Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Virginia Polytechnic Institute
and State University
Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech Seal
Motto Ut Prosim (Latin)
Motto in English That I May Serve
Established 1872
Type Public
Endowment $ 600.6 million[1]
President Charles W. Steger
Provost Mark G. McNamee
Academic staff 1,371
Students 30,739
Undergraduates 23,567
Location Blacksburg, Virginia,  United States
Coordinates: 37°13.5′N 80°25.5′W / 37.225°N 80.425°W / 37.225; -80.425
Campus Rural
Former names

Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (1892–1896)
Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute (1896–1944)

Virginia Polytechnic Institute (1944–1970)
Campus Size 2,600 acres (11 km2; 4.1 sq mi)
Colors Chicago Maroon and Burnt Orange          
Athletics NCAA Division I, ACC, 21 varsity teams
Nickname Hokies
Mascot HokieBird
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, popularly known as Virginia Tech (VT), is a public land-grant university with the main campus in Blacksburg, Virginia with other research and educational centers throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, United States, and internationally.[2]

Founded in 1872 as an agricultural and mechanical land-grant college, Virginia Tech is a 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 university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.[3]

Virginia Tech has the largest number of degree offerings in Virginia, more than 125 campus buildings, a 2,600-acre main campus, off-campus educational facilities in six regions, a study-abroad site in Switzerland, and a 1,700-acre agriculture research farm near the main campus. 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.

The Board of Visitors is the governing authority for Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. The Board is composed of 14 members, 13 of whom are appointed by the Governor. The 14th member is the President of the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services, who serves ex officio. Each year, an undergraduate student and a graduate student are selected through a competitive review process to serve as non-voting representatives to the board.



Virginia Tech offers about 65 bachelor's degree programs through its seven undergraduate academic colleges, 145 master's and doctoral degree programs through the Graduate School, and a professional degree from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. In addition, the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute, a private, independent school jointly managed by the university and Carilion Health System, opened in fall 2010. The undergraduate academic colleges and schools are as follows:

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • College of Architecture and Urban Studies
  • College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
  • Pamplin College of Business
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Natural Resources and Environment
  • College of Science
  • Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine


Virginia Tech received 20,083 applications for the fall 2011 freshman class. The typical student who was offered admission had a high-school grade point average of 4.00, with the middle 50 percent being between 3.81 and 4.24. The average cumulative SAT reasoning test score was 1250, with a middle range of 1160 to 1340.[4] The Undergraduate Admissions office is located at the Visitor and Undergraduate Admissions Center.

During the 2009-10 academic year, the Graduate School at Virginia Tech enrolled 6,947 graduate students university-wide in its master’s and doctoral programs.[5]

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine received over 2,300 applications for an incoming class size of 42.[6]

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 residential halls, the Honors Residential College (HRC) located in East Ambler-Johnston and the Hillcrest Honors Community. Honors students must have a cumulative 3.6 GPA for acceptance into the program and are required to maintain a 3.5 GPA after admittance in order to remain in the program.[7]


University rankings (overall)
U.S. News & World Report[8] 69

In the U.S. News & World Report's 「Best Colleges 2011」, Virginia Tech ranked 69th among national universities and 30th among national public universities.[9] In a more recent report, the Virginia Tech College of Engineering undergraduate program was ranked 13th in the nation (tied with Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison) among all accredited engineering schools that offer doctorates and seventh among engineering schools at public universities.[citation needed] Six Virginia Tech undergraduate engineering specialties ranked among the top 20 of their respective peer programs (aerospace engineering, 10th; civil engineering, 7th; electrical engineering, 17th; engineering science and mechanics, 8th; environmental engineering, 9th; industrial engineering, 4th; and mechanical engineering, 14th, Biological System Engineering, 8th). Its graduate program in Engineering is considered among the first 20 in US, among all public and private universities, with strong emphasis on intensive interdisciplinary research.

The Pamplin College of Business undergraduate program was ranked 42nd (2011) among the nation's undergraduate business programs and 10th among public institutions.[10] Pamplin's overall ranking places it in the top 10 percent of the approximately 524 U.S. undergraduate programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.

