"Bimbo" Coles (class of 1990) was the top basketball scorer in
school and Metro Conference history (2,484 points). He was the
first player to lead the conference in both scoring and assists in
the same season. He was an honorable mention All-American as a
senior and a 1988 bronze-medal award winner on the U. S. Olympic
team. Coles was chosen by the Sacramento Kings with their 40th pick
in the 1990 NBA Draft. He was then traded to the Miami Heat for
guard Rory Sparrow. He now plays for the Atlanta Hawks.
Jerry Gaines, a record-setting trackman who lifted Tech to
prominence in the sport in the late 1960s and 1970, was inducted
into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame.
Virginia Tech Veterinary College create Minority Recruitment
Program in conjunction with Virginia State University and
University of Maryland, Eastern Shore (both traditionary black
Black Cultural Center opened in November
1991 in 126 Squires. In 1984 Black student leaders from the class
of 1985 proposed the establishment of a Black Cultural Center to
correlate with the uprise in recruitment of black students. Carol Crawford was named
coordinator for the center.
outside the Center's space in Squires was donated by the Winston
family; Matthew Winston, Sr. (class of 1959), was one of the first
black students at Virginia Tech, and his son, Matthew Winston, Jr.
(class of 1990, Business Marketing), also graduated from Tech.
Delores W. Scott became the first coordinator of the Office of
Academic Enrichment Programs. The Office of Academic Enrichment
merged with Athletic Advising in December, 1995, forming the Center
for Academic Enrichment and Excellence. Ms. Scott was appointed
director of the Center.
H. D. Flowers: First black coordinator of the Black Studies
Milton Franklin: First black campus police officer to be awarded
the Silver Distinguished Service Award for activities deemed "above
and beyond the call of duty" by Governor Wilder. Officer Franklin
risked his life for 700 individuals on the night of the Virginia
Tech Homecoming dance in October 1990. (Minority Newsletter,
Spring 1992, page 5)
Oden: First black woman appointed to the Corps of Cadets
Regimental Command. She was Regimental S1, third in command, with
the rank of Cadet Major. She graduated in 1991.
Franklin Stubbs, a college home run king who went to play on a
World Championship team with the Los Angeles Dodgers, was inducted
into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame.
Major George McNeill: First black director of the university's
regimental band, the Highty Tighties.
Penn became the first black health educator in Student Health
Services. She became the first Director of Health Education in
Phallisha Yvonne Newsome (class of
1993), a junior in political science, received a $30,000 Truman
Scholarship, which was created by Congress to honor former
President Harry S. Truman and is given to students planning a
career in government or public service. Newsome was active in the
Young Democrats and was a member of an alcohol peer-counseling
group and of the Golden Key National Honor Society.
Ujima Dance Theatre
was founded in January by Carol Ann Crawford (Carol Crawford
Smith), then coordinator of the Black Cultural Center at Virginia
Tech and a former dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. From
February 1992 to August 1994, Ujima Dance Theatre was a student
organization and was part of the Black Cultural Center. The Ujima
Dance Theatre was established to foster student development and an
appreciation for the performing arts and related activities
including, but not limited to dance, theater, set design, and
costume design from a black cultural perspective. The ensemble also
acted as a vehicle to acquaint the larger community with theatrical
aspects of black culture.
The word "ujima" is Swahili for collective work and
responsibility. It is one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, an
African-American cultural holiday celebrated annually from December
Crawford left the Black Cultural Center in 1995 to start her own
school, The Center of Dance, in Blacksburg. The new company UJIMA
(United Joyfully in Movement Arts) has a very eclectic underlying
approach that is more diverse and multi-cultural and includes all
dance forms. Members of the company are from Blacksburg, the Tech
Community, and Roanoke. The company gives lecture-demonstrations in
area schools and performs for universities and colleges. UJIMA
performed at the 25th opening celebration of the J. F. Kennedy
Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D. C., in September
Engineering Minority Center opens.
Professor Bevlee Watford was named the director of the Minority
Engineering Program. Professor
Watford was a 1981 Tech graduate in Mining Engineering.
Alfred Curtis Lynch became the first black supervisor of traffic
and parking in Parking Services.
Nina Hollins, Class of 1992: First black woman Cadet Major on
Regimental Staff, Regimental Public Affairs Office.
Dr. H. D. Flowers, II, directed Fences by August Wilson. This
was the first all-black main stage production at Virginia Tech, and
it won the Kennedy Award. The original production ran October 7-11,
1992 with a benefit performance on February 8, 1993.
Black Business Council was founded by James Walter Price with
the assistance of faculty advisor and tech alumnus Mark M.
Whitaker. The council, an organization for students in the Pamplin
College of Business, was revitalized and reorganized in the spring
of 1997 by faculty adviser Dr. Raymond Major and president
Rasheedah Hamidullah. The 1998-99 president is Taifa Harris.
Tyronne Drakeford was an all-Big
East first teamer in 1993. He played for Tech in the 1993
Independence Bowl. He went on to become a starter with the Super
Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers.
