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Time Line of the History of Virginia Tech

by Peter Wallenstein and Tamara Kennelly



1851

Olin and Preston Institute established, a Methodist academy

1859

Congress passes a bill, introduced by Vermont Congressman Justin S. Morrill, to help finance agricultural and mechanical education in every state, but President James B. Buchanan vetoes it on states' rights grounds

1862

Congress passes, and President Abraham Lincoln signs, the Morrill Land-Grant College Act

1869

Olin and Preston is rechartered as the Preston and Olin Institute

1872

The Virginia legislature passes, and Governor Gilbert C. Walker signs, a bill establishing the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College in Blacksburg for white male students and allocating two-thirds of the state's land-grant fund to it (Hampton Institute, a school for black students, gets the other one-third)

Charles L. C. Minor is VAMC's first president (1872-79)

VAMC acquires the one buildings and five acres of the Preston and Olin Institute for a campus and purchases "Solitude" (a house, other buildings, and 280 acres) for a farm

VAMC opens on October 1, with William Addison Caldwell the first student to enroll; enrollment reaches 132 during the 1872-73 school year

Virginia Agricultural & Mechanical College Catalogue of the Officers and Students, 1872

1875

Twelve students are awarded three-year diplomas

Alumni Association is established

Virginia Agricultural & Mechanical College Catalogue of the Officers and Students, 1875

1876-77

New buildings include the original president's house (now part of Henderson Hall) and the First and Second Academic Buildings (razed in 1957)

1879-82

Political turbulence engulfs VAMC, turning over boards of visitors, presidents, and faculty

John L. Buchanan serves as president for two short periods

Professor John Hart is acting president for 1880-81 session

Enrollment drops to no more than 50

1882

Thomas N. Conrad is VAMC's third president (1882-86)

1886

L. L. Lomax is VAMC's fourth president (1886-91)

The legislature establishes the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station at VAMC

1887

Congress passes the Hatch Act to finance agricultural research

1888

No. 1 Barracks (Lane Hall) opens; it houses 150 cadets

1890

Congress passes the Second Morrill Act, which supplies additional federal funding for Virginia's two land-grant schools

1891

John M. McBryde is VAMC's fifth president (1891-1907)

Athletic Association is established

1892

VAMC confers its first master's degree, to Charles M. McBryde

Beginnings of intercollegiate football

1894-95

Enrollment first tops 300

First issue of the VAMC yearbook, The Bugle

1896

A change of name to Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute (immediately shortened informally to Virginia Polytechnic Institute)

VPI motto adopted: "Ut Prosim" ("That I May Serve")

New school colors-Chicago maroon and burnt orange

1901

Completion of the YMCA Building (today's Performing Arts Building), the first major edifice constructed of what would later be called "Hokie Stone." "Laying the Corner Stone of YMCA Building," c1898-99.

1902

The President's House is completed

1903

The Virginia Tech established as a student newspaper (later, in 1970, renamed the Collegiate Times)

Mary G. Lacy appointed VPI's first professional librarian

1907

Paul B. Barringer VPI's sixth president (1907-13)

Entrance to VPI in 1907 (The Preston and Olin Building)

1913

Joseph D. Eggleston VPI's seventh president (1913-19)

1914

Congress passes the Smith-Lever Act, which funds home demonstration and other agricultural extension work by the nation's land-grant schools

1919

Julian A. Burruss VPI's eighth president (1919-45), the first VPI alumnus to serve as president and the first (in 1921) to have a Ph.D.

1920

The legislature designates Virginia State College, instead of Hampton Institute, the black land-grant school

1921

Burruss convinces the board of visitors to permit white women to enroll at VPI, and five full-time women students do so

1922

Golden Jubilee celebration of VPI's first fifty years

Bachelor's degrees first top 100

1923

Mary Brumfield first woman to graduate from VPI; becomes a graduate student and earns a master's degree in 1925

1924

Participation in the Corps of Cadets becomes optional for juniors and seniors

1925

Four members (or recent members) of the VPI faculty organize what becomes, by 1928, the Future Farmers of America

First issue of The Tinhorn, the yearbook of the women students.