Virginia Tech was also recognized as having one of the top 14 cooperative education and internship programs in the nation.[citation needed]

Virginia Tech ranks in the top 20 public colleges and universities nationally among colleges that offer a first-class educational experience at a bargain price, according to Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine.[citation needed]

Virginia Tech's endowment is managed by the Virginia Tech Foundation, and as of 2007 total assets, gifts, and funds equal $524.7 million. Virginia Tech's operating budget for the 2009–2010 school year is $1.032 billion.[11] The 2009–2010 budget represents a $20-Million increase from the previous school year.

The architecture, urban planning, and landscape architecture programs in Virginia Tech's College of Architecture and Urban Studies are ranked among the very best in America. In its 2010 "America's Best Architecture & Design Schools" report, DesignIntelligence (the only national college ranking survey focused exclusively on design) ranked the undergraduate architecture program 4th nationally among both public and private universities. The graduate architecture program ranked 8th in the nation. DesignIntelligence ranked the university's undergraduate landscape architecture program No. 1 in the nation and its graduate landscape architecture program No. 2. (In addition, DesignIntelligence ranked the university's undergraduate interior design program 7th, and undergraduate industrial design program 11th.)[12]

The Planetizen 2012 Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs ranks Virginia Tech's MURP program as 19th. It is the most well ranked program in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Appalachian region. This latest edition features new listings of the top master's degree programs in urban planning, as well as updated profiles for 100 planning programs in the U.S. and Canada. Virginia Tech's MURP program performed well overall and was also rated among the best programs in Technology, Land Use Planning, Environmental Planning, and Growth Management.[13]

Programs in the College of Natural Resources consistently rank among the top of their type in the nation. The college's wildlife program is ranked first by its peers, and the fisheries program is ranked second. In a recently published study of the research impact of North American forestry programs, the Journal of Forestry ranked Virginia Tech's programs second on the perceptions-based composite score and third on the citations- and publications-based index. The wood science and forest products program is listed as an accredited program by the Society of Wood Science and Technology or SWST,[14] and is recognized as one of the top programs in its category in North America. Virginia Tech is classified as a "RU/VH" (research university with very high research activity) under the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.[citation needed]

The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life at Virginia Tech has become the nation's largest collegiate relay. For 10 years, Virginia Tech students have organized Relay For Life, a community-wide, campus-based movement dedicated to raising money and awareness for the American Cancer Society. Virginia Tech received the Gordy Klatt award for achieving No. 1 net income for the 2009–2010 Nationwide Youth/College Relay For Life for the second year in a row. Raising $582,194, the 2009–2010 event has also won awards for top college in participation per capita, top online event for raising $417,428, and greatest number of survivors present, with 136 in attendance.[15] The event truly captures the spirt of the Hokie nation and its commitment to service - Ut Prosim.[citation needed]


For fiscal year 2009, Virginia Tech ranked 44th in the nation with total research and development expenditures of $396.7 million, according to the National Science Foundation (NSF). In fiscal year 2010, the university received 2,472 awards to conduct research.[16]

Virginia Tech has six main research institutes:

  • Fralin Life Science Institute
  • Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS)
  • Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment (ISCE)
  • Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech
  • Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute (VTCRI)
  • Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI)

Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI)

The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) is a premier bioinformatics, computational biology, and systems biology research facility that opened on the Blacksburg campus of Virginia Tech in 2000. It houses over two-hundred employees, multiple supercomputing clusters, and several DNA sequencers, including a massively parallel high-throughput Roche GS-FLX sequencer.[16]

The research platform of VBI focuses on the "disease triangle" of host-pathogen-environment interactions. By using bioinformatics, which combines transdisciplinary approaches to information technology and biology, researchers at VBI interpret and apply vast amounts of biological data generated from basic research to some of today's key challenges in the biomedical, environmental and agricultural sciences.

Work at VBI involves collaboration in diverse disciplines such as mathematics, epidemiology, computer science, biology, plant pathology, biochemistry, systems biology, statistics, economics and synthetic biology. The institute develops genomic, proteomic and bioinformatic tools that can be applied to the study of infectious diseases as well as the discovery of new vaccine, drug and diagnostic targets.

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI)

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), which began as the Center for Transportation Research in 1988, employs almost 300 personnel and has $26.7 million in research awards. VTTI’s mission is to save lives, time, and money for the transportation industry. As the National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence, VTTI develops and tests advanced transportation safety devices, techniques, and innovative applications.

