HOKIES MAKE THEIR MARK ON CAMPUS
by Sherry Bithell
Alumni giving back to Virginia Tech is a long-standing Hokie tradition. Several classes, whether upon their graduation or their 50th anniversary reunion, have made gifts that have continued to transform the physical beauty of the Blacksburg campus. Here are just a few well-known areas around Virginia Tech where classes have left their imprints throughout the years.
The Duck Pond has been a Virginia Tech landmark for generations of alumni. It is appropriate, then, that a number of classes have helped ensure its endurance. Funds for an overall restoration of the area, including the numerous benches scattered around the pond, were provided by the Class of 1943. And the classes of 1988 and 1989 built the gazebo from which students, alumni, and visitors can study, feed the birds, or merely sit and take in the beauty of the Duck Pond throughout the seasons.
Although located in a traditionally quiet place, the lobby of Newman Library serves as a main thoroughfare for Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff. Gifts from the Class of 1945 helped renovate the lobby, making it a functional yet comfortable area. Included among the lobby enhancements were the installation of 30 additional computers for library and internet research; a new service desk for library staff; several carved teak benches and rocking chairs; and Ethernet access from which library patrons can operate laptop computers.
The campus will soon be dotted with distinctive Hokie Stone building markers. Each building on campus will have its own marker, such as the Harper Hall marker, to relate the history of the building's namesake. For example, the Harper Hall markerpresented by the Class of 1999 to commemorate the building's completiongives an overview of the contributions of Laura Harper, former dean of the College of Home Economics (now Human Resources and Education). As part of its 50th reunion gift, the Class of 1953 will fund markers for many of the remaining buildings on campus. The markers will allow future generations of Hokies and visitors to campus to read the stories behind each building's namesake.
As the most recognizable landmark on campus, Burruss Hall is an imposing edifice. It seems only fitting that its lobbies make a grand statement. A refurbishing provided by the Class of 1946 has given both the first- and second-floor lobbies a distinctive air. The first-floor lobby, hung with colorful banners representing each college and adorned with specially designed furniture, provides an impressive entrance. The second-floor lobby, which serves as a waiting area and a throughway into the Burruss auditorium, received new lighting, the same carefully crafted furniture, and, of course, maroon and orange carpeting.
As Tech alumni know, the carillon chimes in Burruss Hall can be heard ringing across campus seven times each weekday and during such special events as Founders Day or weddings at the War Memorial Chapel. What you may not know is that the sound of miniature chimes is currently electronically amplified by using digitally encoded tapes. Now, the Class of 1947 has raised money to provide for a new, up-to-date electronic system that will reproduce the clear tones of bells and organ chimes. Listen for the sounds the next time you're on campus!
Countless alumni throughout the years have also shown their generosity in the form of scholarships, endowed chairs, and unrestricted gifts to support the day-to-day maintenance of Virginia Tech. So remember, the next time you're in Blacksburg, the marks made by your fellow alumni can be found virtually everywhere you look, from the campus' most distinctive features to the smallest details in remote buildings and offices.