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Tech Power, 1980s


Karen Morrison: Homecoming queen candidate from the BSA.

Greg Brew, Randi Fitts, and Brian Tademy: Cheerleaders on squad.

Valerie Edmonds: Member of Techniques. The Techniques are a University dance group of 18 co-eds who perform routines at the half time of most basketball games. The group was originally formed in 1973 to promote the basketball program and assist in other Athletic Association activities. During the years the group has made numerous half time television appearances and appeared four years ago in the annual Azalea Festival parade in Norfolk.

Wayne Robinson: Most valuable player of the 1978-79 season and team captain and All-Metro Conference player during the 1979-80 season. He graduated with a degree in finance in 1980 and was the first choice of the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA draft (30th draft choice overall). After graduation, Robinson began building up an endowment fund at Tech to give scholarships to returning minority students with financial need.

First black American father and son graduate students to receive degrees at Virginia Tech: Winston Marcus Whitehurst (MA !972, PhD 1973, Curriculum and Instruction) and Ricardo Antonio Whitehurst (MA 1980, Student Personnel Services)

The Mu Nu chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. was chartered at Virginia Tech on May 15, 1980 by Chuck Bishop, Bruce Carver, Roger Freeman, Kurt Holloway, Kenny Johnson, Tony R. King, and Eric Pankey.


James Ferguson: Credentials and Elections Chairman of the Student Government Association Executive Board.

James Tabetah, a doctoral student in educational research and a native of Cameroon in Central Africa, is the International Club president.

D. K. Brockett, president, Class of 1981.

"Dear Fellow Classmates:
"For nearly four years most of us have been together. Experiences whether good or bad have been of value. Our minds have been oriented and trained to think logically. Our bodies have been pushed through academics night after night without sleep then socialized to near exhaustion. But, like the Phoenix we always rise again with new beauty and strength.
"As a class we have built floats, made banners and offered concert discount cards. We have had the privilege of reaching deep into our pockets to purchase the last true bands of gold. In keeping with a proud tradition, we partook in the annual ritual of ring exchange and dance. In the fall we tailgated with the Class of '45 and as January passed, we celebrated the coming of the end. Yes, graduation is rapidly approaching. Seniors watch each other with contempt as we scrambled for jobs. Despite all externalities, each of us is a thin strand that if wound into a rope would be very powerful. This rope exemplifies the common bond that we as a class have attained. If one were to follow this rope to its origin, we would discover it to be our alma mater.
""The Class of Virginia Tech" 1981 has ripened and is ready to be plucked from the Hokie tree. Use what you have learned to create and not to annihilate.
Yours truly,
D.K. Brockett"

(from the 1981 Bugle, page 366)

Black Faculty/Staff Caucus founded. The Caucus' goals are to further the well-being of the university's black community by organizing and maintaining a support network; to assertively promote the recruitment and retention of black faculty and staff; to assist in the recruitment and graduation of black students at all academic levels; to encourage an equitable representation of black faculty and staff in all aspects of university life; and to provide a liaison between the university's black community and its administration. Overton Johnson was selected as the Caucus' first president, from 1981-1982. Other presidents:

Overton Johnson (1981-82)
William Yongue (1982-84)
Loretta King (1984-85)
Ernest Andrews (1985-86)
Kimberly Ware (1986-97)
Michael Cooke (1987-88)
Charlie Yates (1988-90)
Charles Pinder (1990-92)
Andrew Glenn, Jr. (1992-93)
Hayward Farrar (1993-94)
Barbara Pendergrass (1994-95)
A. Curtis Lynch (1995-96)
Randolph Grayson (1996-97)
Muriel Flynn (1997-98)
Thyssene Frederick (1998-99)
Hayward Farrar (1999-2000)
Ronald Giddings (2000 -

Franklin Stubbs became one of college baseball's all-time leading home run hitters in three seasons at Virginia Tech, smashing a total of 59. As a sophomore in 1981, Stubbs' 29 home runs tied the NCAA record at the time and led the nation in slugging percentage (.969). A first round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Stubbs signed a pro contract following his junior year at Tech. He was a member of the 1988 World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. He started every game at first base for the Dodgers in the World Series victory over the Oakland A's and collected key hits in several of his team's wins. He also played for the Milwaukee Brewers. He is a manager in the Atlanta Braves' minor league organization. Stubbs was inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.

