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Historical Digest

Written, Compiled, and Edited by Clara B. Cox and Jenkins M. Robertson
Produced by University Relations

Over the years leading up to the 1972 publication of Virginia Tech’s Historical Data Book, Jenkins Mikell “Jenks” Robertson, university editor in what is now University Relations, collected numerous bits and pieces of information and put together a history of Virginia Tech, not an easy task considering that our records burned, along with our administration building, just after the turn of the 20th century. Jenks published more than one edition of that book, with the first one called, simply, Vol. LVII, No. 3 of the Bulletin series. The 1972 centennial edition revised and updated this earlier work. The data book produced by Jenks, which is no longer in print but is available online at, provides a treasure-trove of information about the university’s founding and its existence from 1872 to 1972, as well as facts and figures that many of us have used in our work.

In 1997, 11 years after Jenks died, Larry Hincker, associate vice president for University Relations (now retired), challenged me to update Jenks’s book since no single compilation of Tech’s history and historical data exists post 1972. During my work on the project, I discovered information unavailable to Jenks and have taken the liberty of making additions and corrections to his work. I anticipate—even hope—that others will do the same for mine.

Although this on-line book (the poor economy precludes publishing it in paper format at this time) bears the names of Jenks and me as the writers, compilers, and editors, numerous people have helped by providing facts for this History and Historical Data of Virginia Tech. Several of them deserve particular mention: Bruce Boling; John Dooley; Christina French; Pat Goodrich; Tamara Kennelly, John Jackson, and other Special Collections staff in University Libraries; Janice McBee; Naeemah McDuffey; Jacqueline Nottingham; Anne Panella; Len Peterson; James H. Richardson; Col. Rock Roszak; William E. Skelton; Ray Smoot; Dan Thorp; Jennifer Tomko; Laura Wedin; Linda L. Wright; and Brandy Wilson. My thanks and gratitude go to all of you—and to the many other people who aided me in this project. I also recognize David Stanley for producing the web site and navigation for the online book. Particular appreciation goes to Larry Hincker, who reviewed each section—and spurred me year after year to finish the project.

Clara B. Cox

A Note from the Editor

Updates to a few sections of the Historical Data Book have not been completed. Those sections will be marked as incomplete and will be updated as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the reader is referred to the 1972 Historical Data Book, posted online by Special Collections at

Readers of university history may also be interested in Lyle Kinnear's history of Virginia Tech, which was published on the centennial of our founding in 1972.  The First 100 Years can be found in Newman Library and selected libraries around the state.

Readers are asked to report mistakes in and/or omissions of information in History and Historical Data of Virginia Tech to Clara B. Cox at, or you can mail the information to 3515 Evergreen Trail, Blacksburg, VA 24060.

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