VTTI conducts applied research to address transportation challenges from various perspectives: vehicle, driver, infrastructure, materials, and environment.[16]

Facilities include the 2.2-mile, two-lane, fully instrumented “Smart Road” and more than 51,000 square feet of office and specialized laboratory space including an asphalt lab, fully equipped garages, instrumentation bays, and a machine shop for working on VTTI’s vehicle fleet.

Fralin Life Science Institute

The Fralin Life Science Institute expanded from the Fralin Biotechnology Center, established in 1991. Its mission is to increase the quality, quantity, and competitiveness of life science research, education, and outreach at Virginia Tech by coalescing resources around existing and emerging strengths within the life science community. The institute invests in researchers investigating vector-borne disease, infectious disease, obesity, inflammation, and cell biology. [16]

Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS)

Since 2005, the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS) has made efforts to build capacity at the intersection of engineering, science, biology, and the humanities. Thrust areas include nanoscale science and engineering, nano-bio interface, sustainable energy, safe and sustainable water, national security, cognition and communication systems, renewable materials, and emerging technologies.[16]

ICTAS is also dedicated to promoting economic development in the Commonwealth of Virginia by investing in strategic technical leadership and state-of-the-art laboratory space, and provides financial support to accelerate growth in scholarship, research expenditures, and national recognition.

Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment (ISCE)

The Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment (ISCE) was created in 2007 to support interdisciplinary research and scholarship that addresses social and individual transformation. ISCE seeks to strengthen the university’s competitive position in the social sciences, humanities, and the arts; applying Virginia Tech's technological know-how to social issues and cultural opportunities; and providing support for grant writing and aligning faculty expertise with funding sources. The global issues initiative is researching trade policies and poverty in Pakistan and the Philippines, and the implications of agricultural subsidies in eight countries, among other issues. A special-interest group is promoting community/public health research, including prioritizing regional health issues and intervention strategies.[17]

Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute

The Virginia Tech Carilion Medical Research Institute is an integral component of the new medical research and education initiative embodied by the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute (VTC). This partnership combines opportunities in biomedical education and basic, translational, and clinical research with a collaborative interdisciplinary perspective. Research is aimed at understanding the fundamental processes that give rise to healthy lives and the disorders that can compromise those processes, and at development of novel diagnostics and therapeutics. Research institute investigators also contribute to discovery by training tomorrow’s physician-researchers.[17]

Virginia Tech Research Center-Arlington (VTRC-A)

The Virginia Tech Research Center – Arlington opened at 900 N. Glebe Road in June 2011. The highly visible state-of-the-art facility aims to further the university’s mission to expand its research portfolio in the National Capital Region. The region offers great opportunity for partnerships with corporate research entities and close proximity to government agencies and other public and private-sector organizations. The building is located in the Ballston area of Arlington, a short distance from many leading science and research agencies of the federal government and many high-technology companies.[18]

The seven-floor, 144,000-square-foot Virginia Tech Research Center – Arlington is U.S. Green Council LEED-certified. The exterior of the building, designed by Cooper Carry, features first floor amenities which include retail, exhibits, an outdoor terrace restaurant, and abundant green space. The interior, designed by Gensler, includes computational laboratories, offices, and a conference center to accommodate meetings, forums, symposia, and other events. The second floor conference center is available to the science and technology communities throughout the region for meetings and events not specifically related to the university, and two of the seven floors in the building not occupied by Virginia Tech are available for commercial lease.

The building is among the best connected research facilities in the world, incorporating next-generation Internet with direct fiber access to National LambdaRail, Internet 2, and multiple federal networks. High-performance connectivity links this research center to Virginia Tech's main campus in Blacksburg, as well as to other major universities. The network provides access to international peering points in New York, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Florida, and the building includes a secure data center for high performance computing (HPC)-based research.

A number of established Virginia Tech research centers and institutes are located in this facility [19]

Other areas of research

Other areas of research occurring throughout the university’s colleges and interdisciplinary groups include high-performance computing; advanced materials; wireless telecommunication; housing; human and animal health; cognition, development, and behavior; the environment; and energy, including power electronics, biofuels, fuel cells, and solar-powered building structures.

The Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) was started in 2003 by Virginia Tech and the Harvey W. Peters Research Foundation. VCOM is located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center,[20]as a private, non-profit institution with no state interest, but it is very closely affiliated with Virginia Tech on an operational level. VCOM performs a significant portion of its research in conjunction with Virginia Tech, and their results count as part of Virginia Tech's institutional total. [21]

The Virginia Tech–Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences partners the Virginia Tech College of Engineering, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and the Virginia- Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Virginia Tech’s research includes biomechanics, cellular transport, computational modeling, biomaterials, bioheat and mass transfer, biofluid mechanics, instrumentation, ergonomics, and tissue engineering.

Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties Inc. (VTIP) was established as a nonprofit corporation in 1985 to support the research mission of the university by protecting and licensing intellectual properties that result from research performed by Virginia Tech faculty and staff members and students. During fiscal year 2010, 37 U.S. patents and seven foreign patents were awarded to VTIP, and 45 license and option agreements were signed. Additionally, Virginia Tech ranked 10th among universities globally in the IEEE Spectrum Patent Power Scorecards, which analyzed the strength of patent portfolios for calendar year 2009.[16]


One of the War Memorial Chapel pylons "Sacrifice" on a snowy day.
Torgersen Hall bridge over Alumni Mall. Torgersen is an example of architecture using Hokie Stone.

The Virginia Tech campus is located in Blacksburg, Virginia. The central campus is roughly bordered by Prices Fork Road to the northwest, Plantation Drive to the west, Main Street to the east, and US 460 Bypass to the south, though it has several thousand acres beyond the central campus.

Eggleston and Owens Halls.

In the center of the Blacksburg campus lies the Drillfield, a large oval field running Northeast to Southwest, encircled by a one way street known as Drillfield Drive. The Drillfield's name stems from its use by the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets to conduct military drills. Two underground rivers underneath the drillfield cause it to gradually sink, making the land unsuitable for building and protecting it as an open space on campus. On the northwestern side of the Drillfield lies the majority of the academic and administrative buildings, including Burruss and McBryde halls. On the southeastern side of the Drillfield lies the majority of the residential buildings, including the residence halls, dining halls, and War Memorial Gym. Newman Library is located on the eastern side of campus and connects to Torgersen Bridge, which spans the main road into campus, Alumni Mall. North of the Drillfield and northwest of Alumni Mall lies the Upper Quad, known to many students as military campus. The Upper Quad is home to the Corps of Cadets' barracks and Shultz Dining center.

On the Blacksburg campus, the majority of the buildings incorporate Hokie Stone as building material. In fact, it is now official university policy that all new buildings must incorporate the stone into their design. Hokie Stone is generally gray, shaded by hues of brown and pink. The limestone is mined from various quarries in Southwestern Virginia, Tennessee, and Alabama - one of which has been operated by the university since the 1950s. However, while it is true that the majority of buildings on campus incorporate Hokie Stone into their design, there are a few notable exceptions. For example, all buildings in the Upper Quad, which includes Lane and Shultz Halls, are constructed of red brick. Also, a number of academic buildings were not constructed using Hokie Stone, as they were built before the institution of the rule mandating its use in all new university buildings.

Panoramic view of Virginia Tech's Drillfield

Extended campuses

The university has established branch campuses in Hampton Roads (Virginia Beach), the National Capital Region (Northern Virginia Center Falls Church and Urban Affairs & Planning Program (Masters and Ph.D. in urban and regional planning) at its Old Town Alexandria, Virginia) campus, Richmond, Roanoke, and the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon.

National Capital Region

Virginia Tech's presence in the National Capital Region links regional graduate education and outreach programs that are consistent with the university's strategic research areas of excellence: energy materials and environment, social and individual transformation, health, food, and nutrition, and innovative technologies and complex systems.[22]

Supporting the university's missions in the National Capital Region, Virginia Tech has established collaborations and partnerships with local and federal agencies, nonprofit research organizations, businesses, and other institutions of higher education.

Current locations include Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, Leesburg, Manassas, and Middleburg.[22]

International campuses

The Caribbean Center for Education and Research (CCER)

Located on the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic, the Caribbean Center for Education and Research (CCER) in Punta Cana provides a base for Virginia Tech faculty to conduct research as well as instruct students on biodiversity, environmental and social sustainability, global issues in natural resources, and hotel and tourism management. The center is the product of a partnership between Virginia Tech and the PUNTACANA Ecological Foundation (PCEF) and the PUNTACANA Resort and Club. PCEF maintains a 2,000-acre natural forest reserve, 14 kilometers of protected coral reef, freshwater lagoons and coastal mangroves.[23]

