Fifty-Year Celebration of the Department of Biochemistry
University Archives / University Libraries / Department of Biochemistry

A CANDID CONVERSATION WITH KENDALL W. KING
Interview by Warren H. Strother - Context, Vol. 10, No. 2, Winter 1976

Looking back, now, the thing which stands out sharpest in King's mind from those years at Virginia Tech is the evolution of the land- grant school into a comprehensive university. "The institution moved from what you honestly had to rec-ognize as a second rank college with a limited curriculum, very limited state support, a weak physi-cal facility, and a faculty with spot-ty credentials at best, to the very respectable institution it is today. It was skillfully done, first by Wal-ter S. Newman and T. Marshall Hahn Jr. (both former Tech pres-idents). Just by luck I was at Tech in the period in which all this movement was going on; it was exciting to be a part of it all. My biggest concern, of course, was that as an institution moves through such a transition it is easy for the teaching function to become ne-glected. New programs tend to con-centrate on graduate work and on the very gifted student. An insti-tution can get into trouble if in striving for real academic status the faculty loses sight of the fact that many very fine and potentially productive students don't hap-pen to be "A" students. But Virginia Tech today does a tremendously better job than it ever was in a position to do before for both the most gifted of students and for the much larger number of less spectacular but equally valuable students for whose education land-grant universities exist."

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