The town of Blacksburg came into existence in 1671, when it was founded by explorer Abraham Wood. Over the past 340 years, the town has seen many integral parts come together to give it a rich history. Virginia Tech is the biggest part of that.
The Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College — later to become Virginia Tech — was founded in March 1872, as a result of the Morill Land
Grant Act. The college officially opened on October 1, 1872. It was an all male, military college.
Virginia Tech’s first student was William Addison Caldwell, who hiked 28 miles from his home to register for school.
The first president of the school was Charles L. C. Minor, who served from 1872-79.
1888 — No. 1 Barracks, or what is now Lane Hall, opened and housed 150 cadets.
The corps of cadets officially began in 1872 along with the creation of the school, and was mandatory for over a half-century for all students.
Marching on campus in their uniforms, the corps is still a very distinct student group on campus; it represents the very core traditions upon which the school was founded.
1891 — John McBryde was named the fifth president of the school, in the same year that an athletic association was established. The following year, the school began participating in intercollegiate football, with its primary colors as black and grey.
1896 — The name of the university became informally known as Virginia Polytechnic Institute, or VPI. The motto of the school became Ut Prosim, which is Latin for “That I may serve,” which remains the school’s motto today.
This is also when the school colors became Chicago maroon and burnt orange.
1903 — The Virginia Tech was established as the student newspaper, the paper was renamed the Collegiate Times in 1970.
1919 — Julian Burruss became the eighth president of the school. This was a landmark for Tech, as he was the first VPI alumnus to serve as president.
Forty years later, War Memorial Chapel was completed to honor the fallen VPI soldiers of WWII, and then later became a memorial for all wars.
1964 —the corps of cadets became optional for all male students at the school.
In the same year, the university reorganized itself into colleges: Engineering, Agriculture, Business, Home Economics, Architecture, and Arts and Sciences.
1965 — This was huge for athletics, as both Lane Stadium and Cassell Coliseum were completed.
1966 — Cadets and civilians both first established the Student Government Organization at the school.
1970 — The school officially changed its name to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
1973 — The corps of cadets admitted its first females, a landmark for the institution.
1983 — The first fraternity and sorority houses were completed at Oak Lane.
1988 — James Douglas McComas becomes president of the university, just as it faced a major budget crisis because the state withdrew funds when it overestimated its projected revenue.
1990 — McComas encouraged diversity and minority student enrollment increased 26 percent. He also oversaw the reorganization of athletics.
1991 —Tech joined the Big East conference for football.
1994 — Paul E. Torgersen becomes president and oversees Tech through additional budget problems.
1995 — 15 sports join the Atlantic 10 Conference, including men and women’s basketball.
1996 — The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine received full accreditation from American Veterinary Medical Association and expanded enrollment outside of Maryland and Virginia.
2003 — Tech joined the Atlantic Coast Conference for football.