University Archives header The First Black Graduates of Virginia Tech
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Dr. Essex Eugene Finney

Dr. Essex Eugene Finney

Essex Eugene Finney was admitted to Virginia Tech in 1956, a transfer student from Virginia State University. After completing his degree in Agricultural Engineering in 1959, he earned his master's from Penn State and his doctorate from Michigan State. Dr. Finney was a Princeton Fellow in Public Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University in 1973-74. He served from July 1980 to June 1981 in the Office of the Science Advisor to the President in Washington, D. C., in the administrations of both Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. In 1985 the College of Engineering of Pennsylvania State presented Dr. Finney with an Outstanding Engineering Alumnus Award in recognition of his expertise in agricultural research, for his contributions to enhancing the quality of our Nation's food and agricultural products, and for his invaluable activity within professional agricultural organizations. Dr. Finney worked for many years in the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the United States Department of Agriculture. In 1993 he was appointed Acting ARS Administrator.

Oral History Interview with Essex E. Finney, Jr.

Matthew Winston

Mattew Winston

Matthew Winston was the fifth black male student admitted to Virginia Tech. After graduating with a BS in Mechanical Engineering; in 1959, Mr. Winston had a distinguished career as a researcher for NASA, serving for over 35 years. He was awarded an agency medal for his contributions to equal opportunity employment within NASA.

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