National Capital Region (NCR) has been chosen as the new "umbrella" identifier for all Virginia Tech facilities in Northern Virginia, replacing the name Northern Virginia Operations, announced James Bohland, executive director of the National Capital Region.

The new name was chosen by a council comprised of representatives from programs located in the region and was approved by senior administration at the university.

The National Capital Region includes graduate schools and research centers in Alexandria, Falls Church, Leesburg, Manassas, and Middleburg. "The new name was created to give all of these locations a unified identity in this region," Bohland said. "It is a way of branding who we are in a very positive way."

The decision to find a new name was the result of some confusion as to what Northern Virginia really meant, Bohland said. "Many people thought of us only as our Northern Virginia Graduate Center in Falls Church. There was also some misunderstanding with abbreviating NoVA for Northern Virginia, which we often tended to do, since that is the commonly used acronym for Northern Virginia Community College."

One of the council's criteria was to find a name that would imply a metropolitan image. "We believe that NCR achieves that goal. It is also the descriptor widely used by government and in businesses, both important connections for Virginia Tech in this region. The council further agreed that the new name suggests fewer boundaries and appears more far-reaching, another impression we were trying to achieve," he said.

The new name also should prove helpful when communicating and interacting with faculty and administrators at universities in other states who were confused as to "what constituted Northern Virginia."

"We want to encourage all the centers and graduate schools in the National Capital Region to incorporate the new name as a descriptor in both written and oral communications," Bohland said. "It should not replace, but add to, the identity and reputation that each college and department or research center has worked so hard to build as an integral part of Virginia Tech in this region."

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become among the largest universities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech's eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top 30 research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.