OK, you think you're an astute fan of Virginia Tech. You know the evolution of the university's mascot, the HokieBird. You can recount unusual etymology of the hoki-name. But, who was the first academic dean? What was the score of this fledgling college's first football game? What is the origin of the class ring tradition?

Find answers to questions you hardly knew to ask. Relive the events leading to the establishment of Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College in Blacksburg, now known as Virginia Tech.

Researched and written over the past decade by Clara Cox, director of university publications in University Relations, this online trove of university history will fritter away the hours of anyone curious about the evolution of the hardscrabble school in the Virginia mountains that later became Virginia’s leading research university.

Read biographical sketches for every Virginia Tech president, including one whose administration was so short that he is not counted among the university’s top leaders.

Read about the life of William Addison Caldwell, the first student to register, and the war-time actions that earned the Medal of Honor for seven alumni.

Find the history of the university’s academic colleges and schools and the name of every academic dean since the first four were appointed in 1903-04.

“This is an extraordinary compilation,” said Larry Hincker, associate vice president for university relations. “Admittedly, it likely appeals to those with orange and maroon living rooms or university history wonks. But, even casual readers will enjoy Clara’s coverage of that young Add Caldwell’s late-19th-century trek over the mountains from Sinking Creek to be the first enrollee in Virginia’s new educational experiment.”

Compare the records of football coaches since E. A. Smyth was appointed the first coach in 1892, and see how women’s basketball has fared since Ruth Louise Terrett “stirred up an enthusiasm for basketball,” which spurred women students to form their own team in 1923 -- two years after the first full-time female students were admitted.

The History and Historical Data of Virginia Tech, an updated and expanded edition of the Historical Data Book first published in 1972, has been published online. The online book was compiled, written, and edited by Cox, who received a Master of Arts in English from Virginia Tech in 1984, and the late Jenkins M. Robertson.

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