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Former G-P CEO, Virginia Tech President T. Marshall Hahn Dies at 89

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T. Marshall Hahn Jr., former president and CEO of Georgia-Pacific (Atlanta, Ga., USA) CEO and Virginia Tech University president, died recently (May 29) at the age of 89 at his home outside of Blacksburg, Va.  A physicist by training, Dr. Hahn assumed the presidency of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, as it was then known, in 1962. 

Dr. Hahn left the university in 1974 and became an executive vice president at Georgia-Pacific. He later became president and CEO of G-P, positions he served until retirement in 1993. 

In his more than 12 years as president of Virginia Tech, Dr. Hahn created 30 new undergraduate majors, among them art, history, philosophy, sociology, psychology, and management; added some 20 graduate programs; and established the colleges of arts and sciences, architecture, and education. He also oversaw the construction of more than two dozen campus buildings.

In 1970, the college was awarded full university status, becoming Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, its formal name to this day. In a move that reportedly incensed many alumni donors, Dr. Hahn eliminated compulsory cadet service in 1964. That year he also severed ties with Radford College and began admitting women to the regular student body.

By the time Dr. Hahn left the presidency in 1974, Virginia Tech’s enrollment had nearly tripled, to 17,400. Today, its student body comprises roughly 17,000 men and 13,000 women. 

By the time he was 18, Dr. Hahn had earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Kentucky. At 23, after two years’ naval service, he received a doctorate in the field from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the Virginia Polytechnic physics faculty in 1954, becoming the department chairman. He left in 1959 to take a post as dean of arts and sciences at what is now Kansas State University, before returning in 1962 to become, at 35, Virginia Polytechnic’s 11th president.


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