Todd Barnes: A Lifelong Leader

The Corps of Cadets has been an essential thread in the fabric of Virginia Tech since 1872. Foregoing the typically collegiate experience, freshmen arrive to Blacksburg and quickly transform from high school graduates into Cadets of the Corps. Todd Barnes, class of 1975, arrived on campus for Rat week and was caught up in the whirlwind of haircuts and freshly-pressed …

Buddy Russell: Building a Legacy from the Soil Up

Always a bright student, Russell graduated high school at the age of sixteen and started school at Virginia Tech soon thereafter. At the time, the university had started to grow dramatically. Russell was in awe of the size and scale of his new home. Following graduation, Russell went on to earn his Master’s Degree in Agricultural Education at the University …

Marvin Boyd: That I May Serve

As the new, starry-eyed freshman class arrives to Blacksburg in August, they begin to make their home in one of Virginia Tech’s twenty-seven residences halls. Their rooms are then the stage for the countless memories of their first year as Hokies. Yet for some, this on-campus community expands beyond their freshman year. Marvin Boyd, graduate of the class of 2001, …

Levi Daniels: Fellowship, Service, Understanding, Acceptance

Fellowship and community are important to Levi Daniels. Whilst a student at Virginia Tech, he worked with other students to found the Student African American Brotherhood to offer that fellowship to African American students on campus, and opened himself up to engaging with others to find common understanding. Levi grew up in southeastern D.C. and describes himself as an academically …

Michael Goode: An Advocate for Diversity

Michael Goode grew up in an African American neighbourhood outside of Richmond. He came to Virginia Tech in 2001 and was one of the first people in his family to attend college. With an interest in information technology and computers from a young age, Michael had set his sights on going to college. After being accepted to three Virginia colleges, …

Joseph Barlow: A Harvested Leader

Joseph Barlow was born on a farm in 1928, shortly before The Great Depression. Barlow never questioned where he was going to attend college; the answer was always Virginia Tech. Like his father, Barlow enrolled at Virginia Tech, and graduated with a degree in agriculture engineering in 1950. Even though he was attending his top school, Barlow almost dropped out …

John Bates: A Hokie to His Core

On the weekend of his 50th college reunion, John Bates finds himself pausing as he crosses the Drillfield on a quiet Sunday morning. It was as if he entered a “timewarp,” John states. As if the past 50 years had just rewound, and he was, once again, a student heading to class with an armful of books. John Bates, Class …

Eugene Banks: Hokie, Hokie, Hokie, G.I.

Eugene Banks, class of 1950, had never even seen Virginia Tech before the day he enrolled. Banks began his education in 1946 at the age of 16. While he never visited the campus due to the United States’ gasoline rationing in the early 1940s, Banks knew he wanted to study engineering. He initially decided to study electrical engineering before switching …

April Cheek-Messier: A Historian and Patriot

April Cheek Messier, 1996-1998, followed her passion for American history to serve her country at the National D-Day Memorial. Growing up in Bedford, Virginia, the American town with the highest per-capita D-Day casualties, April was constantly reminded of the sacrifices made by her community. Bringing the history of WWII to a new generation, April served to educate the masses about …

Tara Fortune, Jeryl Payne, Kaye Pereras, Emily Haynes Cooper: Champions Against Adversity

Hokies always remember their first time on Virginia Tech’s campus. Whether it be a the sun illuminating the limestone buildings or the students shuffling across the Drillfield in a cold winter wind, Virginia Tech’s campus leaves a strong first impression. Various paths led Tara Fortune, Jeryl Payne, Catherine (Kay) Perez, Emily Haynes Cooper to Virginia Tech’s campus as incoming freshmen; …