Virginia Tech Magazine
Letters to the Editor -|- Winter 2007

Famous but not first

Bugle photo courtesy of Robert D. Price '51, a member of the 1952 cheerleading squad.
Contrary to the article in the Fall 2006 issue, the women celebrated at Homecoming as the first female cheerleaders at the university were not, in fact, the first. As a member of the cheerleading squad in 1953 and 1954, I can assure you that we had several cheerleaders from Radford and Hillcrest (a.k.a., The Skirt Barn). See the 1952 Bugle, page 207 for a picture [located above] of some very female cheerleaders. While we received no support from the athletic department except for admission to the games, that wasn't a problem. (Well, sometimes getting to away games was.) While the women honored at Homecoming may have been the first officially recognized as leading cheers for Virginia Tech, they were not the first women to cheer for Tech.

Jack Collins '54 | Rocky Mount, Va.

I just received the Fall 2006 issue of Virginia Tech Magazine. Congratulations on another interesting issue! However, the story about the 1955-56 cheerleaders seems to imply that this was the first squad to include women. On page 207 of the 1952 Bugle, you can see that the 1951-52 cheerleading squad included four women, as did the 1955-56 squad. At least one of the four women on the 1951-52 squad, Ms. Borden, was a Tech student, but I don't know if the other women attended Tech or Radford. The football team won only one game during the 1951 season, so watching the cheerleaders was generally much more interesting than watching the football game.

Mason C. Carter '55, M.S. '57 | Fort Collins, Colo.

The story on page 31 of the Fall 2006 issue is interesting. Those women were not, however, the first of the coed cheerleaders. My sister, Anna Peterson, was there as a cheerleader in 1941. The event was reported with a picture in The Roanoke Times, which described it as a "first." That picture has been copied on one of the HokieBird statues ["The Spirit of Virginia Tech," in front of McComas Hall].

John Peterson Jr. '36 | Greensboro, N.C.

Editor's note: The 1955-56 squad was recognized as the first official coed squad because it was the first to be funded by athletics. See this issue's Class Notes for more.

Cleaning up cheers

I was compelled to write upon reading the Message from the President in your Fall 2006 issue. I think that Dr. Steger is right on point when he said that "instances of poor behavior are embarrassing to the university, and they detract not only from the enjoyment of the games but also from all good things about Virginia Tech that make us proud to be Hokies." Yet when I visited Virginia Tech the weekend of the Southern Mississippi game, I was appalled by the new "stick it in" cheer and sexually explicit (i.e., hip-thrusting) movements made by the Marching Virginians, Tech cheerleaders, and Tech dancers. This behavior is offensive and a poor reflection on the Hokies, even more so when broadcast on national television. Would you send your daughter to any other institution that condoned such behavior? How can Virginia Tech be doing so many good things to expand "Hokie Respect" and yet turn a blind eye to something like this?

Jan (Kohler) Davis '87 | Oak Hill, Va.

Editor's note: Director of Athletics Jim Weaver responded to Ms. Davis' letter: I have done some checking, since I am unaware of the cheer, and both our coach for the cheer and dance teams and the director of the Marching Virginians have indicated that the cheer team and dance team members have not used unacceptable gestures. The band director said that the cheer is about 10 years old and that some band members may have gone too far with their gestures. He has said that he will curtail this behavior.

Architect of a good reputation

I want to thank Dr. Kinzey for his letter in the Fall 2006 issue in which he speaks up for those of us who, according to him, received a "good architectural education" at Virginia Tech before the College of Architecture and Urban Studies was established in 1965. There are quite a few of us who have made substantial contributions to the built environment. Also, as a former student of Henry V. Shriver '51, M.S. '54, I am proud of his design of Cowgill Hall, which received the Test of Time Award from the Virginia Society of Architects.

Sarah Jane Hale Brownlee '60 | Beckley, W. Va.

More on EIEIO
I am an EIEIO alum whose son has just begun his freshman year at EIEIO. In the course of reminiscing with some of the university staff during this past Family Weekend, we touched on the [Collegiate Times'] Name the University Contest in 1979. I revealed that I was the one who came up with EIEIO (for Eastern Institute of Enlightenment and Intellectual Outgrowth), which won the contest and allowed me my 15 minutes of fame. My son could not believe that his "grades come first/nose to the grindstone" dad had been responsible for this bit of quirkiness, so to flesh out the story, I "Googled" it and saw that in the Winter 2004 Virginia Tech Magazine, the editor asked if anyone had further information. I don't know how much more there is to the story other than noting that "EIEIO" celebrated its 27th anniversary in November. I would have to say that the gravity of winning the contest really hit me when EIEIO showed up on the Class of 1982 ring. Up until that point, it had been a fun little diversion, but then it got etched in gold. "Etched in gold"--I just had to say that again. I think I actually may have impressed my son and for that I am grateful, and thanks to your magazine, I can prove that I'm not making it up. EIEIO shirts

Karta Clark '81 | Leesburg, Va.

Editor's note: To revisit the EIEIO lore, go to

Correction | It has come to our attention that there were several errors in the article "A Hokie family tradition" in the Fall 2006 issue. First, the proper spelling of the family's last name is Grossmann. Second, James Grossmann's class year is '63. And third, Charlie Yates graduated in 1958 with a degree in mechanical engineering. We sincerely regret each of these errors and apologize for any confusion they may have caused.

Fall 2006 cover image From the editor

Cleaning house on items from the Fall 2006 issue:

A reader wrote a letter to the editor questioning why Dr. Alvin W. "Pat" Kagey '56 hadn't been listed as one of Virginia Tech's CSIs in the Summer 2006 article, "CSI: Virginia Tech." It has since come to our attention that Kagey is not an employee of the Virginia Department of Forensic Science, which was the focus of the article. Kagey is, however, a consultant for the chief medical examiner of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

In the 2006-16 Campus Master Plan map, the beige-colored buildings are not identified. According to University Architect Scott Hurst, those buildings identify future opportunities not specified in the university's 2006-12 capital plan.

The article "Alumni team up to take first in 'Green' competition" was written by Heather Chadwick, communications manager for the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.

Finally, we've received numerous compliments about the fall issue cover (see image at left)--and most were accompanied by the question, "Did you digitally enhance the colors?" While we are indeed a high-tech university, our campus is truly that beautiful; photographer Michael Kiernan simply took advantage of the morning light to capture those stunning shades.

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