Virginia Tech Magazine
Letters to the Editor
Winter 2008

Fun with photos


The Hokies in Alaska really know how to show their spirit!

Actually, while traveling in Alaska with a group of eight fellow Hokies, I snapped a photo from a train window. My husband, George Worley (agricultural and applied economics '71), was wearing his Tech hat as always and sitting beside me. His reflection is in the picture, but the white VT on his hat shows up the most. (I flipped the picture so that it would read "VT" and not "TV").

Faye Worley | Natural Bridge Station, Va.

VT on hull

I am a retired Virginia Tech professor--I was in geosciences for 32 years--and I'm now helping with the Queen Anne's Revenge project in Beaufort Inlet, N.C. The Queen Anne's Revenge, which sank in 1718, was believed to be the flagship of Blackbeard. Today, we lifted the largest remaining piece of the hull, which contains a depth marker that looks strikingly like a "VT." Maybe Blackbeard was a Hokie wannabe?

The depth marker was on the side of the ship to indicate how far the bottom of the hull extended into the water. The Queen Anne's Revenge ran aground because someone did not pay close attention to the water depth. We do not know exactly who carved the depth marks, but it was likely the builders or the crew once they had determined the effects of various cargo loads.

Jim Craig | Emerald Isle, N.C.

Editor's note: For more on the Queen Anne's Revenge project, go to

Not quite that miraculous

John McBryde

Thanks for the history of John McBryde, namesake of McBryde Hall. [See "In Retrospect," Fall 2007 issue.] I never knew that he was from South Carolina. There was a small error of 100 years [in stating that McBryde became president in 1991], but it is a fine article nonetheless.

Charles M. Smathers '49 | Jacksonville Beach, Fla

Editor's note: The "1991" is a typo--while McBryde was indeed a man ahead of his time, he wasn't quite that far ahead. Instead, the article should have noted that McBryde became president in 1891. Our apologies for allowing the error to go uncorrected.

Hokies Respect
In a Nov. 14 teleconference broadcast on, Florida State Head Coach Bobby Bowden acknowledged that Virginia Tech fans made an impression when his team played in Lane Stadium on Nov. 10. "Their crowd at Virginia Tech is exemplary of what you want crowds to be. That was the most sportsmanlike group I've been around in 30 years." Bowden added, "I've never been to a visiting team's stadium where the crowd was nicer to us. I didn't hear any boos. I didn't hear any catcalls. I didn't hear any negative stuff. I did want to turn around and thank them all, but I couldn't do that."
Hokies show respect ...

Virginia Tech taught a beautiful lesson in Southern hospitality on Saturday [during the ECU football game]. Having attended college football games for years, we have never witnessed such a friendly, welcoming atmosphere as exhibited by Virginia Tech fans this past weekend. We were greeted congenially well before we entered the stadium. We became acquainted with loyal Tech supporters, the King family of Roanoke, Va., as they assisted us with our parking and then invited us to their tailgate both before and after the game.

Long before we walked into the stadium, we were thanked for coming and for our support and were wished good luck to our Pirate team. We lost count of the number of people shaking our hands, patting us on the back, and welcoming us to Virginia Tech before the game had even started.

We saw our teams enter the field together with heartfelt cheering for both. Then we saw our teams come together as one before the kickoff. We could only feel pride for both competitors. We experienced the same hospitality and sportsmanship among the fans once the game began, as we left the stadium, as we walked the streets of Blacksburg, and as we enjoyed dinner and our hotel stay in nearby Roanoke. Our ECU Pirate attire brought nothing but congratulations on our well-played game and sincere best wishes for our trip back home and for the remaining season. We left Virginia Tech with a genuine fondness for the Hokies.

In its effort to overcome the despair of tragedy, Virginia Tech demonstrated the best of human nature. We challenge fellow ECU Pirates to show the same hospitality and congenial sportsmanship to all teams invited to Greenville, N.C. Purple Pride and Hokie Pride mixed well this weekend. May all teams remember that athletic competition is an opportunity to discover the very best in all of us, both on and off the field.

Paul and Catherine Schiffel | Hickory, N.C.

On Sept. 15, my wife and I had a wonderful visit to Virginia Tech for the Virginia Tech-Ohio University football game. I am an alumnus of OU living near Charlotte, N.C., and the chance to attend a game a few hours away and to hear the OU band once again was a treat.

I wanted to share with you how much we enjoyed the friendliness of everyone from Tech we came in contact with during our visit. From the bus folks at Blacksburg Middle School and the Tech fans onboard to the ticket people and the concession people, we felt like we were welcomed guests, not fans of an opposing team. At halftime, I was even approached by an older Tech fan who wanted to talk football and afterward warmly said goodbye.

It was a wonderful experience. We even heard of Tech tailgating fans inviting OU fans to have a bite as they walked to the stadium. You should be very proud of your community and school. We now have a great fondness for Virginia Tech.

We also wish to extend our condolences to the entire VT family. Please share our warmest wishes with all. Go, Hokies!

Michael and Dianne Roth | Terrell, N.C.

... but not always

I am a graduate student at Boston College, which may seem to make me far-removed from Blacksburg and all that is Virginia Tech, but I am not. In 2004, my parents and siblings moved to their new home in Blacksburg, and I graduated shortly thereafter from Radford University. My family has many close relationships within the Virginia Tech community and was directly affected by the tragedy last spring when a close family friend was among the victims. My youngest sister, who attends Kipps Elementary, led her peers in multiple events to mourn those lost and was part of the community that reached out in support and compassion.

My family was able to purchase tickets to the BC game and planned for it weeks in advance. For her very first attendance at a football game, my youngest sister was excited to set aside her usual VT attire and don BC gear as a special way of connecting with her big sister's life.

Game day came and my family headed to their seats in Lane Stadium with my youngest sister toting her homemade "Go, BC" sign. The family was excited to go to a game where their hearts lent support and enthusiasm to both teams. But what unfolded was, as my mother described it, "an unbelievably terrible time." My family was harassed, threatened, and badgered to the point where they just wanted the game to end and to retreat back to their home. My sister began sobbing after grown men yelled obscenities in her face simply because she had cheered, "Go, BC."

I feel confident in saying that my family brought great team spirit to the game for both teams and that they should not have been demeaned or made to feel unsafe. It is your responsibility to educate your fans and community and to promote respect and safety. Whether the fans in my parents' section were students, alumni, or community members, they are all a reflection of you, your team, and your school.

I am saddened by my family's experience and wonder about the experiences of the many other visitors who came to participate in the fun of a football game. I am also saddened when I think of the shirt I was wearing on game night that read, "Hokies United." Hokies United against what? All others?

Chelsey M. | Boston, Mass.

Each fall for the past five years, Clinch Haven Farms, operated by John (agricultural economics '91) and Tabitha Peace, has created a corn maze in Powell Valley, located in Big Stone Gap, Va. John's father, William Peace (agronomy '66), is also an alumnus and, according to Tabitha, "of our five children, three are inclined to someday attend Virginia Tech. So we're definitely a Hokie family." The maze has a different design every year and this fall, the Peace family wanted to pay tribute to the victims and survivors of April 16.

Correction: In the article "Campaigning for a brighter future" (Fall 2007), the caption for the photograph on page 13 is misleading. It notes that the Solar House is an "example of the projects that originate in the College of Engineering’s (COE) Ware Lab"; however, the Solar House originated in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies (CAUS), which partners with the COE on the project. Additionally, five CAUS faculty members worked on the Solar House. For more information on the Solar House, go to

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