Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college named Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, Virginia Tech is now a comprehensive, innovative research university with the largest full-time student population in Virginia.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, better known as Virginia Tech, is a public land grant polytechnic university in Blacksburg, Virginia, United States. Virginia Tech is well known for its programs in engineering, architecture, science, business and agriculture.
Founded in 1872 as an agricultural and mechanical college, Virginia Tech continues to be one of the few public universities in the United States which maintains a corps of cadets. The 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 reorganized its academic programs into a traditional four-year college setup (including the renaming of the mechanics department to engineering); this led to an 1896 name change to Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute. The "Agricultural and Mechanical College" section of the name was popularly omitted almost immediately, though the name was not officially changed to Virginia Polytechnic Institute until 1944 as part of a short-lived merger with what is now Radford University. VPI achieved full accreditation in 1923, and the requirement of participation in the Corps of Cadets was dropped from four years to two that same year (for men only; women, when they began enrolling in the 1920s, were never required to join).
VPI President T. Marshall Hahn, whose tenure ran from 1962 to 1974, was responsible for many of the changes that shaped the modern institution of Virginia Tech. The merger with Radford was dissolved in 1964, and in 1966, the school dropped the two-year Corps training requirement for its male students. In 1973, women were allowed to join the Corps; Virginia Tech was the first school in the nation to open its corps of cadets to women.