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Virginia Tech Historical Data Book, Section 1.8:
The Barringer Years (1907-1913)

Paul Brandon Barringer was elected to succeed McBryde at the board of visitors meeting on May 17, 1907. During his six years in office, entrance requirements were raised from four to fourteen units, a Farmers' Winter Course was established, and the summer school was expanded. Campus improvements including the laying of several cement walks and the erection of a model dairy barn and four smaller buildings for individual animals.

Barringer's tenure was not a happy one. In 1909, Lawrence Priddy, chairman of the Alumni Association's Welfare Committee and later president of the association, became dissatisfied with what he considered lack of progress at the college. Fed by rumors from a few other unhappy alumni and certain disgruntled former faculty members, Priddy attempted to get the board of visitors to remove Barringer. The board refused to do so but ordered an investigation and hearing to clear the air of the rumors that had spread throughout the state. A public hearing was held on campus on March 25, 1910. Priddy's charges were heard and dismissed by the board as "unwarranted," "inaccurate," "mere difference of opinion," "trivial," and "to a large extent based upon statements of persons who ... had been discharged" from the college. Most of the charges were extremely petty (e.g., that Barringer had claimed that the college had more dairy cows than it actually had).

Peace returned to the campus for a short time only. In the fall of 1911, a former commandant of cadets accused Barringer of "countenancing immorality" on the campus, and the board quickly called for an investigation, which concluded that the charge was "without foundation."

Barringer next ran into trouble with Virginia's Governor Mann over the value of agricultural demonstration work. The governor wanted the college to enter the agricultural extension field; Barringer did not, thus antagonizing Mann and also causing dissension among the agricultural interests in the state. The governor then proceeded to threaten Barringer by saying he would appoint a board of visitors that would be antagonistic to Barringer if he would not resign the college presidency. Realizing that he had a real enemy in the state capital, Barringer decided to resign "for the sake of the college and of the state, and also for my own peace of mind."

On June 10, 1912, Barringer tendered his resignation, which was unanimously accepted. The board then asked him to remain in office for another year in order to give them time to select a new president. At their March 13, 1913, meeting they elected Joseph D. Eggleston to assume the presidency on July 1.


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Last Modified on: Tuesday, 25-Sep-2001 08:16:07 EDT