buildings in the Upper Quad, which includes Lane and Shultz Halls, are constructed of red brick. Also, a number of academic buildings were not constructed using Hokie Stone, as they were built before the institution of the rule mandating its use in all new university buildings.
In 2007, Virginia Tech was ranked #1 by the The Princeton Review under the category of "Best Campus Food". It has seven dining centers which included Squires food court (Au Bon Pain & Sbarro), Owens Food Court, Hokie Grill (Chick-fil-A, Pizza Hut, Cinnabon), D2 & DXpress, Shultz & Shultz Express, Deet's Place, and the high end West End Market. Virginia Tech also has a catering center, Personal Touch Catering.
The Hokie Bird is a turkey-like creature whose form has evolved from the original school mascot of the Fighting Gobbler. While the modern Hokie Bird still resembles a Fighting Gobbler, the word "Hokie" has all but replaced Fighting Gobbler in terms of colloquial use. The term originated from the Old Hokie spirit yell, in which there was no particular meaning indicated for the word.
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.
During the early years of VPI, a rivalry developed between it and Virginia Military Institute. This rivalry developed into the original "Military Classic of the South," an annual football game between VMI and VPI usually held on Thanksgiving Day in Roanoke, Virginia. That series ended after the 1984 season; VMI had elected to play at the Division I-AA level, now Division I FCS, after the NCAA's 1978 divisional split for football, and the schools' wide disparity in size had led to a similar imbalance in results. Another long-standing and important rivalry is between Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia. The Virginia-Virginia Tech rivalry strengthened in concurrence with Tech's growth during the 1960s and 1970s and is now the Hokies' primary program-wide athletic rivalry. The two schools compete in football for the Governor's "Commonwealth Cup" each season.
Virginia Tech's fight song, Tech Triumph, was written in 1919 and remains in use today. Tech Triumph is played at sporting events by both the Virginia Tech band, The Marching Virginians, and the Corps of Cadets' band, the Highty Tighties. The Old Hokie spirit yell, written in 1896 and used to this day, is familiar to many Virginia Tech fans. This chant is also where the word Hoki (since modified to "Hokie") originally appeared.
Virginia Tech's men's basketball team has seen a resurgence of fan support since the arrival of coach Seth Greenberg in 2003-04 and its entry into the ACC in 2004-05. Prior to Coach Greenberg's arrival in Blacksburg, the Virginia Tech men had not had a winning season since the 1995–1996 season when they received a bid to the NCAA tournament, and the team did not even make the Big East tournament its first three seasons in the conference. Greenberg's squad finally made the Big East tournament in 2003-04, then a year later scored their first postseason berth in nine years when they made the NIT in 2004-05 as a first-year ACC school. In the 2006-07 season, Greenberg's Hokies finished with a 10–6 record in the ACC and 22-12 record overall, earning its first NCAA tournament berth in 11 years, and reaching the NCAA second round before losing to Southern Illinois.
Both basketball teams play their home games in Cassell Coliseum.
Virginia Tech's football team plays home games in Lane Stadium. While, at a capacity of 66,233, it is relatively small in comparison to many other Division I-A stadiums, it is still considered to be one of the loudest stadiums in the country. In 2005, it was recognized by rivals.com as having the best home field advantage in college football. This is due in part to the fact that the stadium has a long history of traditions that foster increased participation by the fans, the corps of cadets, and the bands. Also, especially since Lane was expanded in 2004, the stadium is built in a way that naturally retains sound so as to amplify crowd noise.
Head coach Frank Beamer has become one of the winningest currently active head coaches in Division I-A football with 198 wins following the 2006 season. Beamer's teams are known for solid special teams play (affectionately called Beamer Ball) and for tough defenses headed by defensive coordinator Bud Foster. The Hokies currently have the fourth longest bowl streak in the country, having participated in bowl games in each of the last 15 seasons. Since the 1995 season, the Hokies have finished with a top-10 ranking five times, won five conference championships (three Big East and two ACC), and played once for the national championship, losing to Florida State 46–29 in the 2000 Sugar Bowl. Currently Virginia Tech is one of only two teams to have 4 straight 10-win seasons in Division I-A football. Annually, Virginia Tech plays its traditional rival, the University of Virginia, for the Commonwealth Cup.
The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets (VTCC) is one of only two military organizations established as an integral part of a major United States civilian, public university; the other is Texas A&M University. Both are Senior Military Colleges. The Corps of Cadets has existed from the founding the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1872 and enrollment in the program was mandatory until 1964, when Virginia Tech first began allowing students to follow a strictly civilian track. Cadets live together in dormitories, march to meals in formation, wear a distinctive uniform on campus, and receive an intensive military and leadership educational experience similar to that available at the United States military academies. Unlike the US service academies, however, VTCC cadets are not required to engage in compulsory military service upon graduation, with as many as 20% of cadets in any given year electing to pursue a civilian career upon graduation.
Subsidiaries of the Virginia Tech Foundation include Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, the Hotel Roanoke, the National Public Radio affiliate WVTF Roanoke FM 89.1, the Center for European Studies and Architecture, and the Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech.
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 Net.Work.Virginia and the Mid Atlantic Crossroads.
Virginia Tech plans to have a second supercomputer running by the fall of 2008. The unit will be made of 324 Mac Pro Towers with a theoretical computing capacity of 29 teraflops. The computer is not a replacement for System X and will not be used in the same manner. The new supercomputer will be a purely computer science research system. Uses will include research studying two main areas: power-aware software systems that can adjust performance automatically to maximize efficiency, and distributed shared memory systems that can run existing threaded code on high-performance clusters.