Charles Landon Carter Minor—First president, 1872-79. He was born on Dec. 3, 1835, at Edgewood in Hanover County, Va. He received an M.A. degree from the University of Virginia (UVa) in 1858. He taught at Virginia Female Institute in Staunton, Va., and in LeRoy Broun’s School in Albemarle County, Va. He married Fanny Ansley (or Annsley) Cazenove of Alexandria, Va., in 1860; they had three children (a son died in infancy). During the Civil War, Minor enlisted as a private in First Rockbridge Artillery and soon transferred to Company K, Second Virginia Cavalry. He was promoted to captain on Aug. 1, 1864, and served as captain of ordnance. He was assigned duty as chief ordnance officer of the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. By end of the Civil War, was serving as executive officer at Richmond (Virginia) Arsenal. He was president of Maryland Agricultural College (now University of Maryland), 1867-68. He ran a private school in Lynchburg, Va. Minor became a professor of Latin and director of preparatory school at the University of the South, in Sewanee, Tenn. This is the post from which he was selected as the first president of Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (VAMC) in 1872 at age 36. He received an L.L.D. from the College of William & Mary in 1874. Minor was removed from the VAMC presidency in 1879. He purchased Shenandoah Valley Academy in Winchester, Va., and served as principal. He later taught at St. Paul’s in Baltimore, Md., and the Episcopal Boys School in Alexandria, Va., where he was also associate principal. He wrote The Real Lincoln, which he published in 1901, and completed a second, expanded edition during the last year of his life that was published posthumously (1904). Minor died July 13, 1903, in Albemarle County, Va., at age 67. See the Minor Years for more information.
John Lee Buchanan—Second president, 1880 and 1881-82 (his two separate terms are counted as one). He was born June 19, 1831, in Rich Valley, Smyth County, Va. Buchanan received an A.B. degree with highest honors in 1856 from Emory and Henry College. He taught ancient languages at Emory and Henry and was elected a professor and received his M.A. from the college in 1858. He married Frances Elizabeth Wiley on Aug. 4, 1859; they had nine children. Buchanan worked in the ordnance department of the Confederacy. He resumed teaching at Emory and Henry after the Civil War. He was the Latin chair in 1879 at Vanderbilt University and then president of Emory and Henry College, 1879-80. Buchanan assumed his office as VAMC president about March 1, 1880, at age 48. He was removed from the presidency on June 12, 1880. He was offered the job again soon thereafter but he declined. Buchanan was offered the job again in May 1881; he accepted and assumed office on Aug. 14, 1881, at age 50. He was removed from the VAMC presidency for a second time on Jan. 17, 1882. He began teaching at Martha Washington College in Abingdon, Va., later becoming president there. In 1884, Buchanan served on a state committee that established the State Normal Female School (now Longwood College) in Farmville, Va. He served as state superintendent of public instruction from 1885‑89 (hence was ex officio member of the VAMC Board of Visitors). He began teaching at Randolph-Macon College in 1889, later becoming president. Buchanan resigned the presidency there in 1894 to assume the presidency of Arkansas Industrial University (changed to the University of Arkansas in 1899), where he remained until retiring in 1902. He died Jan. 19, 1922, in Rich Valley, Va., at age 90; is buried in Fayetteville, Ark. The first residence hall at the University of Arkansas was named in his honor; after it was razed, he was memorialized in Buchanan-Droke Residence Hall.
Scott Shipp—1880 (his term was so short that it is not counted). He was born Aug. 2, 1839, in Warrenton, Va. (he added the second “p” to his last name in 1888). Shipp entered Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., in 1852. He worked as a rodman and assistant engineer on North Missouri Railroad, 1855-56. He matriculated to VMI in 1856, graduating fourth in his class on July 4, 1859. He received a law degree in 1866 and later an honorary LL.D. from Washington and Lee. Shipp was appointed commandant of cadets at VMI on Jan. 1, 1862. As commandant, he led the cadets in the Battle of New Market during the Civil War, May 15, 1864. He married Anne Alexander of Richmond on Aug. 19, 1869; they had three children. He was still commandant at VMI when he accepted the presidency of VAMC on Aug. 12, 1880, at age 41. Shipp resigned 13 days later, immediately after meeting with the executive committee of the board of visitors and learning that the board and not the college administration would handle details of the college’s organization. He returned to VMI as commandant and professor of tactics until named VMI’s second superintendent in 1890. While superintendent, he served on boards of the United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy and was president of the naval academy board. Shipp retired as VMI superintendent on June 30, 1907, and was named superintendent emeritus. He died Dec. 4, 1917, at his home in Lexington, Va., at age 78.
