In 1969, Virginia Tech opened its first Northern Virginia Graduate Center: A white Reston farmhouse with two resident faculty members, a part-time staff, and 65 students.

Over the next 50 years, the university’s presence would expand to seven campuses, with program offerings from five colleges serving almost 800 master’s degree and Ph.D. students at seven area locations. There are more than 4,200 Northern Virginia and National Capital Region alumni living across the United States.

“We started offering graduate programs in Northern Virginia to serve the needs of students there, and we have continued to do that for more than 50 years, developing more programs and opportunities to meet demand,” said Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education Karen P. DePauw. “Our experience in the National Capital Region really provides the foundation for the university’s future plans in the region.”  

On April 23, Virginia Tech will celebrate the 50th anniversary in the National Capital Region with a program at the Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, a facility it opened in 1997 next to the Falls Church Metro Station. The campus is located at 7054 Haycock Road.

The program begins at 4 p.m. with a panel discussion, “Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and University Collaborations,” in Room 214 of the center. Panelists include Virginia Tech alumna Betty Chao, founder, president and CEO of WESTECH International Inc.; Afroze Mohammed, associate director of strategic alliances for the university; and Laura Freeman, associate director of the Intelligent Systems Lab at Virginia Tech’s Hume Center. Graduate Associate Dean and Northern Virginia Center Director Kenneth H. Wong.

At 6 p.m., the university will host a reception in a tent on the campus site. A short program will begin at 6:30 p.m. Speakers include Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education Karen P. DePauw, Associate Graduate School Dean and Director of the Northern Virginia Center Kenneth Wong, and Chao. 

Tours of the Northern Virginia Center will be available beginning at 5:15 p.m. and again after the evening program.

Event parking is available on site and the university has arranged for a special run of the Campus Connect bus to ferry people from Blacksburg to Falls Church and back again at no charge to the passengers. The bus will leave the parking lot of the Inn at Virginia Tech at about noon on April 23 and arrive at the Northern Virginia Center at Falls Church about 4 p.m. For the return trip, the bus will leave the Northern Virginia Center at 8:15 p.m. and arrive at the Inn at Virginia Tech at about 12:15 a.m.

Requests for space on the bus will be filled on a first come-first served basis via an online registration form and may be limited based on demand and available space. Only Virginia Tech community members can submit a request.

Registration for the event is requested and can be made via an online form.

Graduate School 50th anniversary in the NCR maroon and orange logo