Patrick Liverpool: First black vice
provost for university outreach and international programs.
Cornel N. Morton became the first black executive assistant to
First jazz festival at Virginia Tech. The festival was held at
the Squires Student Center and hosted by Tony Walters.
Ronnie E. Stephenson is first sophomore and first African
American SGA President at Virginia Tech
became the first black associate dean of the College of Arts and
Sciences. She was tenured in 1991.
Morton: assistant director for event planning; now associate
director of University Unions and Student Activities.
Lisa Leftwich, Angela Donnell, and
Stephanie Carter were the first black female basketball players to
play in a post-season tournament and the first to win a conference championship. They won
the Metro Tournament Championship in 1994, and played against
Auburn in the first round of the NCAA tournament. In 1995, they won
the regular season conference and played the University of
Connecticut in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Maurice DeShazo became Tech football's all-time leader in total
offense and touchdown passes.
Mike Johnson and Dale Solomon were inducted into the Virginia
Tech Sports Hall of Fame. Johnson was a brilliant linebacker of the
early 1980s and academic whiz who went on to all-pro status with
the Cleveland Browns. Solomon was a super star basketballer who led
Tech to the Metro Championship in 1979 and later starred in
The National Pan-Hellenic Council was established on campus in
April 1994 through the efforts of Delta Sigma,Theta, Alpha Kappa
Alpha, and Omega Psi Phi.
Barbara Pendergrass became
Associate Dean of Students in January 1995. Before that she was
assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs (1989-94). She
is the only black who has held either of these positions. She
started working at Tech in 1979 as a counselor in University
Freeman was the all-time leading receiver and had the all-time
touchdown receptions for Tech. He was a second team all-Big East in
1993, and he played for Tech in the Gator and Independence Bowls.
He graduated from Tech in Housing, Interior Design, and Resource
Management. Freeman was wide receiver on the 1997 Super Bowl
champion Green Bay Packers.
Shawn Smith made two free throws with just 0.7 seconds left to
give Tech the NIT championship with a 65-64 overtime win against
Bryan Still was named the MVP of the Sugar Bowl after Tech
defeated Texas in what many feel is the biggest win in school
Hunter Nathanael Smith is in the midst of
an Exhibit at the Black
Cultural Center. Jennifer Vickers, a landscape designer and owner
of Terra Firma in Harrisonburg, Virginia, designed the exhibit
which was inspired by Richard Westmacott's book of photographs,
African American Yards and Gardens in the Rural
Aldora G. Green was the first black staff member to receive the
President's Award for Excellence.
The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors
established the Gloria D. Smith Professorship in Black Studies.
The first "Donning of the Kente," an
African-American celebration of achievement, was held on the eve of
Ronald Giddings was the founder of the Donning
of the Kente Ceremony at Virginia Tech.
Ronnie Stephenson was President of
the Class of 1995. He was also the first Black president of the
Student Government Association.
Bruce Smith and Tony Paige were inducted into the Virginia Tech
Sports Hall of Fame. Paige was a dynamic fullback on football teams
in the 1980s who went on to star for the New York Jets, Detroit
Lions, and Miami Dolphins. Smith was the "Sack Man" who won
football's Outland Trophy and became Virginia Tech's most honored
Ronald Giddings becomes Associate Director of the Center for Academic Enrichment and Excellence.
James R. Martin, II, was the first black graduate from Virginia
Tech to receive the Outstanding Faculty Award by the State Council
of Higher Education for Virginia. This award is the state's highest
honor for teaching facility at Virginia's colleges and
Russell Jones was the first black faculty member to receive the
Alumni Advising Award.
Scott received the first Academy for Leadership Excellence
Outstanding Leader Award.
Lucinda Roy was the first recipient of the Gloria D. Smith
Professorship in Black Studies.
Herman L. Warren's scholarly achievements in plant pathology
were recognized by his inclusion in the "Tenth Anniversary Blacks
in Science Calendar 1996." Dr. Warren has made several significant
contributions to basic and applied research on the resistance of
maize to various diseases, survival of fungi, studies on nitrogen
and nitrification inhibitors, studies on translational alteration
in maize infected with fungi, and development of methodologies in
plant pathology. He earned his B.S. degree from Prairie View
A&M University in 1953, his M.S. degree from Michigan State
University in 1962, and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota
in 1970. Dr. Warren has been a professor in the Department of Plant
Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science at Virginia Tech since
Noel Taylor, former mayor of Roanoke,
takes his seat on the Virginia Tech Board of
Dell Curry was inducted into the VIrginia Tech Sports Hall of
Fame. Curry electrified Virginia Tech basketball fans with his
All-America play in the 1980s.
1996 Best of Friends Reunion
Black alumni and friends converged on Virginia Tech's campus
during the weekend of September 20 - 22, 1996, for the third
black alumni reunion. The reunion was titled "Best of Friends
Reunion" to reflect the affiliation with the university,
friends, and colleagues who shared the same heritage.
