$1.5 million gift to expand horticulture garden

BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 27, 2004 – Blacksburg residents T. Marshall Hahn, president of Virginia Tech from 1962 to 1974, and his wife, Peggy, have jointly pledged a $1 million estate gift and $475,000 in start-up funds for expansion of the university’s horticulture garden.

The garden, located on Washington Street on Virginia Tech's campus, will officially become the Peggy Lee Hahn Horticulture Garden, honoring her for her outstanding service as Virginia Tech’s first lady during T. Marshall Hahn’s tenure as president and recognizing her enthusiasm for gardening. Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors approved the name change at its meeting on Aug. 22.

The gift will be used to build a multi-purpose special events and education center and help expand the garden from its 2.5 acres to include 4.4 additional acres of open land adjacent to the existing garden. Hill Studio of Roanoke will design the building, and construction is scheduled to begin January 2005. The Peggy Lee Hahn Garden Pavilion is scheduled for completion by the fall of 2005.

Margaret Louise "Peggy Lee" was born on a family dairy farm in Dinwiddie County, Virginia. She was one of seven children of Travis Taylor Lee, a dairy farmer and rural mail carrier, and Nolie Dillon Lee, who in 1965 was named Virginia’s Mother of the Year. Peggy Hahn is credited with invaluable support of T. Marshall Hahn’s presidency with her warm and friendly manner and extraordinary skills as a hostess. The Hahns hosted hundreds of lunches and dinners in their home for faculty, students, alumni, potential donors, and political leaders.

T. Marshall Hahn presided over many of the university’s most significant 20th century transformations. Dozens of new buildings were built and enrollment grew to more than 17,000 students. During the 12 years of his presidency, Virginia Tech was transformed from a small, primarily male, military college to a comprehensive, co-educational research university with a strong College of Arts and Sciences and expanded graduate and research programs.

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 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.