Center for European Studies and Architecture (CESA)

Virginia Tech’s Center for European Studies and Architecture (CESA) is the university’s European campus center and base for operations and support of its programs in the region. The center’s location in Ticino, the Italian-speaking canton of Switzerland, is also close to major northern Italian cities including as Milan.[23]

Agricultural Research and Extension Centers

Virginia Tech has several agricultural research and extension centers located throughout the Commonwealth dedicated to improving agricultural practices and the quality of life of Virginia citizens. The Virginia Tech Agricultural Research and Extension Centers are: Alson H. Smith, Jr., Eastern Shore,Eastern Virginia, Hampton Roads, Middleburg, Northern Piedmont, Reynolds Homestead, Shenandoah Valley, Southern Piedmont, Southwest Virginia, Tidewater, and Virginia Seafood.

Student life

Residential life

More than 9,000 Virginia Tech students reside on campus. A majority of the residential halls are located on the southwestern side of the Drillfield. Currently, there are twenty-nine residential halls housing undergraduate and graduate students.

Campus residence halls

Corps of Cadets

Virginia Tech Corps marching

Until 1932, every able-bodied male was required to participate for four years in the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. The requirement was changed to two years until 1964, when participation became voluntary. Virginia Tech remains one of three public universities in the country (Texas A&M and North Georgia College and State University are the others) with both an active corps of cadets and "civilian" lifestyle on its campus.

More than 750 cadets reside within the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Community, also known as the cadet barracks within the corps. The corps community is located in the historical Upper Quad, which features some of the oldest buildings on campus, with original structures dating back as far as the late 1800's.


Several Tech traditions date back to the late 19th century after the appointment of university president John M. McBryde. McBryde became president of Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1891 and immediately began reorganizing the university's curriculum. He envisioned VAMC as more professional and technical. McBryde's vision and plan laid the foundation for modern-day Virginia Tech.

What is a Hokie?

In 1896 the Virginia General Assembly officially changed VAMC’s name to Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute. The name change called for a new school cheer. A contest was held to select a new spirit yell. O.M. Stull (Class of 1896) coined the term “Hokie” in the cheer he wrote for the competition, and won the $5 top prize.

Old Hokie
Hoki, Hoki, Hoki, Hy.
Techs, Techs, V.P.I.
Sola-Rex, Sola-Rah.
Polytechs- Vir-gin-ia.
Rae, Ri, V.P.I.

The “e” was added to “Hoki” some time later, either for looks or to forestall mispronunciation of the word that Stull said he created as an attention-grabber in the cheer, which became known as “Old Hokie.”[24]

In 1896, VAMC athletes wore black and cadet-gray uniforms. Since the university had a new name and a new yell, new college colors seemed to be a desirable next step. During 1896, a committee was formed to find a suitable combination of colors. The committee selected burnt orange and Chicago maroon after discovering that no other college used the combination. Burnt orange and Chicago maroon were officially adopted and were first worn during a football game versus nearby Roanoke College on Oct. 26, 1896.

Motto, Seal, and Logos

In 1896, the university adopted Ut Prosim, Latin for "That I May Serve," as its motto, and a college seal was developed. However, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors did not officially adopt the seal, which is still used, until 1963.

In 1991, Virginia Tech adopted a university logo, which incorporates an image of the War Memorial with its eight pylons, each representing a different virtue. The inclusion of the numerals "1872," the founding year of the university, reinforces the traditions of more than a century of service to the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world. The logo was updated in 2006 to incorporate the university's tagline--Invent the Future.

The university also has an athletic logo: a streamlined VT, which is used only for sports and sports merchandise. Unveiled in 1984, the athletic logo is a composite of designs submitted by two Virginia Tech art students--Lisa Eichler of Chesapeake, Va., and Chris Craft of Roanoke, Va.--to a competition sponsored by the university's art department.

From Gobbler to HokieBird

The origin of the term "Gobblers" is disputed, with one story claiming it was coined in the early 1900s as a description of how student athletes would "gobble" up their food. Another story attributes it to the fact that the 1909 football coach, Branch Bocock, wanted to encourage enthused spirit amongst his players and initiated them into a "Gobbler Club."

