Special anniversary events scheduled
By Clara B. Cox
Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 05 - September 25, 1997
On October 1, 1872, Virginia Tech--then known as Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (VAMC)--opened its doors to students for the first time. One hundred and twenty-five years later, the university will celebrate that opening with three special events, one in Craig County, one on campus, and one that spans the distance between the two.
On September 30 at 1 p.m., a group of cadets and other students and alumni will leave from the William Addison "Add" Caldwell homeplace in Craig County to begin a 23-mile trek across two mountains to the Virginia Tech campus. Their hike, which will cover parts of two days, commemorates a similar walk by Caldwell, who became the first student to register at VAMC the day the school opened.
Before the walkers leave the homeplace, they will hear comments by William E. Lavery, the university's president emeritus.
After walking nine miles, the cadets will spend the night at Caldwell Fields in the national forest between Sinking Creek and Brush mountains. The fields were named by the U.S. Forest Service for Add Caldwell and his brother Milton, who walked with him to Blacksburg and also registered at the new land-grant school. The cadets will cover the remaining 14 miles of the walk the next day, beginning at 8 a.m.
On October 1, Virginia Tech and Craig County officials and members of the Caldwell family will unveil a historical marker about Add Caldwell's role in Virginia Tech history. The 10 a.m. ceremony will be held at the intersection of routes 42 and 625 on the lawn of Steve and Eileen Van Aiken.
Participating in the ceremony will be Charles W. Steger, Tech's vice president for development and university relations; Peggy S. Meszaros, senior vice president and provost; Zane Jones, chair of the Craig County Board of Supervisors; and Frank B. Caldwell III, a great-nephew of Add Caldwell. Music will be provided by Trilogy.
The university and the county split the $1,100 cost of the marker, which was approved by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
At 4 p.m. on October 1, the university will plant the first tree in its 125th anniversary grove on the lower section of the Drillfield between Drillfield Drive and West Campus Drive. The trees that will comprise the grove will be a class gift of the Class of `97.
Tom Tillar, vice president for alumni affairs; Meszaros; Blacksburg Mayor Roger Hedgepeth; Tiffany E. Allison, vice president of the Class of '97; Kurt J. Donner, member-at-large of the class; and the musicians Quantum Brass will take part in the event. A highlight of the ceremony will be the arrival of the group that walked from Craig County.
Following the anniversary grove dedication, the Alumni Association will host a reception on the Drillfield in honor of the day's events.
For more information, call 1-9054.