BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 16, 2009 – Virginia Tech's Chemistry-Physics Building will be officially named for former university president T. Marshall Hahn Jr., in a dedication ceremony Friday, Oct. 16 at 3:30 p.m.
The event will feature a host of distinguished guest speakers including, President Charles W. Steger, former university provost Dave Roselle, former Virginia Tech faculty member and Rhodes Scholar William Lewis, and former Norfolk Southern CEO David Goode.
Hahn, who was president from 1962-1974, spearheaded some of the most significant changes in the university’s history. By fully opening enrollment to women, expanding undergraduate and graduate degree offerings, eliminating the mandatory military requirement, and reorganizing the institution’s colleges, Hahn transformed the college then know as Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI) into a major academic institution that, today, is Virginia’s leading research university.
Hahn came to Virginia Tech in 1954 as a professor and head of the Department of Physics. He left in 1959 to serve as dean of arts and sciences at Kansas State University, but returned three years later to become the university’s youngest president, at age 35.
Enrollment nearly tripled during Hahn’s tenure, increasing from 6,000 to 17,000 students, which led to the construction of new residence halls and academic buildings and the renovation and enlargement of many other facilities. Lane Stadium, Cowgill Hall, and Slusher Hall are just a few of the prominent buildings added to campus during Hahn’s 12 years as president.
Other firsts under Hahn’s leadership included the hiring of a black faculty member, the graduation of a black woman, and the opening of the corps of cadets to women.
The 85,000-square-foot Chemistry-Physics Building, where thousands of students take courses in physics, chemistry, and microbiology, is the second building to be named for Hahn. An adjacent, 71,000-square-foot building was named for him in 1990 and is used mainly for chemistry research. The older building will now be referred to as Hahn Hall South.