Periodically, the board of visitors acts to recognize individuals for outstanding service to the university and presents them with a Special Citation.
Professor William Bradford Alwood
Alwood played a key role in establishing the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College/Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VAMC/VPI), serving on the faculty from 1888 to 1904; he was one of the university’s greatest scientists, known worldwide as a leader in pomology, entomology, mycology, viticulture, horticulture, and agricultural education; and he was instrumental in establishing the horticulture, plant pathology, and entomology disciplines at Virginia Tech; he conducted some of the earliest agricultural outreach work in Virginia; contributed his vast library to VPI; and when establishing VPI’s first arboretum and beautification project, planted the Alwood bur oak, which remains an icon at the center of campus today.
Richard M. Bagley
Bagley, (business ’48), former state legislator, president of Bagley Investment Company, served 20 years in the Virginia House of Delegates before becoming state secretary of commerce and secretary of economic development in 1985. He is a past president of the alumni association board and a past member of the Virginia Tech Foundation board. He served on the university’s board of visitors as long as state law would allow. Bagley was also a member of the Business Advisory Council and the Corporation and Foundation Committee for the Campaign for Excellence.
Col. Harry D. Temple
Temple served with distinction as a career Army officer and as a historian who preserved the history of the corps of cadets as author of several books. He spent 32 years in the U.S. Army, retiring in 1966, with the last five of those years as chief of the Army’s Institute of Heraldry. He designed the coat of arms for the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, which was the first officially granted coat of arms from the Army to a unit outside the regular Army, National Guard, or Army Reserve. Temple located corps memorabilia, which he donated to the corps museum, and identified numerous photographs in the university archives. Temple’s contributions to the university’s corps of cadets were recognized by the board of visitors in 1996 with a Special Citation.
Greene Flake “Red” Laird
Laird coached the basketball and baseball teams at Virginia Tech. As baseball coach (1940-43, 1948-73) he amassed a record of 343-275-4 over 30 seasons. He coached the basketball team from 1947 to 1955, with an overall record of 77-120. In 1971, he was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame, and in 1983, he was inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame.
Rev. Alfred C. Payne and John M. Barringer
Payne came to Virginia Tech in 1946 as associate YMCA secretary. He moved on to another position with the YMCA in Pittsburgh but returned in 1958 to succeed Paul Derring as secretary of the YMCA. He was appointed as assistant to the dean of students in 1964 and later served as counselor for religious affairs. He formally retired in 1981 but continued to serve the university as a friend, pastor, and advisor.
Barringer taught at Virginia Tech from 1937 to 1979. He was also director of placement and advisor to civilian students. A recipient of the Wine Award for teaching excellence, he taught labor and personnel. Barringer also served as mayor of Blacksburg from 1942-1978.
Laura Jane Harper
Harper joined the faculty of Virginia Tech’s Department of Home Economics in 1949 as an associate professor teaching foods and nutrition, taking an educational leave in 1951 to pursue her doctorate. She returned to the university as a full professor. In 1960, she was named dean of the School of Home Economics for both Radford College (now known as Radford University, at the time the women’s division of Tech) and VPI (now known as Virginia Tech), becoming the first woman academic dean at Tech. She guided the dissolution of this arrangement with Radford College in 1964. While dean, she served concurrently from 1964 to 1974 as assistant director of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station in charge of home economics research. She was named professor and dean emeritus in 1980 upon retirement.
Duncan Lyle Kinnear
Kinnear, professor emeritus of education and psychology and Virginia Tech’s official historian, took only 18 months to write The First 100 Years: A History of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, which was published in March 1972 for the university’s 100th anniversary.