New president installed at Tech, which remains state’s largest public school

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Timothy Sands became president of Virginia Tech in June.
Photo by Michael Kiernan, courtesy Virginia Tech

Virginia’s public colleges and universities — often counted the commonwealth’s greatest assets — enrolled nearly 400,000 students last fall, a slight decline from fall 2013.

The number of full-time students stayed steady at most of the commonwealth’s four-year institutions but showed a drop at Norfolk State and Virginia State universities, both of which are historically black colleges.

Last year saw the changing of the guard at Virginia Tech, the commonwealth’s largest public university in terms of full-time students with more than 28,500 enrolled in the fall. (Liberty University in Lynchburg, a private school, had the highest number students among all colleges with a full-time enrollment more than 38,000.)

Steger was succeeded in June by Timothy Sands, who previously was executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at Purdue University in Indiana.
The University of Virginia meanwhile was convulsed by the death of freshman Hannah Graham and the publication of a story in Rolling Stone depicting a gang rape at a U.Va. fraternity party in 2012.

The man charged with first degree murder and abduction with intent to defile in Graham’s case, Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., also has been charged with the 2005 rape and attempted murder of a woman in Fairfax County.

The Rolling Stone rape account ignited a firestorm of protest and led to the suspension of fraternity activities on campus before criticism of the errors in the story forced the magazine to back away from the article and issue an apology.

Northern Virginia Community College remains by far the commonwealth’s largest community college with more than 51,000 students, of whom nearly 33,000 attend part time.

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