Addison Caldwell

Walking Toward the Light


Addison Caldwell, first student to attend Virginia Tech

Addison Caldwell, the first student to attend Virginia Tech, then known as “Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College.”


Addison Caldwell, Virginia Tech's first student, sculpture by Lawrence Bechtel, Medium: Bronze, unveiled October 20, 2005

Dimensions: Lifesize

Commissioned by: 

Commission Year:

Exhibition/Location:  Upper Quad, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg Virginia

Artist’s Comments:

In October, 1872, ‘Add’ Caldwell and his brother Milton hiked 28 miles over the mountains to enroll at Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College in Blacksburg. Add, quicker, arrived first and is remembered as the first student of Virginia Tech. “The story has the rustic quality of folklore,” says Lawrence, “and is wonderfully symbolic.”

The portrait bust / head study (below-left) is based on Caldwell’s Corps of Cadets photograph.