Events for the weekend ranged from the welcome reception,
the summit that included the "state of the university" address
given by Vice President Landrum Cross, the black alumni organizational
meeting, the football game between the Hokies and Rutgers University,
an undergraduate student and alumni networking session, and a social mixer.
Delia Grenville, president, Graduate Student Association, 1996-97
Senior forward Ace Custis's No. 20 basketball jersey was retired
at the end of the season.
Renee Dennis and Cyrus Lawrence were inducted into the Virginia
Tech Sports Hall of Fame. Dennis was a basketball superstar of the
mid-1980s whose jersey was retired after she set Tech career
scoring records. Lawrence, a hard-running football tailback of the
early 1980s, is Tech's all-time rushing leader.
Nikki Giovanni starts a Black Studies library with personal
donation of approximately 200 volumes.
Harbor Choir was formed by Nikki Giovanni's Harlem renaissance
class as a way to commemorate Hush Harbors. To understand the
significance of this celebration through song, the choir's name
honors Hush Harbor slave choirs of the American past. These choirs
reflect a time when slaves of African ancestry had to secretly meet
to celebrate their religious beliefs through songs. This was extremely
dangerous. If slaves were caught congregating they were punished
severely, either whipped, sold or killed. Regardless slaves did
meet in fields and swamps to praise God through song exhibiting
courage and a desire to live life to the fullest.
was the first black graduate student representative on the Board of Visitors.
Tekisha Everette became the first African American woman elected to the Student Government Association as Vice President for the Class of 1998.
B. Keith Fulton (Urban Affairs and Planning, class of 1989) was
awarded the College of Architecture and Urban Studies' first
Outstanding Young Alumnus Award on April 23, 1998. Fulton is
director of electronic communications and technology development at
the National Urban League in New York City and chairman of the
board of TechniCoach, a commercial technology integration firm.
Dixon was appointed by President Paul Torgersen as the
university's first vice president for multicultural affairs. View
the article in the Diversity
Barbara Pendergrass, Associate Dean of Students, was promoted to
Dean of Students, effective July 1, 1998.
Moore was selected to the Burger King Coaches All-America Team.
He also was named third-team All-America by Football News. He led
the BIG EAST in quarterback sacks with 13.5 for 111 yards in
Robert Brown and Kenny Lewis were inducted into the Virginia
Tech Sports Hall of Fame. Brown was an All-American defensive end
for the Hokies who went on to an outstanding 11-year professional
career with the Green Bay Packers. Lewis was a two-sport star of
the late 1970s who earned All-America honors as a hurdler in track
and rushed for nearly 2,000 yards on the gridiron.
Black Hokies who either are playing or have
played in the National Football League or the United States
Football League (as of July 1, 1998) include Antonio Banks
(Minnesota Vikings), Cornell Brown (Baltimore Ravens), Robert Brown
(Green Bay Packers), Tyrone Drakeford (New Orleans Saints, San
Francisco 49ers), Antonio Freeman (Green Bay Packers), Torrian Gray
(Minnesota Vikings), Vaughn Hebron (Denver Broncos, Philadelphia
Eagles), Jermaine Holmes (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Waverly Jackson
(Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers), Bryan Jennings (San Diego
Chargers, New England Patriots, Tennessee Oilers), Mike Johnson (Detroit Lions,
Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Stars), Kenny Lewis (New York Jets),
Ken Oxendine (Atlanta Falcons), Tony Paige (Miami Dolphins, Detroit
Lions, New York Jets), Marcus Parker (Cincinnati Bengals), Shawn
Scales (San Francisco 49ers), Bruce
Smith (Buffalo Bills), Bryan Still (San Diego Chargers), T. J.
Washington (Tennessee Oilers, Dallas Cowboys), Todd Washington
(Tampa Bay Buccaneers), and William Yarborough (Miami
Vesey Voices (Hush Harbor Slave choir) organized by Nikki
Roxene Thompson was the first black female graduate student on the Board of Visitors.
Eddie Lucas, a Civil and Environment Engineering student and
varsity basketball player was drafted by the Utah Jazz. He is the
first Hokie drafted by the NBA since 1990.
"Come See What We've Started"
During the weekend of March 26 - 28, 1999, 169 black alumni and
guests came to campus to attend Virginia Tech's fourth black
reunion, the largest to date.
The kick-off event for the reunion was the President's Welcome Reception,
held at Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center. Extending greetings
to alumni and guests were President Paul Torgersen, Dean Barbara Pendergrass,
and Vice President for Alumni Relations Tom Tillar. Many alumni packed the
reception room. Former Homecoming Queen Marva Felder (Davis) talked to
Calvin D. Jamison and others about old times. Charlie Yates '58, Tech's
first black graduate, introduced his fellow pioneers of the 1950s,
Lindsay Cherry and Essex Finney. Jerry Gaines, Tech's first black
scholarship athlete, attended along with many others. Mr. Charles Johnson
(owner of New Image Barber Stylists), who cut the hair of many students over
the years, welcomed the alumni also.
Terry Kershaw becomes the Director of Black Studies at Virginia