See the Buchanan-Shipp-Hart-Buchanan Years for more information about this era.
Thomas Nelson Conrad—Third president, 1882-86. He was born Aug. 1, 1837, in Fairfax Courthouse, Va. He received an A.B. (bachelor’s degree) in 1857 and an A.M. (master’s degree) in 1860 from Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa. Conrad taught at and was principal of Georgetown (D.C.) Academy. A lay minister, he joined Third Virginia Cavalry in 1861 as a chaplain. Three years later, he became a Confederate scout and then a spy with the Confederate Secret Service. Conrad planned to kidnap President Lincoln to exchange him for Confederate prisoners of war; he later abandoned the plan as impractical. He was briefly incarcerated after Lincoln’s assassination. This was one of four times he was incarcerated during the war; he escaped twice. Conrad eventually attained the rank of captain. He received a personal letter of appreciation from Confederate President Jefferson Davis in May 1864 for his intelligence work. He married Emma S. Ball of King George County, Va., on Oct. 4, 1866; they had seven children, one of whom died in childhood. He taught at Upperville (Virginia) Academy, 1866-68, and Rockville (Maryland) Academy, 1869-71, before moving to Blacksburg to serve as principal of Preston and Olin Institute, 1871-72. Conrad took an active part in getting VAMC located in Blacksburg and unsuccessfully sought its presidency. He served as editor of The Montgomery Messenger. He also served as a reading clerk in the House of Delegates. He was appointed adjunct professor to head the new VAMC Preparatory Department in 1877 and became a professor of English in 1879. Conrad was elected president in 1882 at age 45. He served as mayor of Blacksburg for three months in 1882 and one month in 1887. Conrad was removed from the VAMC presidency on July 1, 1886, and became professor of agriculture and chairman of the faculty at Maryland Agricultural College (now University of Maryland). He began working in 1890 as a statistician for U.S. Census Bureau in Washington, D.C. He published two memoirs about his Civil War experiences: A Confederate Spy: A Story of the Civil War (ghostwritten), published in 1892, and a revised edition entitled The Rebel Scout: A Thrilling History of Scouting Life in the Southern Army, published in 1904. He died Jan. 5, 1905, in Washington, D.C., at age 67, and is buried in Westview Cemetery in Blacksburg. The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets honored him in 1972 by naming its new equestrian military team Conrad’s Troopers and later Conrad Cavalry. See the Conrad Years for more information.
Lunsford Lindsay Lomax—Fourth president, 1886-91. He was born Nov. 4, 1835, in Newport, R.I. He received a B.S. degree from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., in 1856 and was promoted to brevet lieutenant in the Second Cavalry, serving in Kansas-Nebraska region. Lomax was promoted to second lieutenant of the First Cavalry in 1856 and first lieutenant in 1861. He resigned commission on April 25, 1861, to serve with the Confederacy; he was commissioned as a captain in the Virginia State Forces and made adjutant-general for Gen. Joseph E. Johnston. Lomax later left Johnston’s staff and served on the staffs of Gen. Benjamin McCulloch and Gen. Earl Van Dorn in the western theater. He began as inspector general and advanced to lieutenant colonel. He was transferred back to the eastern theater and commissioned a colonel of the 11th Virginia Cavalry. Lomax served as inspector-general of the army of East Tennessee in 1862 and led the 11th Virginia Cavalry at the Battle of Gettysburg. On the recommendation of Gen. Robert E. Lee, Lomax was promoted on July 23, 1863, to brigadier general of the Fifth, Sixth, and Fifteenth Virginia regiments and First Maryland cavalry following the Battle of Gettysburg. Lomax was promoted to major general on Aug. 10, 1864, and fought in the Valley campaign in Virginia. He was captured in September 1864 but escaped. He was promoted on March 29, 1865, to command of the Valley District of the Department of Northern Virginia. He joined the army in North Carolina before surrendering at Greensboro in May 1865. Lomax married Elizabeth Winter Payne of Fauquier County, Va., on Feb. 20, 1873; they had two daughters. He farmed in Caroline and Fauquier counties, Va., for more than 20 years until his appointment in 1886 as VAMC president. Lomax assumed office on July 1, 1886, at age 50, then resigned in 1891. He worked for six years in Washington, D.C. as a clerk in the War Department compiling records of northern and southern armies used in The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Lomax became a commissioner of Gettysburg National Park in 1905. He was one of the final surviving Confederate major generals when he died May 28, 1913, in Washington, D.C., at age 77. He is buried in Warrenton, Fauquier County, Va. See the Lomax Years for more information.
