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Virginia Tech’s new Holden Hall is anything but boring VTx

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Virginia Tech’s new Holden Hall is anything but boring  VTx

Many who were in the re-dedication audience have long ties to the building. Named for Virginia geologist Roy Jay Holden, it opened in 1940. Holden’s grandson, John Rocovich Jr. — former rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors and a longtime supporter of the College of Engineering — attended with his wife, Sue Ellen.

Also in the audience was Eric Lucas, who grew up in and around the old Holden Hall because his father, Richard “Dick” Lucas, was department head there in the 1960s. Lucas recalled that he was 6 years old when he first visited the building.

“In those days, it really had just four rooms and a lab,” Lucas said.

After more than one expansion and remodel, Lucas stepped into the new Holden for the first time during the re-dedication. He said many people have asked him how his father would feel about this latest renovation.

“He would love it,” Lucas said.

Current students love it, too. Mining undergraduate Jordan Gillis said she appreciates how fresh and new the classrooms and the building feel. But more than that, the new facilities are helping students build community after the isolation of the coronavirus pandemic and years spread across campus during construction.

“I’ve gotten closer to my class, even just in the first week this semester,” Gillis said.

Logistically, it’s a big improvement, too.

“Last year, the juniors and seniors had to carpool to the [off-campus] Plantation Road lab,” she said. “Not everyone has cars, and it just wasn’t convenient. It’s nice having everyone together.”

Mining senior and president of the student-led Burkhart Mining Society, Meredith Olaya-Ramos also praised the sense of community fostered by the new facility, and she noted the important role of donors in creating that solidarity.

“I and the rest of the students cannot thank the donors enough for their generosity in helping open this new building,” Olaya-Ramos said. “This would not have been possible without the donors.”

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