In 1913, Floyd Meade, a local resident known as “Hard Times,” was chosen by VPI students to serve as the school’s mascot. Since the athletic teams had been called Gobblers for several years, Meade trained a large turkey to gobble on command and paraded it on the sidelines during football games. The first costumed Gobbler took the field in the fall of 1962. In the late 1970s and into the 1980s, a football coach seeking to de-emphasize the Gobblers’ presumed allusion to the athletes’ reputation for gobbling down their food promoted the Hokies nickname instead. The costume worn by today's HokieBird made its first appearance in 1987. HokieBird has won national mascot competitions and has been so popular that the mascot landed an appearance on Animal Planet's "Turkey Secrets."

Skipper Cannon

Virginia Tech skipper crew

Various cannons have been used off and on for years at Virginia Tech, but in the 1960s one student formally proposed to the student governing body that a cannon be acquired to fire at football games. The proposal was approved but was not pursued further. Two cadets from the class of 1964 made a pact at a traditional VPI-VMI Thanksgiving Day game that they would build a cannon for Virginia Tech to outshine--or outblast--VMI's "Little John." The cadets, Alton B. "Butch" Harper Jr. and Homer Hadley "Sonny" Hickam (of October Sky fame), were tired of hearing VMI keydets chant, "Where's your cannon?" after firing their own. They named the cannon--"Skipper"--to honor President John Kennedy, who had just been assassinated. President Kennedy had been the skipper of a PT-boat.

On its first firing at the next game with VMI, the eager cadets tripled the charge, which blew the hats off half the VMI keydets and shook the glass in the press-box windows of Roanoke's Victory Stadium. They never heard the VMI chant again. Today, Skipper is fired outside Lane Stadium when the football team enters the field and when it scores.


Stylized "VT" logo

Virginia Tech's sports teams are called the Hokies, except for the swim team which uses a variant ("H2Okies"). Tech teams participate in the NCAA's Division I in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which the school joined in 2004 after leaving the Big East. Along with all other ACC schools, Tech's football team competes in Division I FBS, the higher of two levels of Division I competition in that sport.

The Hokie Bird is a turkey-like creature whose form has evolved from the original school mascot of the Fighting Gobbler. While the modern Hokie Bird still resembles a Fighting Gobbler, the word "Hokie" has all but replaced Fighting Gobbler in terms of colloquial use. The term originated from the Old Hokie spirit yell, in which there was no particular meaning indicated for the word.

The stylized VT (the abbreviation for Virginia Tech) is used primarily by the athletic department as a symbol for Virginia Tech athletic teams. The "athletic VT" symbol is trademarked by the university and appears frequently on licensed merchandise.

During the early years of VPI, a rivalry developed between it and Virginia Military Institute. This rivalry developed into the original "Military Classic of the South," an annual football game between VMI and VPI usually held on Thanksgiving Day in Roanoke, Virginia. That series ended after the 1984 season; VMI had elected to play at the Division I-AA level, now Division I FCS, after the NCAA's 1978 divisional split for football, and the schools' wide disparity in size had led to a similar imbalance in results. Another long-standing and important rivalry is between Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia. The Virginia-Virginia Tech rivalry strengthened in concurrence with both UVA's and Tech's growth during the 1960s and 1970s and this is now the Hokies' primary program-wide athletic rivalry. The two schools compete in football for the Governor's "Commonwealth Cup" each season.

Virginia Tech's fight song, Tech Triumph, was written in 1919 and remains in use today. Tech Triumph is played at sporting events by both the Virginia Tech band, The Marching Virginians, and the Corps of Cadets' band, the Highty Tighties. The Old Hokie spirit yell, written in 1896 and used to this day, is familiar to many Virginia Tech fans. This chant is also where the word Hoki (since modified to "Hokie") originally appeared.

Virginia Tech baseball

Chuck Hartman, who retired as the Virginia Tech baseball coach in 2006, finished his career as the fourth winningest coach in Division I baseball history with a 1,444-816-8 record, including a 961-591-18 mark in his 28 seasons at Tech, the best record of any baseball coach in history at Tech. Peter Hughes from Boston College is now the new coach for Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech basketball (men's)

Virginia Tech's Cassell Coliseum

Virginia Tech's men's basketball team has seen a resurgence of fan support since the arrival of coach Seth Greenberg in 2003-04 and its entry into the ACC in 2004-05. Prior to Coach Greenberg's arrival in Blacksburg, the Virginia Tech men had not had a winning season since the 1995–1996 season when they received a bid to the NCAA tournament, and the team did not even make the Big East tournament its first three seasons in the conference. Greenberg's squad finally made the Big East tournament in 2003-04, then a year later scored their first postseason berth in nine years when they made the NIT in 2004-05 as a first-year ACC school. In the 2006-07 season, Greenberg's Hokies finished with a 10–6 record in the ACC and 22-12 record overall, earning its first NCAA tournament berth in 11 years, and reaching the NCAA second round before losing to Southern Illinois.