John McLaren McBryde—Fifth president, 1891-1907. He was born Jan. 1, 1841, in Abbeville, S.C. He entered the sophomore class at South Carolina College in 1858 at age 17 and matriculated at the University of Virginia in 1860. McBryde returned to Abbeville in January 1861 and joined the First South Carolina Volunteer Infantry, later fighting with the First South Carolina Cavalry. He volunteered for service in Virginia and served in the cavalry. He contracted typhus, which ended his military life. He worked for the Confederate States’ Treasury Department in Richmond, Va.; then was assigned to the War Tax Office where he later was made a division chief. McBryde married Cora Bolton of Richmond, Va., on Nov. 18, 1863; they had eight children. At the close of the war, he farmed in Buckingham County, Va., until 1867, when he moved to a 1,000-acre farm in Albemarle County. McBryde took an active part in organizing a Farmers’ Club. He published many scientific articles, leading to his 1879 appointment as professor of agriculture and botany at the University of Tennessee (UT). He was offered and accepted a chair at the reorganized South Carolina College in 1882. Two days after his arrival, McBryde was elected chair of the faculty (1882-83). He served as president of South Carolina College, 1883-91. He received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Southern Presbyterian University in 1883. McBryde declined offers to direct the Texas Experiment Station in 1886 and to become president of UT in 1887. He received a doctor of philosophy degree from UT in 1887. He raised the standards at South Carolina College, which became a university in 1887. McBryde accepted the offer in 1891 to become president of VAMC at age 50. He declined an 1893 offer to become assistant secretary of agriculture under President Cleveland; he also declined offers to become president of the University of Virginia and president of Sweet Briar Institute. McBryde retired in Blacksburg in 1907 and devoted time to research and writing botanical articles. In 1907 he was named the first president emeritus of VPI and received VPI’s first honorary degree, a doctor of science. [The college name was expanded to "Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute," effective March 5, 1896, popularly shortened to "Virginia Polytechnic Institute," or simply VPI.] He was a Fellow of the American Geographical Society and of the American Statistical Association. McBryde died at age 82 on March 20, 1923, while visiting his son in New Orleans, La. Two buildings on the Virginia Tech campus are named for him, the first McBryde Mechanical Arts Building, constructed in 1917 and razed in 1966, and the current McBryde Hall, dedicated in 1972. McBryde Quadrangle, a fraternity-housing complex at the University of South Carolina, honors his service there. See the McBryde Years for more information.
Paul Brandon Barringer—Sixth president, 1907-13. He was born Feb. 13, 1857, in Concord, N.C., the son of Confederate Gen. Rufus Barringer and grandson of Gen. Paul B. Barringer, a leader in the War of 1812. Barringer's early education was at Bingham School near Asheville, N.C., and at Kenmore University School, Amherst Courthouse, Va. He enrolled at the University of Virginia in 1875 and received his M.D. degree in 1877. Barringer also received an M.D. degree from the University of the City of New York in 1877. He practiced medicine in Dallas, N.C., for three years before going to Europe to study under medical specialists there. On return from Europe, he settled on a farm near Charlotte, N.C., practicing medicine and farming. Barringer married Nannie Irene Hannah of Charlotte County, Va., on Dec. 27, 1882; they had 10 children. He established and headed the medical preparatory school at Davidson College, 1884-89. He accepted the chair of physiology at the University of Virginia in 1889; was chairman of the faculty, 1895-1903, and professor of therapeutics and pharmacology, 1903-1907. Barringer oversaw the major revision of the medical curriculum and was the main driving force behind the construction and staffing of the first UVa Hospital. He was named superintendent of the first UVa Hospital in 1901. He received an honorary LL.D. degree from Davidson College in 1900 and from the University of South Carolina in 1904. Barringer accepted the presidency of VPI in 1907 at age 50. He resigned from the presidency in 1913 and returned to Charlottesville, where he practiced medicine except for a few years in military service during World War I. He died on Jan. 9, 1941, in Charlottesville at age 83. Barringer Residence Hall, dedicated in 1966, memorializes him. Read an expanded biography, written in 1908 after he accepted the position. See the Barringer Years for more information.
