Willis and Mary Nolen Blackwood: The Hokie Nation Personified

“It amazes me,” Mary Nolen Blackwood joyfully reminisces, a Virginia Tech grad of ‘73, “you love each other in spite of your idiosyncrasies.”  Willis and Mary Nolen Blackwood, Class of 1972 and 1973 respectively, have continued to maintain their connection to Virginia Tech for the past 50 years following graduation through heavy family ties and financial involvements. Even in Florida, …

William (Bill) Starnes, Jr.: Proud to be a Hokie

William (Bill) Starnes, Jr., Virginia Tech class of 1955, never seriously considered any other school. Bill always knew that he was going to college, and because his father attended the university, having graduated in 1924, it seemed like the perfect place to be. Growing up in Lee County, VA, Bill enjoyed all that his hometown had to offer him as …

Bob Bates: Researcher, Collaborator, and Educator

Education has always been important in the life of Robert “Bob” Bates, former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (now College of Science). Both of his parents were college-educated, and his mother was a teacher, while his father worked for the U.S. government. The youngest of four, Bates and his siblings were all expected to attend college. Although …