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Virginia Tech Historical Data Book, Section 5.2:
Research Division

A university-wide Research Division was established by the 1966 General Assembly (effective July 1), combining the research activities of the former Agricultural Experiment Station and Engineering Experiment Station. Deans of the division since 1966: W.B. Harrison (1966-70); R.M. Robertson (1970- ).

AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION - The Virginia General Assembly on March 1, 1886, passed an act authorizing establishment of a Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station at VAMC, but it was not until after passage of the federal Hatch Act of March 2, 1887, and acceptance by the state of the provisions of the act on Feb. 29, 1888, that the station was actually established. The Hatch Act originally provided $15,000 a year from the sale of public lands to every state that had a land-grant college for the establishment of an agricultural experiment station "to aid in the acquiring and diffusing among the people of the United States useful and practical information on subjects connected with agriculture and to promote scientific investigation and experiments respecting the principles and applications of agricultural science." The Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station was originally organized into three departments: agriculture, botany and entomology, and chemistry. During its first year of operations the station published six bulletins on such varied topics as: fertilizers for wheat, steer feeding, meteorology, and variety tests of potatoes and tomatoes. The station was supported entirely from federal appropriations from 1888 to 1906; after that it received both federal and state appropriations, as well as research grants from commercial firms. Directors of the Agricultural Experiment Station before it was abolished and its activities assumed by the Research Division in 1966: W.B. Preston (1888-89); L.L. Lomax, acting (1889- 90); W.D. Saunders (1890-1901); J.M. McBryde (1901-04); A.M.Soule (1904-07); S.W. Fletcher (1908-14); W.J. Schoene, acting (1914-16); A.W. Drinkard Jr. (1916-45); H.N. Young (1946-65); C.T. Wilson (1965-66).

EXPERIMENT STATION - A Virginia Engineering Experiment Station was established at Tech in 1921 by action of the board of visitors. Its purpose was "to stimulate and advance engineering education and to investigate problems of special importance to engineering and other industrial interests of the state and nation." For many years engineering departments had to do research within their normal operating budgets. In 1950, the General Assembly established the station as a separate division with a distinct research organization and budget. Directors of the Engineering Experiment Station before it was abolished and its activities assumed by the Research Division in 1966: J.S.A. Johnson (1921-31); E.B. Norris (1932-52), J.W. Whittemore (1952-63); W.G. Worcester (1963-64); F.W. Bull (1964-65); W.B. Harrison (1965-66).

OFF-CAMPUS RESEARCH FACILITIES - The Research Division operates a 1,050-acre industrial hazardous testing center near Rocky Mount and about 6,640 acres of land at various agricultural research stations and laboratories throughout the state (see Chapter 6, "Physical Plant," University Property). The McCormick Farm, where Cyrus McCormick gave the first successful demonstration of his reaper and which was later given to the university to establish the Shenandoah Valley Research Station, was designated a national historic landmark in June 1966.


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