Joseph Dupuy Eggleston—Seventh president, 1913-19. He was born Nov. 13, 1867, in Prince Edward County, Va. Eggleston attended Prince Edward Academy and Hampden-Sydney College, where he received an A.B. degree in 1886 and later the A.M. degree. He married Julia Johnson of Farmville, Va. on Dec. 18, 1895; they had two children. He taught in public schools in Virginia, Georgia, and North Carolina from 1886-89. From 1891-93, Eggleston taught in the Asheville, N.C., high school; served as superintendent of public schools there, 1893-1900. He was editor and secretary of the Bureau of Information and Publicity of the Southern Education Board at the University of Tennessee in 1902. Eggleston served as superintendent of Prince Edward County, Va., public schools, 1903-05. He was elected Virginia state superintendent of public instruction and served from 1906-13. He instituted agricultural extension in Virginia with the first Virginia demonstration farms set up in 1907. Eggleston spurred the establishment of an agricultural high school in each congressional district in Virginia. He was chief of the Division of Rural Education, in the U.S. Bureau of Education, Jan. 1-July 1, 1913, when he became VPI president at age 45. Eggleston resigned from the presidency in 1919 to become president of Hampden-Sydney College, serving from 1919-39. He conducted historical research until his death on March 13, 1953, in Prince Edward County, Va., at age 85. Eggleston Hall honors his memory. See the Eggleston Years for more information.
Julian Ashby Burruss—Eighth president, 1919-45. He was born on Aug. 16, 1876, in Richmond, Va. After graduating from high school, Burruss worked for Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad while attending Virginia Mechanics Institute, a night school in Richmond. He entered VAMC in the fall of 1894 and received a B.S.degree with honors in civil engineering in 1898. As a student, he was editor of the 1898 Bugle, captain of Battery E, and active in other student organizations. Burruss received diplomas in physics, French, and German from Richmond College in 1898-99. He also studied for several summers at Harvard University. He received an A.M. degree in education from Columbia in 1906. Burruss studied industrial education at Teachers College in New York City and earned a master’s degree. He married Rachel Cleveland Ebbert of Covington, Ky., on June 18, 1907; they had two children. Burruss served as president of the Virginia Association of Colleges and Schools for Girls and of Virginia State Teachers Association and was a director in the Southern Educational Association. He obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1921 and received an honorary LL.D. degree from Hampden-Sydney College in 1937. His first educational post was as instructor and commandant of cadets at Reinhardt Normal College, Waleska, Ga., 1899-1900. He also instructed at Searcy (Arkansas) Female Institute and Speers-Langford Military Academy, also in Searcy, Ark., before returning to Richmond as principal of Leigh Public School, 1901-04. Burruss was director of manual arts for Richmond public schools, 1904-08. He turned down an offer to become president of Rochester Mechanics Institute in Rochester, N.Y., to become the first president of the State Normal and Industrial School (now James Madison University) in Harrisonburg, Va., in 1908. Burruss laid out grounds there. He was president until 1919 when he was elected VPI president at age 43. Burruss Hall was named for him in 1944 in honor of his 25th year as president. He was named president emeritus upon retirement in 1945. Burruss died on Jan. 4, 1947, in Staunton, Va., at age 70. James Madison University also named a Burruss Hall for him. Read an expanded biography, written in 1919 after he accepted the position. See the Burruss Years for more information.
John Redd Hutcheson—Ninth president, 1945-47. He was born on Jan. 13, 1886, near Charlotte Court House, Va. He received a B.S. degree from VPI in 1909, an honorary D.Sci. degree from Clemson College (now Clemson University) in 1937, and an honorary D.Agric. degree from North Carolina State College in 1947. Hutcheson married Eleanor Parrott of Blacksburg, Va., in 1917; they had three children. He attended field artillery officer training school during World War I. He was director of the VPI Agricultural Extension Service, 1919-45, when he was made executive assistant to President Burruss (Jan. 4, 1945) and soon thereafter named acting president (Jan. 12, 1945). Hutcheson was elected VPI president on Aug. 14, 1945, at age 59. When illness forced his retirement as president in 1947, he became the first VPI chancellor, a post in which he served until retiring in 1956. Hutcheson was elected the first president of the VPI Educational Foundation Inc. in 1948. He served in that position until his death in Blacksburg on Jan.13, 1962, at age 76. Hutcheson Hall was named for both him and his brother, T. B. Hutcheson, dean of agriculture. See the Hutcheson Years for more information.
