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Factbook: About the University

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Updated October 11, 2021

Mission Statement

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is a public land-grant university serving the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world community. The discovery and dissemination of new knowledge are central to its mission. Through its focus on teaching and learning, research and discovery, and outreach and engagement, the university creates, conveys, and applies knowledge to expand personal growth and opportunity, advance social and community development, foster economic competitiveness, and improve the quality of life.

Mission Statement approved by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, June 4, 2001; revised in 2006.

University Overview


Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing students to be leaders and problem-solvers. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers about 280 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 34,000 students and manages a research portfolio of more than $521 million. The university fulfills its role as a land-grant by fostering a collaborative environment that integrates technology into all disciplines, so that the Virginia Tech community can serve as a force for positive change around the commonwealth, the country, and the world.

Through experiential learning, future-focused research, and an inclusive, spirited culture, Virginia Tech strives to accomplish the charge of its motto Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

Founded in 1872, Virginia Tech has a 2,600-acre main campus, educational and research facilities across the state, a study-abroad site in Switzerland, and a 1,800-acre agriculture research farm near the main campus. The campus proper is located in the Town of Blacksburg in Montgomery County in the New River Valley and is 38 miles southwest of Roanoke.

Enrollment (Fall 2021)

34,656 on-campus; 85.2 percent undergraduate; 14.8 percent graduate; 57.1 percent male; 42.7 percent female. Total enrollment on and off campus is 37,279 (79.8 percent undergraduate, 20.2 percent graduate).


Virginia Tech received 42,054 applications for the fall 2021 first-year class. 23,749 were offered admission and 6,758 enrolled.

Full-time Instructional Faculty

1,071; 71.4 percent are tenured.


More than 250,000 living alumni from every state and more than 100 countries.

Board of Visitors

A board of visitors, appointed by the governor of Virginia, is composed of 14 members, headed by a rector. Current board of visitors members are Letitia A. Long, rector; Edward H. Baine, vice rector; Shelley Butler Barlow; Carrie H. Chenery; Greta J. Harris; Charles T. Hill; Anna L. James; Sharon Brickhouse Martin; Melissa B. Nelson; Chris Petersen; Mehul P. Sanghani; Horacio A. Valeiras; Jeff E. Veatch; and Preston M. White. The presidents of the Faculty Senate (Robert Weiss) and the Staff Senate (Serena Young) are also ex-officio, non-voting representatives. Each year, an undergraduate student (Paolo Fermin) and a graduate student (Phil Miskovic) are selected through a competitive review process to serve as non-voting representatives to the board. Kim O'Rourke is the board secretary.


The university offers more than 110 bachelor's degree programs through its seven undergraduate academic colleges: Agriculture and Life Sciences (which also offers an associate degree in agricultural technology), Architecture and Urban Studies, Engineering, Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Natural Resources and Environment, Pamplin College of Business, and Science. On the postgraduate level, the university offers approximately 170 master's and doctoral degrees through the Graduate School, a professional degree from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, and a medical degree from the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.


At $521 million, Virginia Tech is ranked 43rd overall in the National Science Foundation’s annual survey of higher education research expenditures, 24th among public research universities. Virginia Tech continues to rank in the top 5 percent of universities in the nation in research expenditures and is the only Virginia institution in the top 50. The university has widely respected strengths in agriculture, biotechnology, information and communication technology, human health, transportation, energy management (including leadership in fuel-cell technology and power electronics), security, sustainability, and a wide range of other engineering, scientific, social science, and creative fields. This research led to 34 patents and 46 license and option agreements in fiscal year 2016.

The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (CRC) offers opportunities for businesses to establish close working relationships with the university and nurtures entrepreneurs pursuing new inventions and developments. Located on 230 acres adjacent to the main campus, the center consists of 33 buildings housing more than 180 companies with approximately 3,000 employees.

Special Academic Programs

In the university's Cooperative Education Program, sophomores and juniors can alternate semesters of study with semesters of professional work. The Honors College inspires and facilitates an extraordinary education for students of exceptional motivation and ability who seek to be active learners and who will apply their knowledge and skills to critical real-world problems. The Study Abroad Program consists of academic programs, tours, and independent travel, often conducted in conjunction with overseas universities and institutions. Students enrolled in the Corps of Cadets are eligible for the Army, Air Force, and Navy ROTC programs. Virginia Tech established its first residential college in fall 2011 and added a second in 2012.

