Virginia Tech Magazine

Volume 14, Number 2
Winter 1992


The 1991 reunion season got off to a roaring start Aug. 30-31 with more than 180 members of the Class of '51 and their guests celebrating their 40th-year reunion watching Virginia Tech score a football victory over James Madison University.

On Oct. 18-19, three classes--'36, '46, and '56--held reunions over the Cincinnati game weekend. Twenty-eight members of the Class of '36 ceremonially presented their sabres to the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. Former Virginia Tech President William E. Lavery was the keynote speaker at a banquet hosted by the Class of '46. The Class of '56 activities included a banquet with speaker, Paul Torgersen, former dean of the College of Engineering and president of the Corporate Research Center.

Homecoming weekend, Oct. 25-26, (Louisville game) featured record turnouts by two anniversary classes, '41 and '66. The Class of '41 was inducted into the prestigious "Old Guard" of the Alumni Association by Director of Alumni Relations Tom Tillar. President James McComas congratulated the new inductees. The Old Guard was formed in 1967 to provide fellowship and continuing contact for alumni who have graduated 50 or more years earlier.

The Friday dinner dance was attended by 280 guests. Reunion event planners were Johnny Bernard ('41) and his committee, Class of '66 president Kendall Clay, and reunion chairman Jim Shuler ('66). Both classes announced record annual gifts from class members to the university in 1990-91.

The Classes of '61 and '71 celebrated reunion banquets on Nov. 9 after the Akron game. University Vice President for Alumni Relations Buddy Russell served as guest speaker for the '61 reunion and James P. Wightman, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, delivered an entertaining presentation, "The Magic of Chemistry," to the Class of '71.

The classes of '76, '81, and '86 joined ranks to hold a joint reunion celebration on Nov. 15-16 (East Carolina game). Vice President for Student Affairs Tom Goodale addressed the group at their Saturday banquet.

Civil War weekend for alumni

James I. "Bud" Robertson will give alumni a glimpse of why the Civil War history class he teaches at Virginia Tech is the largest anywhere when he helps preside over a Civil War weekend offered by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association Feb. 21-22.

"I think it's fitting that a Civil War program would be here on campus," particularly considering Newman Library "has become the center for Civil War research in Virginia," says Robertson.

The library is one of only two places in Virginia that has the complete military records for all Confederate soldiers, and it is now acquiring the 7,000 volumes of the E.E. Billings collection, which is the largest private holding of books by Union soldiers.

Robertson is something of a treasure himself. He has authored 23 books on the Civil War, and was a Pulitzer finalist in 1989 for his volume, Soldiers Blue and Gray. Currently, he is working on a full-scale biography of Stonewall Jackson.

Robertson, who teaches Civil War history to about 400 students per semester, has no problem explaining why so many people are interested in the war, or why he considers it so important. "The United States, in fact, came out of that war," Robertson says. "It's the watershed of American history."

The weekend will include a genealogy workshop, and a living history performance by a Civil War soldier impersonator. Registration fee for the Civil War Weekend is $60 per person and includes instruction, materials, and meals. For more information, call the Virginia Tech Alumni Association at (703) 231-6285.

Chapter officers honored at forum

More than 100 Virginia Tech Alumni Association chapter officers from across the United States toured the renovated Squires Student Center, attended a special reception , and then capped a late-August weekend by honoring the best volunteer chapter officer in the country.

The occasion for the festivities was the annual Alumni Chapter Officers Forum, during which volunteer leaders representing 36 chapters gathered on the Virginia Tech campus Aug. 30-31. They spent part of their time attending training and management seminars aimed at improving leadership, but they also relaxed at a reception at The Grove given by Virginia Tech President and Mrs. James D. McComas and at an awards banquet.

At the banquet, the Alumni Association honored Triad Chapter (North Carolina) past President Charles Milam as 1991 Outstanding Chapter Officer. The association also recognized 11 chapters for their superlative work, and named Northern Virginia as the best in-state chapter, and Triad as the best out-of-state chapter.

Virginia Tech Magazine Volume 14, Number 2 Winter 1992