Walter Stephenson Newman—Tenth president, 1947-62. He was born July 20, 1895, in Woodstock Va. Newman attended Shenandoah County schools. He received an A.B. degree at Hampden-Sydney College in 1917; an M.S. degree at VPI in 1919; a Ph.D. degree at Pennsylvania State College in 1931; and an honorary LL.D. from both Roanoke College in 1949, and Hampden-Sydney College in 1959. Newman married Liz Otey Hoge of Blacksburg, Va., on June 23, 1920; they had one son. He was a vocational agriculture teacher in Windsor, Va., 1912-22; associate professor of vocational education at VPI, 1922-25; state superintendent of vocational education, 1925-30 and 1931-42; and assistant state superintendent of public instruction, 1942‑46. Newman was state administrator of the National Youth Administration, 1936-42, and one of the founders of the Future Farmers of Virginia (evolved into the Future Farmers of America) in 1926. He was named VPI’s first vice president in 1944 and elected president on Sept. 1, 1947, at age 52. Newman retired on June 30, 1962, and was elected president emeritus and an honorary member of the class of 1962. He was elected president of the National Bank of Blacksburg in 1967. Newman received Virginia Tech’s Ruffner Medal in 1977, the first year it was presented; he was one of the two first recipients. He lived in Blacksburg until his death on June 29, 1978, at age 82. Newman Residence Hall was named for him. See the Newman Years for more information.
Thomas Marshall Hahn Jr.—Eleventh president, 1962-1974. He was born on Dec. 2, 1926, in Lexington, Ky. He attended Lexington public schools. Hahn received a B.S. degree in physics “with highest honors” from the University of Kentucky (UK) in 1945 at age 18 and a Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1950. He married Margaret Louise “Peggy” Lee of Dinwiddie County, Va., on Dec. 27, 1948; they had three children. He was a lecturer in physics at the U.S. Naval Academy Preparatory School while serving in the Navy. Hahn was also a physicist in the Naval Ordnance Laboratory, 1946-47; a teaching fellow at MIT, 1947-48; a research assistant at MIT, 1948-50; associate professor of physics, UK, 1950-52. He was a professor and director of graduate study in physics, and director of nuclear accelerator laboratories at UK, 1952‑54; professor and head of physics, VPI, 1954-59; and dean of arts and sciences at Kansas State University, 1959-62. Hahn served as president of the Southern Association of State Universities; was a member of the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women, and chairman of the Virginia Metropolitan Areas Study Commission. He was named “Virginia’s Outstanding Citizen” in 1965 by Toastmaster’s International. Hahn assumed the presidency of VPI on July 1, 1962, at age 35, the youngest president in Virginia Tech history. He resigned in 1974 to become executive vice president of the Georgia-Pacific Corp. pulp, paper, and chemicals division. He was elected president of Georgia-Pacific in 1976; elected chief operating officer in 1982, and chief executive officer in 1983. Hahn was named president emeritus of Virginia Tech in 1975. He received an honorary doctor of science degree from Tech in 1987. He retired from Georgia-Pacific on Dec. 31, 1994, and returned to Montgomery County. Hahn died on May 29, 2016, at age 89. The new chemistry laboratory building on campus was named for him in 1991; it was renamed Hahn Hall-South Wing in 2009 when the newer chemistry/physics building was named Hahn Hall-West Wing. See the Hahn Years for more information.