Outreach and International Affairs

Outreach and International Affairs, which spearheads the university's outreach mission, encompasses a number of university-wide programs and facilities. These include the Steger Center for International Scholarship in Switzerland; Commonwealth Campus Centers in Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads (Virginia Beach and Newport News), Richmond, and Roanoke; the Office of Economic Development; the Center for International Research, Education, and Development, including a women-and-gender program and applied research programs in developing countries; Global Education; International Support Services; the Language and Culture Institute; Southside outreach programs, including the Reynolds Homestead in Patrick County; the Executive Briefing Center in Arlington; The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center; and The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center. Engagement programs also include the Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement, Continuing and Professional Education; Outreach Fellows; and Upward Bound and Talent Search (federally funded TRIO programs).

Statewide Facilities

Virginia Tech has facilities located across the commonwealth and one in Europe. These include the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg; several locations in the Virginia Tech National Capital Region, including the Virginia Tech Research Center—Arlington, Northern Virginia Center, Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, and two Agricultural Research and Extension Centers; Hampton Roads Center, Virginia Beach, and Hampton Roads Center, Newport News; Virginia Tech Roanoke Center; Virginia Tech Richmond Center; and Virginia Tech Southwest Center in Abingdon. The Virginia Tech Foundation owns and maintains the Steger Center for International Scholarship in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland, which is part of the university's study-abroad program. The foundation also owns The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, which it uses for academic programs, continuing education, seminars, and conferences.

University Budget

Virginia Tech's operating budget in 2021-22 is $1.74 billion and is comprised of two state agencies—the University Division and the Cooperative Extension/Agricultural Experiment Station division—and five major programs. The state appropriates a portion of the funds, but most originates from student tuition and fees, grants and contracts, sales and services, federal sources, user fees, and other sources.


Virginia Tech is a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. NCAA Division I-A men's varsity sports at Tech are football, basketball, baseball, soccer, indoor and outdoor track, swimming and diving, wrestling, tennis, golf, and cross country. Women's varsity sports are basketball, tennis, volleyball, swimming and diving, indoor and outdoor track, soccer, softball, lacrosse, golf, and cross country. An extensive recreational program provides opportunities for participation in numerous activities. The university also offers intramural sports and club-sports programs that allow students to compete against programs from other colleges and universities across the country.

Virginia Tech Foundation

As of June 30, 2020, the Virginia Tech Foundation's assets and managed funds—including gifts and bequests—totaled more than $2.26 billion. The total endowment owned and managed by the university was $1.33 billion. Endowment value per student was $36,728.


Virginia Cooperative Extension is a dynamic organization that stimulates positive personal and societal change leading to more productive lives, families, farms, and forests, as well as a better environment. Extension responds to the needs of individuals, families, groups, and organizations with educational programs in three broad areas: agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, and 4-H youth development.

Extension, operated jointly in the commonwealth by Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, has been helping people improve their economic, cultural, and social well-being for 100 years. While Extension has a long history of helping make America's agricultural powerhouse more productive and economical, it also does important work in the state's urban and rural areas—from helping expectant mothers learn healthy nutritional practices to counseling families in financial distress. With offices, professionals, and volunteers positioned around the commonwealth, Extension's nonformal education benefits more than 2.6 million participants annually. Extension has touched virtually every life in the state in some way.

Extension is a product of cooperation among local, state, and federal governments in partnership with thousands of citizens who, through local Extension Leadership Councils, help design, implement, and evaluate Cooperative Extension's needs-driven programs. Tens of thousands of volunteers contribute hundreds of thousands of hours annually.

Virginia Tech logo

The University Logo

The Virginia Tech logo is grounded in tradition, yet focused on the future. The lettering reflects the VT-shaped educational experience. The vertical bar of the T represents disciplinary depth, while the horizontal bar reflects the ability to work across disciplines. The arms of the V represent applying knowledge in real-world settings and the spirit of Ut Prosim. The logo’s openness and shape highlight Virginia Tech’s identity as an inclusive community that thrives at the intersection of academic disciplines. The logo was adopted in September 2017.

The University Shield

The University Shield

The shield embodies Virginia Tech's motto — Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) — by incorporating an image of the university's War Memorial Pylons, where this motto is etched in stone.

The shield's shape also reflects the collegiate heritage of all universities, and the numerals "1872" recognize the year the university was founded and reinforce the traditions of long-standing service to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The shield was adopted in May 1991.


