Virginia Tech Magazine

Volume 17, Number 3
Spring 1995


Garvin and Hahn named co-chairmen of campaign

Cifton C. Garvin '43 and T. Marshall Hahn, two men whose leadership and commitment to service have left indelible imprints on Virginia Tech, will serve as co-chairmen of The Campaign for Virginia Tech. "These are two men who once again have said, 'Yes, I am ready to help,'" said Virginia Tech President Paul Torgersen, announcing their appointment. When Garvin entered Virginia Tech in 1939, about 2,000 students were enrolled. To meet his college expenses, he worked as a plumber's helper for 18 cents per hour, a challenge that did not prevent him from becoming an outstanding student and cadet. After graduating with honors in chemical engineering in the war-accelerated class of 1943, Garvin was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers and fought in the Pacific Theater. At war's end, he returned to Virginia Tech for his master's degree and then joined Exxon Corp. in Baton Rouge, La. For more than four decades, Garvin and Exxon were a winning combination. When Garvin retired as chairman and CEO in 1986, Exxon was the second largest corporation in the world and the most profitable.

Since his retirement, Garvin has served the university in a number of important capacities. In addition to his current position as rector of the board of visitors, he is a director of the Virginia Tech Foundation, a member of the College of Engineering's Committee of 100, and a senior benefactor of the Ut Prosim Society. "He exemplifies a generation of alumni for whom the words 'That I May Serve' have been a call to action rather than an abstract sentiment," Torgersen said. "Fast track" does not begin to describe T. Marshall Hahn's career as a teacher, university president, and business executive. Hahn received his B.A. in physics from the University of Kentucky at the age of 18 and a Ph.D. in physics from M.I.T. five years later. After serving as physics professor and director of the University of Kentucky's nuclear reactor laboratories, he came to Virginia Tech in 1954 to head the physics department. Here he helped to found the doctoral physics program and a master's program in nuclear engineering physics. In 1959, Hahn moved on to Kansas State University as dean of arts and sciences. Three years later--at the age of 35--he returned to Virginia Tech as the university's 11th president. Hahn helped transform Virginia Tech from a predominately male military institution into a major comprehensive university during his 12-year presidency. By 1974, when he left to become executive vice president of Georgia-Pacific Corp., three new colleges had been formed; student enrollment had nearly tripled; women had full participation in the university's academic programs; and the campus had been greatly enlarged.

Hahn's performance was equally impressive at Georgia-Pacific, where he expanded the scope of the company's operations and profitability before retiring as chairman and chief executive officer in 1993. "Marshall Hahn literally reshaped the physical and cultural landscape of Virginia Tech," Torgersen said. "In doing so, he helped develop the invaluable strengths this university needs for the 21st century. We are extremely fortunate that he and Cliff Garvin will lead The Campaign for Virginia Tech, an effort that will enable us to build upon those strengths."

Col. Alphin endows dairy science and the corps

Colonel Horace E. Alphin (DASC '34) has made two gifts totalling $400,000 to benefit the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Corps of Cadets. Alphin has contributed $250,000 to endow the Horace E. and Elizabeth F. Alphin Professorship and $50,000 for a scholarship in the same name. "At a time of uncertainty for state resources, gifts of this nature are critical to attracting and retaining eminent teacher/scholars and to maintaining support for our students," said L.A. Swiger, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Alphin also created a Colonel Horace E. Alphin Corps of Cadets Scholarship Fund of $95,000 and donated $5,000 toward the cost of producing a history of the Corps, Bugles Echo, by his classmate Col. Harry Temple (IE '34). A native of Botetourt County, Alphin has enjoyed several successful careers. After receiving a commission in the Army reserve and a bachelor's degree in dairy husbandry from Virginia Tech, he earned a master's degree in dairy bacteriology from Tech and spent five years as a North Carolina Extension agent. In 1941 he was called to active duty and began a long, distinguished military career in personnel services. Alphin retired as a full colonel in 1967 and began another career in personnel administration with the Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington until his second retirement in 1979. Today he is a successful land developer in Northern Virginia.

Virginia Tech Magazine Volume 17, Number 3 Spring 1995