William Edward Lavery—Twelfth president, 1975-87. He was born Nov. 20, 1930, in Geneseo, N.Y. He received an associate degree from the State University of New York-Morrisville in 1950; a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in 1953; a master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University in 1959; a doctorate in extension administration from the University of Wisconsin in 1962, and an honorary doctorate from Xavier University (the Philippines) in 1985. Lavery married Peggy Johnson of Pawnee City, Neb., on April 7, 1956; they had four children. He taught and coached at Clarence Central High School in Clarence, N.Y., 1953-54. He served in U.S. Army from 1954-56. Lavery joined the federal Extension Service’s Division of Management Operations in 1956; he was assistant to the administrator from 1964-66. He joined the Virginia Tech staff in 1966 as director of administration for the Extension Division. Lavery served as vice president for finance, 1968-73, and executive vice president, 1973-75. He was named president in the fall of 1974 and assumed office on Jan. 1, 1975, at age of 44; he was inaugurated on Oct. 16, 1975. He received the Brotherhood Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1979. He was appointed by the Governor of Virginia to the Commission on Virginia’s Transportation in the 21st Century in 1986. Lavery was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as chair of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development in 1986. He was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury to the National Savings Bond Committee, where he chaired the Higher Education Industry Campaign in 1987. Lavery resigned as president of Virginia Tech on Oct. 16, 1987, effective Dec. 31, 1987. He was appointed honorary chancellor and named the Preston Professor of International Affairs, effective Jan. 1, 1988. He was appointed president emeritus upon retirement on Aug. 1, 1991. The Preston Professorship was renamed the William E. Lavery Professor of International Affairs on Aug. 19, 1991. Lavery was named an honorary alumnus of Virginia Tech in 1992. He was presented the Ruffner Medal in 1993. The animal health research center was named in his honor in 1995. The class of 1997 named its class ring in his honor. Lavery lived in Blacksburg until his death on Feb. 16, 2009, at age 78. See the Lavery Years for more information.
James Douglas McComas—Thirteenth president, 1988-94. He was born Dec. 23, 1928, in Pritchard, W.Va. He received a bachelor’s degree at West Virginia University in 1951. He received a master’s degree in 1960 and a Ph. D. in education in 1962, both from Ohio State University. McComas married Adele Stoltz of Gouverneur, N. Y., on May 10, 1961; they had two children. He worked as head of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education at New Mexico State University, 1966-67; dean of the College of Education at Kansas State University, 1967-69; dean of the College of Education at the University of Tennessee, 1969-76. McComas served as president of Mississippi State University, 1976-85, and as president of the University of Toledo, 1985-88. He was named president of Virginia Tech on May 23, 1988, effective Sept. 1, 1988, at age 59. McComas was installed as president on Dec. 3, 1988. Mississippi State named a new creative arts building in his honor in 1991. He was named chairman of the board of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges in Nov. 1992. He was appointed to the Commission on Leadership Development of the American Council on Education in Jan. 1993. McComas announced his resignation as Virginia Tech president for health reasons on Sept. 28, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994. He died on Feb. 10, 1994, in Columbus, Ohio, at age 65. The Ruffner Medal was presented posthumously on Founders Day 1994. McComas Hall was named in his memory in 1998. the McComas Years for more information.
Paul Ernest Torgersen—Fourteenth president, 1994-2000. He was born Oct. 13, 1931, in Staten Island, N.Y. He received a B.S. degree in industrial engineering from Lehigh University in 1953, an M.S. degree in industrial engineering from Ohio State University in 1956, and a Ph.D. degree from Ohio State University in 1959. Torgersen served in the U.S. Air Force, 1953-55. He married Dorothea Zuschlag from New Jersey on Sept. 11, 1954; they had three children. Torgersen worked as an instructor at Ohio State University, 1956-59, and as an assistant and associate professor at Oklahoma State University, 1959-66. He received the Outstanding Teacher Award for Oklahoma State’s College of Engineering in 1963. He was registered in Oklahoma as a Professional Engineer. Torgersen was professor and department head of Virginia Tech’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, 1967-70; dean of the College of Engineering, 1970-90; and John Grado Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, 1987-89. He chaired the national Engineering Deans’ Council, 1979-81. He was appointed to the Governor of Virginia’s Task Force on Science and Technology, 1982-84. Torgersen was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1986 and he served on the governing board from 2000-06. He served on the National Research Council, Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems, 1988-94. Torgersen served as interim university president, Jan.-Aug., 1988, as John W. Hancock Jr. Chair of Engineering, 1989-present, and as president of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, 1990-94. He was interim vice president for Development and University Relations, 1992-93; interim dean of the College of Engineering, Aug.-Sept., 1993; and acting university president, Oct.-Dec., 1993. Torgersen received an honorary doctor of engineering from Lehigh University in 1994. He was named a Fellow of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) and received ASEE Lamme Medal in 1994. He served as a board director for the Virginia Center for Innovative Technology, 1995-2000, and was a board director and chaired the board for the Virginia Space Grant Consortium, 1996-2000. He was named a Fellow of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) and received the Frank and Lillian Gilbreth Award in 2001. Torgersen served on the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education Board Appointments, 2002-10. He authored or co-authored five books, including co-authorship of Industrial Operations Research, which received IIE’s 1973 H.B. Maynard Book of the Year Award. Torgersen was named Virginia’s Engineering Educator of the Year in 1992. He was elected president of Virginia Tech on Dec. 9, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994, at age 62. He continued to teach a three-credit-hour course each semester during his tenure as dean and as president and received Sporn Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1992. He retired from the presidency on Jan. 6, 2000, and was named president emeritus, but continued to teach as an adjunct professor until 2014. Torgersen died on March 29, 2015, at age 83. An endowed scholarship was named in his honor in 1999. Torgersen Hall and Bridge were named in his honor in 2000. the Torgersen Years for more information.