The Eta Lambda Chapter of Omega Psi Phi was granted full membership in the Interfraternity Council.


National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) chartered at VT in 1982 under the direction of Houston Outing. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of programs and activities for increasing the participation of blacks and other ethnic minorities in the fields of engineering, engineering technologies, computer science, math, physics, and chemistry. It is comprised of over 150 chartered chapters located on college and university campuses throughout the United States.

Marva Felder was the first black Virginia Tech homecoming queen. A 1983 graduate in biology, she received the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Tech in 1987.

The Virginia Tech Chapter of the NAACP founded in the spring of 1982.

"It can proudly say that it is the largest black organization on campus with a membership of 115. The NAACP seeks to make the public aware of the many aspects of the black community at Tech.... Just as the BSA promotes many cultural projects, the NAACP emphasizes the political spectrum.
"They held meetings every two weeks, and a speaker provided the program for their first meeting every month. Speakers which the NAACP sponsored included Daniel Thomas, Walter Fountroy, Dumansani Kumalo, and Douglas Wild.
"NAACP members also actively participated with other organizations which had similar goals and purposes. They jointly sponsored Shirley Chisholm as a speak with VTU, and they co-sponsored the Homecoming Queen, Marva Felder, with BSA.
"The NAACP chapter here is part of the national NAACP organization. Therefore they attended their state convention in October held in Norfolk and their national convention in the spring in Louisiana." -- 1983 Bugle, page 346

Cyrus Lawrence became Virginia Tech's all-time leading rusher in football.

The Upsilon Lambda Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority was chartered on May 22, 1982 by Francine Atkinson, Vivian Johnson Barry, Denise Cartwright, Diane Eaves, Lynn Hamilton-Jones, Chrystall Bullock McGhree, and Monalisa White.


The Black Organizations Council (BOC) was founded on Virginia Tech's campus in 1982. BOC is the umbrella organization for the predominately African-American organizations at Virginia Tech. The council serves as liaison between the university administration, campus organizations, and the African-American community. Florence Jackson represented BOC on the Commission on Student Affairs (CSA) in 1983. At that time BOC represented nine black groups to CSA.

Dallas Simmons, member of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.


Mike Johnson was Tech's second most prominent defensive player of the 1980s, behind only Outland Trophy winner Bruce Smith. Johnson and Smith played on three teams together and were ringleaders in 1983 when the Hokies posted a 9-2 record. Johnson became an instant hit in the pro ranks, starring for Cleveland. He was a two-time NFL All-Pro selection and was a starter throughout his pro football career. He moved to the Detroit Lions in 1993. A brilliant scholar, Johnson made second team Academic All-American in his junior year, 1982. Johnson received his degree in architecture. He was inducted in the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.

Scott Otey (class of 1983): First black commander of the Virginia Tech Regimental Band, the Highty-Tighties. He graduated with a degree in management.

Marcus Jenkins (class of 1984): Drum Major for the All-University Band, the Marching Virginians. Jenkins graduated with a degree in chemistry.

Charlie Yates, continuing a distinguished association with Virginia Tech, begins term on the Board of Visitors.

Darryl Settles was president of the Black Organizations Council.


Two-hundred six black freshmen.

The Black History Month Steering Committee was formed. Joyce-Williams Green was the founder.

Lisa Williams (class of 1986): first female regimental band commander.

Defensive tackle Bruce Smith became the most honored player in Hokie history when he won the Outland Trophy as America's top lineman and was a consensus All-American. As a Tech player, Smith had a career total of 71 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for losses totaling more five times the length of a football field (504 yards). He had 46 quarterback sacks. He was inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1995, and Tech retired his No. 78 jersey. Smith went on to become one of the stars in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills. He helped spark the Bills to the Super Bowl four times. He was the Bills' No. 1 draft pick in 1985. Smith returned to the Tech campus in 1993 to announce he was presenting a $50,000 gift to the university for an endowed scholarship in his name. The scholarships go to worthy students from his home area in Norfolk. The recipients do not have to be athletes.