Virginia Tech basketball (women's)

Virginia Tech's women's basketball team, led by coach Beth Dunkenberger, is a fixture in postseason play, having received a berth to the NCAA tournament each season from 2003 to 2006. Virginia Tech's women have been in postseason play every year since the 1997-98 season, Bonnie Henrickson's first season as the head coach of the Hokies, earning seven NCAA berths and three NIT appearances during that stretch.

Both basketball teams play their home games in Cassell Coliseum.

Virginia Tech football

Lane Stadium from the north in June 2008.

Virginia Tech's football team plays home games in Lane Stadium. Having a capacity of 66,233, it is relatively small in comparison to many other top FBS stadiums, yet it is still considered to be one of the loudest stadiums in the country. In 2005, it was recognized by as having the best home field advantage in college football.[25]

Head coach Frank Beamer has become one of the winningest currently active head coaches in FBS football with 198 wins following the 2010 season. Beamer's teams are known for solid special teams play (called Beamer Ball) and for tough defenses headed by defensive coordinator Bud Foster. The Hokies currently have the fourth longest bowl streak in the country, having participated in bowl games in each of the last 16 seasons.[citation needed] Since the 1995 season, the Hokies have finished with a top-10 ranking five times, won seven conference championships (three Big East and four ACC), and played once for the national championship, losing to Florida State 46–29 in the 2000 Sugar Bowl. Currently Virginia Tech is the only team to have 7 straight 10-win seasons in FBS football. Annually, Virginia Tech plays its traditional rival, the University of Virginia, for the Commonwealth Cup.

Virginia Tech soccer (men's)

Virginia Tech's men's soccer team has improved greatly since the arrival of Oliver Weiss, who has coached the team since 2000. Under Weiss, Tech has made four NCAA tournament appearances, including a trip to the College Cup in 2007. The Hokie's trip to the College Cup is the equivalent of men's basketball Final Four and was the soccer team's most successful season. The Hokies finished the 2007 regular season ranked third nationally.[26]

Virginia Tech soccer (women's)

Women's soccer at Virginia Tech began in 1980 with two club teams under the guidance of Everett Germain and his two daughters, Betsy and Julie. Kelly Cagle was head coach from 2002 to 2010, leaving with a record of 76-70-15 and three consecutive NCAA trips. She was succeeded by Charles Adair. [27]

Virginia Tech softball

Virginia Tech Softball upset the USA national team in a 1-0 no hitter in 2008[28] and advanced to the Women's College World Series for the first time ever. [29] Since then the program hasn't had a winning season.

Fight song

Tech Triumph is the fight song of Virginia Tech. It was composed in 1919 by Wilfred Pete Maddux (class of 1920) and Mattie Eppes (Boggs). Wilfred Preston ("Pete") Maddux, a trombone and baritone player in the Virginia Tech Regimental Band (member of the band from the Fall of 1917 to 1919), jointly composed Tech Triumph (1985 recording - link updated 2008) in 1919 along with Mattie Walton Eppes (Boggs). Mattie Eppes was a neighbor of Pete in his hometown of Blacksburg, Virginia. When he was home, Pete would often play violin with Mattie accompanying him on the piano. One evening in the summer of 1919, Pete asked her to help him compose a fight song for VPI. She played the tune and Pete wrote out the score and the words for two verses in a single evening. Pete Maddox is not listed in the yearbook with the band after 1919. Ms. Eppes later married John C. Boggs, Superintendent of Randolph-Macon Military Academy.

The song was first performed on Saturday, November 1, 1919, at the Fair Grounds in Lynchburg, Virginia before the football game between V.P.I. and Washington and Lee University. According to the report in the November 5, 1919, issue of The Virginia Tech, there were problems with obtaining uniforms for the entire Corps, so only the junior and senior classes, along with the band, were able to attend the game. The cadets arrived by train in Lynchburg at 11:30 a.m. and headed to the Carroll Hotel, which was V.P.I. headquarters. At 1 p.m., the cadets paraded through the streets of Lynchburg, then headed to the car barn to board street cars for the trip to the Fair Grounds.