Charles William Steger—Fifteenth president, 2000-2014. He was born June 16, 1947, in Richmond, Va. He received a professional bachelor of architecture degree in 1970, a master of architecture degree in 1971, and a Ph.D. in environmental science and engineering in 1978, all from Virginia Tech. He married Janet Grey Baird from Richmond, Va., on Sept. 13, 1969; they had two sons. Steger worked as a project planner and then as manager of the urban planning department for Wiley & Wilson, 1971-74. He was a visiting lecturer of urban design methodology at Virginia Tech, 1973-74; an instructor of urban design, 1974-76; and an assistant professor and chair of the graduate program in urban design, 1976-81. Steger was an associate professor and interim dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies in 1981 and dean of the college from 1981-1993. He was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1990. He served as acting vice president for public service, 1990-93. Steger was promoted to full professor in 1993. He served as vice president for development and university relations and vice president of the Virginia Tech Foundation, 1993-2000. Steger directed a successful campaign that raised $337.4 million, exceeding the $250 million goal. He received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Virginia Society of AIA in 1996 and he received an Outstanding Fund Raising Executive Award from the First Virginia Chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives in 1999. He played a principal role in establishing the university’s Center for European Studies and Architecture in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland in 1994. Steger was elected president on Nov. 8, 1999, effective Jan. 7, 2000, at age 52. He served on the executive committee of the Governor’s Commission on Population Growth and Development; was a member of the Hollins University Board of Trustees. He was president of the Endowment Foundation for the Western Virginia Foundation for the Arts and Sciences in Roanoke, Va., and a director on the Boswil Foundation in Zurich, Switzerland. He received the 2009 Chief Executive Leadership Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and the 2010 Michael P. Malone International Leadership Award from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. He retired as president in 2014 and went on to serve as executive director of the Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience. Steger died May 6, 2018, at his home in Blacksburg. He was 70. the Steger Years for more information.
Timothy D. Sands—Sixteenth president, 2014-present. He was named the 16th president of Virginia Tech on Dec. 6, 2013, and began his term on June 1, 2014. Prior to coming to Blacksburg, Sands had served as executive vice president for academic affairs and provost of Purdue University since April 2010. Sands was acting president of Purdue from June 2012 - January 2013, before Mitch Daniels became the 12th president. In his role as acting president, Sands was responsible for leading Purdue’s West Lafayette and regional campuses. Sands earned a bachelor’s degree with highest honors in engineering physics and a master’s degree and a doctorate in materials science from the University of California-Berkeley. He joined the Purdue faculty in 2002 as the Basil S. Turner Professor of Engineering in the schools of materials engineering and electrical and computer engineering. Prior to becoming provost, he served as the Mary Jo and Robert L. Kirk Director of the Birck Nanotechnology Center in Purdue’s Discovery Park. From 1993-2002, Sands was a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of California-Berkeley and before that, he performed research and directed research groups at Bellcore, a New Jersey-based research company now known as Telcordia. Sands has published more than 250 refereed papers and conference proceedings and has been granted 16 patents in electronic and optoelectronic materials and devices. His present research efforts are directed toward the development of novel nanocomposite materials for environmentally friendly and cost-effective solid-state lighting, direct conversion of heat to electrical power, and thermoelectric refrigeration. He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Materials Research Society (MRS), and the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). the Sands Years for more information.
- Charles Landon Carter Minor
- John Lee Buchanan
- Scott Shipp
- Thomas Nelson Conrad
- Lunsford Lindsay Lomax
- John McLaren McBryde
- Paul Brandon Barringer
- Joseph Dupuy Eggleston
- Julian Ashby Burruss
- John Redd Hutcheson
- Walter Stephenson Newman
- Thomas Marshall Hahn Jr.
- William Edward Lavery
- James Douglas McComas
- Paul Ernest Torgersen
- Charles William Steger
- Timothy D. Sands