Joyce Williams-Green: First female and black female Assistant to the Provost and Assistant Provost. In 1994 she became Acting Director of the Black Studies Program in the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies as well as Assistant to the Provost. She became the Director of the Black Studies Program in 1995. She is the first black woman to hold the position as director or head of an academic program and the first and only black female to be awarded a Cunningham research fellowship.

Myrtle Brown was the first black associate dean of the Graduate School.

Nancy Fain was the first black director of the University Cooperative Education Program.

Joseph J. Kennedy, Jr., was the first black director of Jazz Studies.

Randolph L. Grayson became the first black faculty member and only director of electron microscopy in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Chris Sessoms (class of 1986) was the first black Hokie Bird.


Lisa Carter (Ellison), class of 1986, president of Black Organizations Council

On April 20, 1985, the Kappa Psi Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was chartered on Virginia Tech's campus. Charter line sorors are Katrina Everette (Bennett), Kathy Smith (Sims), Sophia Redd (Lawson), Jammie Noel (Rainey), and Pamela Matthews (Purcell).


Calvin Jamison: A Tech graduate, Jamison was the first black assistant to the president.

In four explosive basketball seasons, Dell Curry averaged 19 points per game (career) and 24.1 as a senior. Tech retired his jersey. Curry was picked in the 14th round of the free-agent baseball draft by the Baltimore Orioles in 1985, but in 1986 he was chosen in the first round NBA draft (15th pick overall) by the Utah Jazz. After a season each in Utah and Cleveland, he was picked up by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1988 NBA Expansion Draft. Dell Curry ranks as the Hornets' all-time leading scorer with 8,341 points and games played with 581 leading into the 1996-97 season.

Charles W. Tarlton: President, Class of 1986. He graduated with a degree in industrial engineering.

The first Black Alumni Reunion was held on October 24-26. Dr. Charlie Yates, Tech's first black graduate, was the guest speaker for the reunion banquet and dance at the Sheraton Red Lion Inn. The total number of black alumni and guests in attendance for the reunion activities was 150.

First Official Black Alumni Reunion
In October 1986, 150 black alumni and guests gathered in Blacksburg for the first official Black Alumni Reunion (Minority Newsletter, Spring 1987, page 2). At the reunion banquet, President William E. Lavery welcomed black alumni back to campus. Charlie Yates, the first black graduate of the university in 1958 and a member of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, was the keynote speaker. The reunion also consisted of a pre-game reception, the football game with the University of Virginia, a dance, and a concert by the Temptations and the Four Tops in Cassell Coliseum.


Poet Nikki Giovanni was first black hired permanently from the Commonwealth Visiting Professorship of the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia. She was the first female full professor in the Department of English. She received tenure in 1989.

Robert J. Grey, Jr., begins term on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

Gerald M. Hampton (class of 1988) first Black President of the Interfraternity Council.

1987 Second Black Alumni Reunion
The second Black Alumni Reunion was held the following year in 1987. The reunion included a business meeting, pre-game reception, football game, block show, and a successful scholarship dinner/dance at the Sheraton Red Lion Inn. While this reunion attracted only 48 attendees, a highly successful professional development seminar between black alumni and current students was created.

Rob Branch, first black president, Graduate Student Association


Renee Dennis became Tech's leading women's basketball scorer and was the first Tech female athlete to have her jersey retired. She was inducted into the Virginia Tech Hall of Fame in 1997.

Frankie Allen: First black head basketball coach.

Deborah Parsons: First black coordinator for black cultural affairs and first black assistant dean of students for multi-cultural affairs. She worked to develop the Black Cultural Center in Squires.

Sidney Crumwell was the first and only director of the Tomorrow's Teachers Program.

Kimble Jay Reynolds: President, Class of 1988.

Rose M. Robinson starts her term as a member of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.


Dr. Cheryl Adams: First black staff physician in Student Health Services.

Muriel Flynn: First black employment supervisor in Personnel Services. He became Human Resources Manager in 1994. He started working at Tech as an employment analyst in 1984.

Donald J. Williams: First black director of V. P. I. Facilities, Inc.

Ronald Giddings becomes assistant Dean of Students. Part of his charge included providing leadership and direction for the Black Cultural Center.

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