John McLaren McBryde

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John McLaren McBryde
John McLaren McBryde.jpg
5th President of Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College
In office
July 1, 1891 – September 1, 1907
Preceded by Lunsford L. Lomax
Succeeded by Paul Brandon Barringer
Personal details
Born (1841-01-01)January 1, 1841
Abbeville, South Carolina, U.S.
Died March 20, 1923(1923-03-20) (aged 82)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Alma mater University of Virginia
Military service
Allegiance  Confederate States of America
Service/branch  Confederate States Army

John McLaren McBryde (January 1, 1841 – March 20, 1923) was the fifth president of Virginia Tech, serving from July 1, 1891 to September 1, 1907. McBryde was born in Abbeville, South Carolina. He entered South Carolina College in 1858 at age 17 before going on to the University of Virginia. In 1861, he returned to Abbeville where he joined the Confederate Army.[1] McBryde was present at the opening bombardment of Fort Sumter, South Carolina. He later served as division chief of the Confederate War Tax Office in Richmond Virginia.

After the war until 1867, McBryde farmed in Buckingham County, Virginia until he moved to large farm near Charlottesville, Virginia. McBryde then went to teach at South Carolina College where he served as faculty chair and then as president from 1883–1891.[2] McBryde also served as assistant secretary of agriculture under President Grover Cleveland.

During McBryde's 16-year tenure as President of Virginia Agriculture and Mechanical College, the college expanded greatly. McByrde expanded the curriculum to include seven bachelor's degrees in Agriculture, Horticulture, Applied Chemistry, General Science, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering and founded a graduate department in 1891. The new curriculum no longer reflected the name of the college and in 1896 the Virginia General Assembly changed the college's name to Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute, shortened in popular usage to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and then to VPI. The new name also brought new colors, which still stand as Chicago maroon and burnt orange, a school motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), and a new college yell which prompted the nickname Hokies. McByrde's legacy caused him to be known as the "Father of the Modern VPI."[3] In 1907 upon retirement, McByrde was named first "President Emeritus" of Virginia Tech and also received Virginia Tech's first honorary degree (Doctor of Science). He died at age 82 on March 20, 1923, in New Orleans, Louisiana.[4]


  1. ^ Men of Mark in Virginia: Ideals of American Life; a Collection of Biographies of the Leading Men in the State, Volume 3 (Lyon Gardiner Tyler ed.). Men of Mark Publishing Company. 1907. p. 228. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  2. ^ Presidents of Virginia Tech: John McLaren McBryde
  3. ^ "The McByrde Years". Retrieved 30 May 2016. 
  4. ^ Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Historical Data Book: Centennial Edition, ed. Jenkins Mikell Robertson, Bulletin of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, vol. 65, no. 4, 69-70.