1926

The War Memorial Gymnasium is completed

1936-40

The completion of massive new construction (of what would later be named Burruss Hall, Squires, Eggleston, Owens, Smyth, Hutcheson, Hillcrest, Holden, and other buildings), financed in large part by New Deal programs, transforms the VPI campus

1942

Nathan Sugarman, Tech's first Ph.D., in chemistry

1944

VPI is linked with Radford College (until 1964); the consolidated school gets its first women members of the BOV

1945

John R. Hutcheson VPI's ninth president (1945-47)

1947

Walter S. Newman VPI's tenth president (1947-62)

1947-48

Enrollment first tops 5,000, propelled by the GI Bill

1949

Total degrees granted in one year first top 1,000

Three new barracks are completed and dedicated to VPI's three World War II Congressional Medal of Honor recipients: Robert Femoyer, James Monteith, and Herbert Thomas

1953

Irving L. Peddrew III enrolls as Tech's first African American student (and the first black undergraduate at a white land-grant school in the former Confederate South)

Betty Delores Stough, Tech's first female Ph.D., in parasitology

1958

Charlie L. Yates , in mechanical engineering, with honors, VPI's first black graduate (before any state university, or any other white land-grant school, in the eleven states of the former Confederacy)

1960

War Memorial Chapel is completed to honor the fallen VPI soldiers of World War II-and later of all wars

1962

T. Marshall Hahn, Jr. VPI's eleventh president (1962-74)

1964

The Corps of Cadets becomes optional for all male freshmen and sophomores

VPI separates from Radford College and begins to become fully coeducational

VPI reorganized into colleges: Engineering, Agriculture, Business, Home Economics, Architecture, and Arts and Sciences

William Walker Lewis Jr. '64, Tech's first Rhodes Scholar

1965

Lane Stadium and Cassell Coliseum are completed

1966

Six black women enroll at VPI

Cadets and civilians form a combined Student Government Association

An Extension Division combines all extension activities, agricultural and engineering

1967

Doctoral degrees first top 100

Jerry Gaines , a freshman, is granted an athletic scholarship and joins the track team, Tech's first black athlete

1967-68

Enrollment first tops 10,000

Linda Adams '68 is Tech's first black female graduate

1969

Faculty Association established

Overton Johnson is Tech's first black faculty member

1970

New name: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Bachelor's degrees first top 2,000

1972

Virginia Tech celebrates its first 100 years

Tech alumnus and professor Duncan Lyle Kinnear publishes a centennial history, The First Hundred Years

Founders Day is first celebrated, becomes an annual event each spring

BOV establishes the Academy of Teaching Excellence and inaugurates Alumni Distinguished Professorships

BOV approves recognized sorority-fraternity system

1973

Corps of Cadets admits first female cadets

1975

William E. Lavery Tech's twelfth president (1975-87)

1976

Bachelor's degrees first top 3,000

Office of the Provost is established

Athletic scholarships are first offered to women

1977

Master's degrees first top 1,000

1978

Enrollment first tops 20,000

1980

Classes begin at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine

1983

Blacksburg bus system begins operation, reflecting the much larger numbers of students living off-campus

First student member (non-voting) of the board of visitors

First on-campus fraternity-sorority houses completed

1986

Cranwell International Center opens

1988

James D. McComas is Tech's thirteenth president (1988-94)

1990

Doctoral degrees first top 400

1991-92

Bachelor's degrees first top 4,000

1994

Paul E. Torgersen is Tech's fourteenth president (1994-Present)

1996

Mark Embree, Tech's second Rhodes Scholar

1997-98

Virginia Tech, land-grant university and research institution, celebrates its 125th anniversary

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Send questions or comments to:

Tamara Kennelly, University Archivist
University Libraries
Virginia Tech
P.O. Box 90001
Blacksburg, VA, 24062-9001

URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/archives/125th/timeline.htm
Last Modified on: Monday, 25-Jul-2011 17:32:37 EDT