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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, or Virginia Tech for short, is a university in Blacksburg, Virginia, in western Virginia near the Appalachian Mountains. Virginia Tech is known for its programs in agriculture, engineering, and veterinary medicine.


Virginia Tech was originally founded in 1851 as a Methodist academy called the Olin and Preston Institute. After the passage of the Morrill Act, the institutions became the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1872. In 1970, the school became a fully accredited state university.


Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs are offered through the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, the College of Architecture & Urban Studies, the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, the Pamplin College of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, the College of Natural Resources, the College of Science, and the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.


The Virginia Tech campus is located within Blacksburg; the campus is roughly bordered by Prices Fork Road to the northwest, Duck Pond Drive to the west, and Southgate Drive to the south. The university also has several commonwealth branch campus centers: Hampton Roads (Virginia Beach), Northern Virginia (Falls Church), Richmond, Roanoke, and the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon.


The school's sports teams are called the Hokies; the school's mascot is the turkey-like Hokie Bird. They participate in the NCAA's Division I-A and in the Big East Conference, but will leave the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004.

According to the school handbook, the word "Hokie" was coined by a member of the Class of 1896 in a spirit yell. The word has no specific meaning and was used as an attention getter. Around 1908, Tech students began referring to student athletes as "Gobblers" because of the way they "gobbled" their ample servings of food. In 1913, a local boy serving as a clown mascot had a large turkey pull him in a cart at football games. From then on, fans and sportswriters associated the gobbler with Tech's athletic teams. A costumed Gobbler mascot was introduced during games in 1962, and has been a symbol of school spirit ever since.

Affiliated Institutions

The veterinary school, founded in 1978, is a separate institution on the same campus, paid for by the two states of Virginia and Maryland. It also has a equine center in Leesburg, Virgina, and a small campus at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland.

It has one of the longest official names of any educational institution in the country: Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

In 2004, Virginia Tech created a supercomputer, which ranked as the 3rd fastest in the world. The systeam was made from 1100 dual processor G5's and cost 5.2 million dollars.

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