National Capital Region 50th Anniversary
"From its humble beginnings in 1969 in a Reston farmhouse with two resident faculty members, a part-time staff, and 65 students, our graduate programs in Northern Virginia have grown to nearly 800 master’s and doctoral students at seven area locations. Virginia Tech has become an important part of the Northern Virginia community and a catalyst for advancing its knowledge economy.
"This year, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of offering graduate education in the National Capital Region. This exciting milestone provides us with an opportunity to reflect upon the growth and successes we have enjoyed in the past while, at the same time, looking forward and sharing our vision for the impacts that Virginia Tech will have in Northern Virginia in the decades to come." ~ Virginia Tech Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril R. Clarke.
On April 23, Virginia Tech celebrated 50 years of graduate education in the National Capital Region with a celebration at the university's Falls Church campus at 7054 Haycock Road, Falls Church, Virginia.
The celebration began with a panel discussion about innovation, entrepreneurship, and the role of graduate education. Betty Chao (Ph.D., 1983), founder, president and CEO of WESTECH International, Inc.; Afroze Mohammed, associate director of Strategic Alliances, Economic Development for Virginia Tech; and Laura Freeman, associate director of the Intelligent Systems Lab at the Hume Center joined Kenneth H. Wong, associate dean of the Graduate School and director of the Northern Virginia Center in a lively conversation in front of an audience of about 90 alumni, students, faculty, administrators and members of the public. The discussion was recorded and can be viewed at this site.
At 6 p.m., more than 300 people gathered in a large tent outside the Northern Virginia Center building to enjoy refreshments and conversation. Current students also provided tours of the campus, which included an opportunity to learn about the wide range of graduate programs offered in Northern Virginia.
At 6:30, Ph.D. candidate Vince Wang and master's candidate Jessica Simpson introduced President Tim Sands, who offered remarks about the success of Virginia Tech's graduate programs, calling them the foundation for growth in the region.
Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education Karen P. DePauw spoke next, noting how the programs had grown from that first effort in the Reston farmhouse, with more than 4,200 alumni worldwide.
Betty Chao expressed confidence that Virginia Tech's programs will indeed grow and will serve industry and other partners who need well-educated, resourceful graduates to join their teams to help solve complex national global problems.
Associate Graduate School Dean and Director of the Northern Virginia Center Kenneth Wong, who organized the event, ended the short program with thank yous and invitations for people to learn more about the programs and the center.