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Virginia Tech Historical Data Book, Section 5.1:
Extension Division

A university-wide Extension Division was established by the 1966 General Assembly (effective July 1), combining the extension activities of the Cooperative Extension Service, General Extension Division, State Technical Services, and Continuing Education Center. Deans of the division since 1966: William E.Skelton (1966- ).

COOPERATIVE EXTENSION - Known as Agricultural Extension before 1966. Absorbed into the Extension Division in 1966. Primary responsibilities were in the areas of agriculture, home economics, community and resource development, public affairs, civil defense, marketing, and 4-H programs in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and local governments. Extension work in agriculture and home economics at the university is a direct outgrowth of farm demonstration work begun by Seaman A. Knapp in Texas in 1903. Knapp was invited to Richmond in 1906 to outline his extension ideas at a meeting called by J.D. Eggleston, then state superintendent of public instruction and later seventh Tech president. It was decided to establish an Extension program in Virginia, and T.O. Sandy of Burkeville was chosen as first state agent in 1907. F.S. Farrar was added to Sandy's staff as the first club agent in October of the same year. Ella G. Agnew became the first home agent in 1910 and was responsible for starting girls' canning club work. After the federal Smith-Lever Act was passed in 1914, the demonstration work was transferred by the General Assembly from Burkeville to the Tech campus. By then, Eggleston had become president and served as acting director of Agricultural Extension until Jesse M. Jones was appointed the first full-time director in July 1916. When the transfer of the demonstration work was made to Tech in 1914, only one state agent, four district agents, 50 county agents, and five special agents were located in 52 counties. Directors of Agricultural Extension before absorption into the Extension Division in 1966: J.D. Eggleston, acting (1914-16); J.M. Jones (1916-19); J.R. Hutcheson (1919-45); L.B. Dietrick (1945-62); W.H. Daughtrey (1962-65); W.E. Skelton (1966).

GENERAL EXTENSION - Known as Engineering Extension until fall of 1962; known as General Extension thereafter. An Engineering Extension Division was established in the 1923-24 session with the primary function of presenting technical information in popular and usable form. Engineering Extension Branch Schools were established in the 1930s to offer the first two years of Tech's principal engineering curricula in cooperation with other schools. The first of these branches was established in cooperation with the Virginia Mechanics Institute (later Richmond Professional Institute and still later Virginia Commonwealth University) in 1930; the arrangement was discontinued in 1970. Similar arrangements were made with the Norfolk division of William and Mary (now Old Dominion) in 1931 (discontinued 1963); Bluefield College in 1932 (discontinued 1964); and Lynchburg College in 1932 (discontinued 1938). Tech operated a Danville Branch (later Danville Division) on its own from 1946-68. Branch colleges were operated as Tech divisions at Roanoke (now Virginia Western Community College) from 1961-66; at Wytheville (now Wytheville Community College) from 1963-67; and at Clifton Forge-Covington (now Dabney S. Lancaster Community College) from 1964-67. Directors of Engineering Extension until replaced by General Extension were: R.B.H. Begg (1924-32); E.B. Norris (1932-52); John W. Whittemore (1952-62). S.B. Row was director of Community Colleges and General Extension from 1962-66 before absorption into the Extension Division. Only graduate level courses are now (1972) offered off-campus by General Extension; the greatest number of courses (42 in 1972) are offered at the Extension Division Area Office at Reston; a smaller number of courses are offered in cooperation with community colleges and at other locations on demand.

STATE TECHNICAL SERVICES - Began operating 1967 under the federal State Technical Services Act of 1965. Emphasis is mostly on assistance to manufacturing industries, particularly in chemicals, textiles, electrical machinery, paper, and furniture.

CONTINUING EDUCATION CENTER - Offers on-campus, adult educational programs, conferences, short courses, seminars, workshops and other special activities at the Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center (opened January 1967).


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