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Celebrating 80 years as alumna

Alumna looks back on 100 years of life, centered around Virginia Tech

Blacksburg has been a pillar in the life Virginia Teske Smith, who celebrated her 100th birthday in 2019. She was 8 years old when her family moved to Blacksburg because her father, August Henry Teske, took a job as a horticulture professor.

She recalls immediately falling in love with the area, specifically noting the charm of music being played in what was then a wooded area between the Newman Library and downtown Blacksburg. After high school, she became one of the first women to graduate with a degree in Science from Virginia Tech, a member of the Class of 1939.

She recalls a campus and community built on friendship. “Every person on campus spoke to a stranger, every stranger. They just said hello or something,” Smith said. “When you’d come back several years later and walk the campus and everyone greeted you, it was just such an overwhelming experience.”

At Virginia Tech, she met the man who would become her husband, Henry B. Smith Jr., a graduate student studying chemical engineering. One of their sons, Henry B. Smith III, would carry on the Hokie tradition, majoring in chemistry and graduating in 1969.

This past spring, Virginia Smith returned with Henry to celebrate her 80th reunion and be acknowledged as a Virginia Tech Centenarian and awarded a piece of Hokie Stone by the Old Guard Society of Golden Alumni. “All I can say is, look to the future,” Virginia Smith said.

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