Virginia Tech's President's Report 1997-98

Behind those stone walls The year in review 1997-98
World-class leader in technology Campaign exceeds goal
The digital classroom Charts and Tables
Reaching out with technology About this report
Recent technological "firsts" President's Report Archives

Behind those stone walls

By President Paul Torgersen

Hand carving Hokie Stone
If you place your hands on the limestone walls of Holden Hall, you can imagine the stonecarver who, decades ago, carefully and skillfully shaped the sides of the stone with a hammer and chisel. And you can almost see the mason, in the heat of the day, leveling the block using twine and a straight eye.

The gray and pink limestone walls of Virginia Tech tell much about this place. They speak of the care and quality that permeate every aspect of this university, and they tell our history. Stone after stone, scholar after scholar, wall after wall, generation after generation of students, building after building this university was built by a strong work ethic, an eye for detail, and a tireless commitment to excel and meet the needs of a growing and changing society.

As in the past during critical periods of this nation, Virginia Tech is currently positioning itself to serve today's students and fulfill tomorrow's sophisticated needs. Innovation is the tool we are using to carve this future. And that innovation is taking place behind our Gothic-looking stone walls in our laboratories and in our classrooms. It is changing how we teach and how our students learn.

We have created a technologically enriched learning environment on this limestone campus in which our students explore and discover. A world of information and resources is at their fingertips. They are becoming more engaged in the classroom and taking a more active role in the learning process. At the same time, their contacts with professors are more frequent and more productive because of the individual attention that the technology allows our scholars to give.

Demand is growing dramatically for technological literacy in today's work force as computers and related technologies permeate our lives at home, at work, and at play. As a major research university, it is no surprise that Virginia Tech has become a national and international leader in computer and communications innovations. We are determined to give our students the computer and technological skills needed for success, while at the same time enriching their learning experience here.

Never before has innovation played a more critical role in this university's teaching, public service, and research efforts. Innovation embodies the spirit of this institution. And that spirit resides in our stone walls. If you place your hand on the stone, you can almost feel the excitement of discovery that is taking place on the other side.

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