The University Seal

The University Seal

The four quadrants of the shield on the seal depict the obverse side of the Great Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the surveyor's level and leveling rod superimposed over a scroll, a partially husked standing ear of corn, and a chemical retort and graduate. Above the shield is the left side of the flaming lamp of learning with a right hand suspended above it.

The seal, created in 1896 and officially adopted by the Board of Visitors in 1963, has remained unchanged (with the exception of the name of the institution and the alteration of the commonwealth portion) for more than 11 decades and reflects the agricultural/mechanical emphasis in the Virginia Tech curriculum during its first century.

The Corps of Cadets Coat of Arms

Corps of cadets coat of arms

Designed in 1965 by the late Col. Harry D. Temple (industrial engineering '34) when he was commanding officer of the Army's Institute of Heraldry, the coat of arms was granted to the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets by the U.S. Army. The symbols are as follows:

  • Flaming grenade = preparation for war
  • Four gold stars = four major wars in which Tech cadets had fought before 1965 (Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, and Korean War)
  • Laurel wreath = the presidential citation given to the cadet band for Spanish-American War service
  • Color red = strength and courage
  • Sword = command

University Mascot


The HokieBird, the university mascot, evolved from a live turkey paraded on the playing field to a hand-sewn costume with a papier-mâché head to today's professionally manufactured outfit. A costumed mascot, which eventually evolved into HokieBird, first took the field in the fall of 1962.

In 1913, Floyd Meade, a local resident nicknamed "Hard Times," who was chosen by the student body to serve as the team's mascot, trained a large turkey that he could make gobble on command at games. Although the nickname "Gobblers" had been used sporadically for about 10 years, fans and sports writers enthusiastically began to use it regularly.

The term "Hokie" was coined by O.M. Stull (Class of 1896) when he wrote the "Old Hokie" spirit yell, first used in the fall of 1896 ("Hoki, Hoki, Hoki, Hy / Techs! Techs! VPI"). Fans started calling Tech teams "Hokies" as well as "Fightin' Gobblers," but the latter nickname prevailed. In the 1980s, a football coach who didn't like the gobbler image encouraged the use of the nickname Hokies, and the two names evolved into the HokieBird.

Virginia Tech's Benchmark Institutions

For the purpose of salary comparisons, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia identifies institutions with academic profiles similar to Virginia Tech's.

  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.
  • University of Florida, Gainesville
  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Iowa State University, Ames
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Michigan State University, East Lansing
  • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • University of Missouri, Columbia
  • North Carolina State University, Raleigh
  • The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick
  • State University of New York at Buffalo
  • University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • Stony Brook University, State University of New York
  • Texas A&M University, College Station
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • University of Washington, Seattle
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison

Senior Administrative Personnel

President Timothy D. Sands
Executive Vice President and Provost   Cyril Clarke
Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer Dwayne L. Pinkney
Vice President for Enterprise Administrative and Business Services Lynsay Belshe
Vice President and Executive Director for the Innovation Campus Lance Collins
Vice President for Health Sciences and Technology Michael J. Friedlander
Vice President for Human Resources Bryan Garey
Vice President for Outreach and International Affairs Guru Ghosh
Vice President for Health Sciences and Technology Michael Friedlander
Vice President for Outreach and International Affairs Guru Ghosh
Vice President for Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities Chris Kiwus
Vice President for Strategic Alliances Steven H. McKnight
Vice President for Information Technology & Chief Information Officer Scott F. Midkiff
Vice President for Finance Ken Miller
Vice President for Policy and Governance & Secretary to the Board Kim O’Rourke
Vice President for Advancement Charles D. Phlegar
Vice President for Diversity, Inclusion, and Strategic Affairs Menah Pratt-Clarke
Vice President for Student Affairs Frank Shushok Jr.
Chief Executive Officer for the Virginia Tech Foundation Elizabeth McClanahan
Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Laura Belmonte
Interim Dean, College of Architecture and Urban Studies Rosemary Blieszner
Interim Dean, College of Science Ron Fricker
Dean, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine M. Daniel Givens
Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alan Grant
Dean, Honors College Paul Knox
Dean, Virginia Tech CarilionSchool of Medicine Lee Learman
Dean, College of Engineering Julia Ross
Dean, Pamplin College of Business Robert Sumichrast
Dean, Graduate School Aimée Surprenant
Dean, College of Natural Resources and Environment  Paul Winistorfer
University Legal Counsel Kay Heidbreder