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Virginia Tech Historical Data Book, Section 1.11:
The Hutcheson Years (1945-1947)

Japan surrendered, ending World II, the day Hutcheson was elected to the presidency. Though peace solved many problems, it created enormous ones for the nation's colleges, which faced a tidal wave of applications for admissions from thousands of veterans returning to civilian life.

For the first time since the college had been established, more civilian students than military were in the student body with the beginning of the winter quarter 1946. At the end of registration, 1,355 students were enrolled, of whom only 427 were in the corps. Returning veterans were allowed the option of enrolling in the corps.

The most immediate and pressing problem was the housing of veterans who were married. Trailer camps were established on the campus to alleviate this problem for about 200 of the married veterans. Solitude was turned into a club house for trailer occupants.

In order to handle the rush, the first office of admissions was established in June 1946, with the work being transferred from the office of the dean of the college.

The deluge of applications continued, with registration reaching 4,540 (3,071 were veterans) in the fall of 1946. Additional space for 500 was provided in three dormitories at the Radford Ordnance Works. Thirteen faculty members also taught classes at the facility, which was soon dubbed "Rad-Tech." Fifteen buses were used to carry Rad-Tech students to the Blacksburg campus for activities.

The Army Specialized Training Program ended in December 1945, but 17 of the students remained on the campus until graduating in June. An Air Force ROTC unit was established in the fall of 1946.

In December 1945, Tech's alumni announced plans to construct a "spiritual memorial" on campus, and solicitations of funds began. The result was the memorial and chapel at the end of the Mall, completed and dedicated 15 years later (May 28, 1960).

The board of visitors officially established the position of vice president of the college at its meeting Feb. 12, 1946, and asked Walter S. Newman, then state superintendent of public instruction, to take the post. He accepted and became Tech's first vice president on March 23. Another new position, director of student affairs, was created later in the year.

The 1946 General Assembly appropriated $225,000 to Tech for operating a branch college in Danville under supervision of the School of Engineering. The branch began operations in September 1946 with 50 students (90 per cent of whom were veterans).

Hutcheson's active service as president was terminated by sickness late in l946. He was granted sick leave in December 1946, and entered a Richmond hospital. At the meeting of the board of visitors on May 13, 1947, Newman was named acting president, and Hutcheson's sick leave was extended to September. At this same meeting, Newman presented a plan for reorganizing the college and for dividing the responsibilities of the various administrative departments to lighten the president's work load.

Hutcheson returned to the campus in late May 1947, and then went to Raleigh, N.C., where he received the honorary D.Sc. degree from North Carolina State College on June 9.

The board of visitors elected Newman as Tech's tenth president on Aug. 12, 1947, and Hutcheson was named chancellor, "in which position he will act as the agent of the board in such matters as are delegated to him by the board." Both appointments were effective Sept. 1, 1947.

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Last Modified on: Tuesday, 25-Sep-2001 08:16:06 EDT