Virginia Tech Magazine

Volume 17, Number 2
Winter 1995


Pamplins favor Virginia Tech with new gift

Business graduate Robert Pamplin Sr. and his son Robert Pamplin Jr. have made a $3.5-million contribution to the university's Pamplin College of Business. With their recent commitment, the Pamplins have given more than $22 million to Virginia Tech--$20 million to the Pamplin College of Business. The latest gift will be used to provide scholarships, support new professorships, and supplement five existing professorships endowed by the Pamplins. The gift is yet another example of the Pamplins' long-standing philanthropic support of the university and of the college which bears their name. The Pamplins own the R.B. Pamplin Corporation in Portland, Ore., a company with textile mills in the Southeast, and sand, gravel, concrete, and asphalt operations in the Northwest. Pamplin Sr., who earned a degree in business administration from Virginia Tech in 1933, is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Georgia Pacific Corp. Pamplin Jr. attended Virginia Tech during 1960-1962 before completing his undergraduate degree at Lewis and Clark College. The Pamplins chaired the university's last fundraising campaign, which brought in over $118 million. Pamplin Sr. served on Virginia Tech's board of visitors during 1971-1979. He and his son have lectured in the business college on their business philosophy and operations and provided information on their operations for a case study used in finance and management courses.

University becomes leader in Civil War history with Billings gift

by Deborah S. Harris

After more than 12 years of researching potential recipients, a Civil War historian has donated artifacts, books, and manuscripts valued at more than $1 million to Virginia Tech. The collection, combined with the Virginia Tech library's existing Civil War holdings, places the university's Civil War collection among the three largest in the country. The gift consists of more than 6,000 Civil War books, several hundred manuscripts, and numerous artifacts pledged to the library's Special Collections Department by Elden E. "Josh" Billings, a retired analyst and economist for the Congressional Research Service. Billings, considered one of the leading authorities on Civil War books, has compiled the most extensive Civil War collection ever amassed by an individual. Particularly unique are the regimental histories and personal memoirs which emphasize the war from the North's perspective. "This collection elevated Virginia Tech to a prominent position in the country for Civil War history," says James I. "Bud" Robertson, C.P. Miles Professor of History and eminent Civil War scholar. "As a member of the faculty and a good friend of Josh, I am extremely proud the university will house this remarkable and valuable literary collection." "I researched university facilities for over 12 years," Billings says. "My decision to donate the collection to Virginia Tech is due, in large measure, to my admiration and respect for Bud Robertson and the fine facilities of the Special Collections department." Billings also has established an endowment to maintain and expand his collection. "We now have volumes that even the Library of Congress would envy," says Stephen Zietz, head of the special collections for the Virginia Tech library. Billings remains an active researcher, writer, and lecturer. He belongs to eight Civil War history round-tables and is a charter member of Robertson's "Campaigning with Lee" summer seminar. Deborah Harris is a graduate intern in university relations and development.

$8 million bequest boosts biotechnology research

An anonymous gift of about $8 million will come to the university from the estate of a deceased alumnus. It will be used initially to support biotechnology research and to nurture the teaching of advanced biology at the high-school level. The biotechnology facility is pursuing research in the areas of human and animal health and agricultural productivity. The gift will also help finance the development and implementation of new executive training and business leadership programs.

Virginia Tech Magazine Volume 17, Number 2 Winter 1995