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New Era Signaled at VA Tech With Opening of Corps Leadership / Military Science Building

The completion of a vision first imagined in 2012 was celebrated Sept. 8 with the grand opening of the Corps Leadership and Military Science Building on Upper Quad.

Virginia Tech President Tim Sands; Maj. Gen. Randal Fullhart, commandant of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets; Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets and Highty-Tighty alumni boards chairs J. Pearson and Chuck Rowell; Senior Vice President for Advancement Charlie Phlegar; and College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Dean Laura Belmonte were joined by friends and alumni of the corps for a ribbon cutting ceremony. In true corps’ fashion, a cadet saber did the honors.

The nearly 74,000-square-foot building was funded by the generosity of donors and will now serve as the hub of corps and ROTC activities. It boasts four dividable classrooms, the Corps Museum, multimedia and office spaces for corps and ROTC staff members, a library, an honor court room, and the Integrated Security Education and Research Center, an interactive facility aimed at creating interdisciplinary engagement throughout homeland security, national security, and cybersecurity domains.

A cadet historian provides a tour of the new corps museum to a graduate of the corps. Photo by Katie Mallory for Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech is one of the country’s six senior military colleges. Its corps and ROTC programs work in unison to develop leaders for the nation. Previously, facilities for corps and ROTC units were spread between multiple buildings. Now, the proximity of both programs in the new building strengthens that partnership.

“The building represents a truth that many may not fully appreciate. There are only six senior military colleges in this country. But the college is not the corps. The college is the greater sum of the parts made up of the corps and the ROTCs working and now living together in full partnership for the benefit of our cadets and midshipmen. That is the real promise of this new building,” said Fullhart.

Along with the Corps Leadership and Military Science Building, Friday’s ceremony also celebrated Upper Quad Hall North, the third and newest cadet residence hall that opened in August. The 56,000-square-foot building provides 301 new beds and is the home of cadets in regimental staff and 4th Battalion, who occupy the first two floors and half of the third. The other half of the third floor and all the fourth house students who are not in the corps.

As the regiment grows to its 1,400-cadet goal, cadets will reside on all floors of the residence hall. Upper Quad Hall North offers a kitchen, a classroom, a conference room, study lounges, staff offices, a mud room, laundry room, and an athletic trainer facility and office.

Cadet Jenna Mathis takes in the kitchen during move in for Upper Quad Hall North. Photo by Katie Mallory for Virginia Tech.

The completion of Upper Quad Hall North allows the all cadets in the regiment to live near each other and returns to the tradition of Upper Quad as the home of all cadets.

“We’ve essentially created what could be considered a residential college here on Upper Quad,” Fullhart said.

The revitalization of Upper Quad was announced in 2013, with the Corps Leadership and Military Science groundbreaking in June 2021. With a total cost of $52 million, corps donors were key to the building becoming a reality.

“The spirit of honor, service, and community that resides here will educate new generations of our nation’s military and civilian leaders. And it will be an inspiration for all Hokies for many years to come. To the donors who made this building a reality, thank you. We will be forever grateful,” Sands said during the grand opening ceremony.

“It is the beginning, a renewal, a reaffirmation of the entire quad, the Upper Quad, which was the origin site for the university and the Corps of Cadets which characterized this student body,” said Fullhart.

The Corps Leadership and Military Science building is replete with corps symbolism, some hidden and others in plain sight. But it also tells Virginia Tech’s story with its museum. A special exhibit honors the sacrifices of Virginia Tech’s eight Medal of Honor recipients and recounts early tales of student life. Women in the corps are celebrated with a display, and the original Skipper, the Corps of Cadets canon, serves as the focal point in the main entrance.

At 1,872 square feet, the new Corps Museum is a much-needed expansion of the corps display previously housed on the fourth floor of Newman Library and is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

Cadets have found a home in the building and can be seen in between classes browsing the museum and enjoying the common spaces spread throughout the facility.

“The Corps Leadership and Military Science Building brings everything great about the corps into one hub for all of us to learn together every day,” said Cadet Dylan Bowling, a junior majoring in international relations in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and a member of Air Force ROTC. “I really enjoy the museum. It’s a meaningful place for me to stop by after classes to reflect on our history and what it means to be a cadet at Virginia Tech.”

– Katie Mallory

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