Alumni Association hosts spring programs
By Karen Bednarczyk
Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 33 - June 18, 1998
The Virginia Tech Alumni Association hosted several special events this spring and welcomed back to campus alumni of Hillcrest Hall, WUVT radio and the Theatre Arts Department. "I am so pleased our staff could work with Women's Programs, a student media organization and an academic department in hosting three special reunions for alumni this year," said Tom Tillar, vice president for alumni relations. In late March, 114 alumnae and guests returned to Hillcrest Hall for its first reunion. Hillcrest opened in 1940 as the residence hall for women and remained the focus of co-ed life on campus for over 30 years. It housed all co-eds and had its own dining facility. Today, Hillcrest houses graduate and international students and is home to students of the University Honors Program.
The Alumni Association considers the Hillcrest co-eds as true pioneers for the modern VPI. Through the 40s, 50s and mid-60s, there were less than 200 women and up to 9,000 men on campus each year. Many of the women in attendance had not been back to Hillcrest since they graduated. Special historical photo collages were displayed by the Alumni Association and were popular topics of conversation.
The Division of Student Affairs hosted a Mentoring Luncheon as part of the weekend to foster mentoring relationships between current women students and alumnae, faculty, and staff members who hold leadership positions. Associate Professor of History Peter Wallenstein also presented a historical perspective of women at Virginia Tech.
The weekend culminated Saturday evening with a reception, dinner and special stage performance. The Women's Center and Women's Studies programs were showcased during the reception by students demonstrating the extensive Internet presence maintained by both programs. The event introduced a special campaign for Women's Programs and the diversity of those in attendance illustrated widespread support from both alumni and the university.
A second alumni event occurred on April 3-4 when alumni gathered for the 50th Anniversary Reunion of campus radio station WUVT. Alumni from across the country, some with spouses and children, came to celebrate the occasion. Among those in attendance were Bill Durham, Bill King, Bert Meyer, and Waring Cloud, who were largely responsible for starting the radio station in 1948, broadcasting with 10 watts of power. Throughout the course of the weekend, several alumni had the opportunity to go on the air and play music for current listeners. Saturday evening, the Alumni Association hosted a celebration dinner.
The Theatre Arts department celebrated its 30th year at Virginia Tech with a reunion attended by alumni, faculty and friends on April 10-11. An opening reception in Donaldson Brown marked the first-ever "virtual reunion." Using the Alumni Association Alumnet®, an Internet-based community that provides information and services to Tech alumni, the reunion participants held an on-line reunion with other alumni in California, New Jersey, Oregon, Texas and Virginia.
Don Drapeau and Tony Distler, who are credited with founding the Theatre Department, served as hosts for all events.