Virginia Tech started as an agricultural and mechanical land-grant college in 1872. This public land-grant and sea-grant university was founded when the Virginia General Assembly bought the facilities of a small Methodist school in rural Montgomery County, the Preston and Olin Institute, with funds coming from Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act.
In the same year, the school acquired the Solitude Farm, after which the Commonwealth incorporated the new institution and named it as the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College. Between 1891 and 1907, the school experienced reorganization in its academic programs, making it a traditional four-year college.
It was the time when the school changed its name to Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute. Over time, people began calling it the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, omitting the “Agricultural and Mechanical College.” It was not however until 1944 that the school was officially named as such.
A short lived merger between Virginia Polytechnic Institute and the all-women school, the Radford College, took place during that time.
In 1923, the school changed its policy regarding the four year compulsory participation of students at the Corps of Cadet, shortening it to just two years. In 1931, the institute started teaching classes at the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary, which eventually turned into a two year engineering program wherein students could move to Virginia Polytechnic Institute when they decided to continue their third and fourth year.
From 1962 to 1974 under the VPI president T. Marshall Hahn, the school experienced major changes that eventually shaped the school, turning it into a modern institution. Part of his plan was to make VPI into a major research university, and to do this, he decided to construct new dorms and academic buildings. He also dropped the mandatory two year corps training requirement for its male students but opened it to women students.
It was also during that time when the affiliation with Radford University ended. Today, Virginia Tech boasts its various achievements worldwide and takes pride in its approach towards educating students and scholars before they can be the future leaders in their fields and communities. The school offers around 215 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The university also manages more than $450 million in research portfolio, and is currently ranked as the 41st university in university research across the country.
Virginia Tech offers 65 Bachelor’s degrees through its seven undergraduate academic colleges, 145 masters’ as well as doctoral degree programs through the Graduate School. Students who wish to study at Virginia Tech can enroll at any of the following academic colleges and schools: College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Pamplin College of Business, College of Engineering, College of Natural Resources and Environment, College of Science, and the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
Proving that the university has indeed come a long way, especially in the field of robotics, two teams from the university’s College of Engineering participated in the futuristic Robotic Challenge, which was organized and sponsored by DARPA, a subsidiary of the US Department of Defense. Moreover, another team of researchers have also unveiled a large robotic jellyfish, which they hope will help patrol oceans.
This Robotic Jellyfish, called Cyro, is partly funded by the U.S. Navy, which proves that the country’s defense department has high regards for Virginia Tech.