Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, popularly known as Virginia Tech (VT), is a land-grant university in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Founded in 1872 as an agricultural and mechanical land-grant college, Virginia Tech is a comprehensive, innovative research university with the largest full-time student population in Virginia and one of the few public universities in the United States that maintains a corps of cadets.

The main Virginia Tech campus is located in the New River Valley in the valley and ridge physiographic region of the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia, a few miles from the Jefferson National Forest in Montgomery County.


In 1872, the Virginia General Assembly purchased the facilities of Preston and Olin Institute, a small Methodist school in rural Montgomery County with federal funds provided by the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act. The Commonwealth incorporated a new institution on that site, a state-supported land grant military institute called the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College.

Under the 1891–1907 presidency of John M. McBryde, the school organized its academic programs into a traditional four-year college. The evolution of the school's programs led to an 1896 name change to Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute. The "Agricultural and Mechanical College" portion of the name was popularly omitted almost immediately, and the name was officially changed to Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1944. During those years, there was a short-lived merger with Radford University which at the time was a women's college. In 1923, VPI changed a policy of four-year compulsory participation in the Corps of Cadets to two years. In 1931, VPI began teaching classes at ODU, then the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary. This program eventually developed into a two-year engineering program after which students could transfer to VPI for their third and fourth year.

VPI President T. Marshall Hahn, whose tenure ran from 1962 to 1974, was responsible for many of the successes that have shaped the modern institution of Virginia Tech. His presidential agenda involved transitioning the school into a major research university. To achieve this, the student body was increased by roughly 1,000 additional students per year, new dormitories and academic buildings were constructed, faculty were added (in 1966, for instance, the faculty added over 100 new professors) and research budgets were increased. Hahn also ended the affiliation with Radford University, dropped the two-year Corps training requirement for its male students and allowed women to join the Corps. Virginia Tech was the first school in the nation to open its corps of cadets to women.

One of Hahn's more controversial missions was only partially achieved. He had visions of renaming the school from VPI to Virginia State University, reflecting the status it had achieved as a full-fledged research university. As part of this move, VPI would have taken over control of the state's other land-grant institution, a historically black college in Ettrick, south of Richmond, then called Virginia State College. This plan failed to take root, and as a compromise, VPI added "and State University" to its name in 1970, yielding the current formal name of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. In the late 1970s, the shorthand name "Virginia Tech" was adopted as the proper identification of the university's athletic teams over the acronym "V.P.I." and the media were requested to use "Virginia Tech" in their reporting of sport scores. In the early 1990s, the school authorized the official use of Virginia Tech as equivalent to the full VPI&SU name. Many school documents today use the shorter name, though diplomas and transcripts still spell out the formal name. Similarly, the abbreviation VT is far more common today than VPI or VPI&SU, and appears everywhere, from athletic uniforms, to the university's Internet domain name

In 2007, the school and campus received international attention as the site of the the deadliest peacetime shooting incident by a single gunman in United States history, on or off of a school campus.


Virginia Tech presidents
Charles Minor 1872–1880
John Lee Buchanan March 1, 1880–August 12, 1880
Scott Shipp August 12, 1880–August 25, 1880
John Lee Buchanan May 1881–1882
Thomas Nelson Conrad 1882–1886
Lunsford Lindsay Lomax 1886–1891
John McLaren McBryde 1891–1907
Paul Brandon Barringer 1907–1913
Joseph Dupuy Eggleston 1913–1919
Julian Ashby Burruss 1919–1945
John Redd Hutcheson 1945–1947
Walter Stephenson Newman 1947–1962
T. Marshall Hahn 1962–1974
William Edward Lavery 1975–1987
James Douglas McComas 1987–1993
Paul Torgersen 1993–2000
Charles W. Steger 2000–present

Virginia Tech offers 80 bachelor's degree programs and 140 master's and doctoral degree programs in eight colleges and two schools:

Admission to study at Virginia Tech has become increasingly selective. For incoming freshman in the fall of 2010, undergraduate applications to the school totaled over 20,000 for a targeted incoming class size of 5,000 students. Among accepted students, the average GPA was 3.96 and SAT was 1250. Admission into many graduate programs is also highly competitive. The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine received over 1,200 applications for an incoming class size of 42.

In addition to its academic colleges, Virginia Tech also has a university-wide honors program known as University Honors. University Honors provides accepted honors students eleven different ways to earn honors credits towards one of the six honors degree options. A small percentage of University Honors students are also invited to live in one of the two honors dorms, the Hillcrest Hall and Main Campbell Hall. Honors students are required to maintain a 3.5 GPA in order to remain in the program.

Virginia Tech also features a unique laboratory with hundreds of computers in nearby off campus leased space which housed a discount store at one time. Opened in 1997, the Math Emporium is used by 8,000 students in large enrollment math course from a variety of majors each semester. 11 Math courses have been redesigned to take advantage of the facility. Claimed results have been improved Math performance in students and reduced costs for staffing and space.

On January 3, 2007 Virginia Tech along with Carilion Health System announced the creation of a new private medical school and research institute that would be a joint venture between the two organizations. The first medical school class began classes in August 2010, and the first wave of scientists were recruited to the research institute in September 2010. The first medical school class has 42 students, making it a very small medical school. The VTC School of Medicine and Research Institute is located in Roanoke next to the Carilion Health System hospital.

This article has been modified from an original version written for Wikipedia. The original version was made available under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported license.