"On arriving at the grounds, the battalion was formed for the review on the football field. After passing in review before the grandstand, the four companies formed a hollow square with the band in the center, and the band played our new song, 'Tech Triumph.'"

The following school year, as noted in the June 2, 1920, edition of The Virginia Tech, "After a great deal of trouble, to say nothing of the expense incurred, the Monogram Club has succeeded in placing the "Tech Triumph" upon a Columbia record, and we are told that the greatest college song on "record" will be out during Finals."

The popularity of the song continued, as reported in the November 3, 1920, edition of The Virginia Tech. "The song has been a great success, not only as a school song, but also as a popular selection, and is featured as such by many dance orchestras. J. N. Walker, who has been handling the sale of the records and piano copies for the Monogram Club, has received another supply of both the records and the sheet music, which are now on sale at 256 G Division. The price remains the same as formerly, $1.25 for the record and 35 cents for the piano copies. Anyone who has failed to obtain either the record or the sheet music is urged to do so at once, as the supply is not expected to last long."


Since opening its doors in 1872 as Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, Virginia Tech has produced scores of alumni whose contributions have bolstered the university’s reputation as a first-class institution across the nation and around the world.

See also


  1. ^ "Virginia Tech Factbook: Financial Overview". 2011-10-26. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  2. ^ About the University | Virginia Tech
  3. ^ "About the University". Virginia Tech. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  4. ^ Freshman Snapshot Class of 2015. Blacksburg, VA: Office of Admissions Virginia Tech. 2011. p. 1. 
  5. ^ Virginia Tech Visitor Guide. Blacksburg, VA: Office of University Relations Virginia Tech. 2011. p. 17. 
  6. ^ "Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Selects Students for Second Class". Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  7. ^ "Admissions to Honors | University Honors | Virginia Tech". Retrieved 2011-10-05. 
  8. ^ "National Universities Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2012. U.S. News & World Report. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Best Colleges 2011". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2010-08-16. 
  10. ^ "Best Undergraduate Business Programs". America's Best Colleges 2011 (U.S. News & World Report). Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  11. ^ "Virginia Tech Board of Visitors approves 2009-10 university budget". Virginia Tech News (Virginia Tech). Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  12. ^ "2010 America's Best Architecture Schools". Architectural Record. McGraw-Hill. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  13. ^ Template:Citation web
  14. ^ "swst". Society of Wood Science and Technology. 2010-03-17. Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  15. ^ Paradiso, Stephanie. "Virginia Tech's student-run Relay For Life program wins national award for cancer research fundraising." Virginia Tech News. Virginia Tech, 6 Dec. 2010. Web. 6 Dec. 2010 <>.
  16. ^ a b c d e f "About Virginia Tech". University Facts and Figures 2010-2011. Office of University Relations, Marketing and Publications Virginia Tech. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  17. ^ a b "The Research Institutes of Virginia Tech". Research Institutes Brochure. Virginia Tech. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  18. ^ "Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington opens to expand capability for scientific inquiry, extend university footprint in National Capital Region" VT News. Retrieved 2011-10-01.
  19. ^ "About the NCR | NCR | Virginia Tech". Retrieved 2011-10-05. 
  20. ^ "History on the Founding of the College". Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Archived from the original on 2008-01-22. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  21. ^ "Osteopathic College Takes Huge Step". Roanoke Times. 2004-07-09. Retrieved 2011-11-17. 
  22. ^ a b "About the NRC". Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  23. ^ a b "Extended Campuses". International Centers. Virginia Tech. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  24. ^ Hokie, Hokie, Hokie, Hy! and a Few Other Virginia Tech Symbols and Traditions. University Relations, Virginia Tech. 2006. 
  25. ^ Lavender, David. "No place like home". Rivals. com. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  26. ^ "Hokies finish third in final postseason NSCAA/adidas National rankings". Virginia Tech Athletics. December 19, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  27. ^ "Cagle steps down as Tech women's soccer coach". 2010-11-15. 
  28. ^ "Tech upsets US National Team, 1-0". 2008-03-26. 
  29. ^ "Hokies advance to World Series with 6-1 win over Michigan". 2008-05-25. 

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