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Harvey Lee Price

Dean of Agriculture and head of Horticulture during his tenure at VPI, Harvey Price (1874-1951) was trained by W. B. Alwood. Price was a local boy who made good, living in Longshop, Virginia during his years at VPI.


Harvey Lee Price was educated (B.S., 1898, M.S., 1900) at Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (VAMC), later renamed as Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Agriculture Hall was built in 1907, and in 1949, named for Dr. Price. He was trained and served as an assistant entomologist and horticulturalist to William B. Alwood. Price was appointed as head of the horticulture department in 1903 when it was split off from Mycology and Entomology. Alwood continued as head of that department until he left VPI when A. W. Soule was appointed dean of the college of agriculture by President James McBryde in 1904. Price took over where Alwood left off, managing the orchard and landscaping around the Institute. Soule left in 1907 and Price was appointed administrator in 1908 and dean from 1920 until 1945.


J. G. Ferneyhough, State Veterinarian and a former fellow student with Price's at VPI, wrote an article in the Richmond Times Dispatch (Sunday, November 1, 1908) about Price. It is summarized as follows. "Harvey Price was born in Montgomery County, Virginia on March 18, 1874. He was the son of William Taylor Price and Maggie E. Hawley. He spent his childhood on his father's farm. He was educated in the public schools of the county. At age 16, his natural ability to teach was so marked that the teacher of the public school made him assistant teacher of mathematics. He worked on his father's farm for four years and at age 20 he entered Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He ranked near the top of his class and was very popular with the faculty and students. He graduated in agriculture with honors in 1898. In 1900, he was awarded a masters degree with highest honors. He was employed by William Bradford Alwood as his assistant in the horticulture, mycology and entomology department. He was very successful and was promoted to assistant instructor, assistant professor, and associate professor, respectively until his department was divided in 1903. At that time, Price was appointed head of the new department of horticulture. Professor continued as head of the new mycology and entomology department. Price served as head of the department until he was appointed dean in 1908."


"Professor Price was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a life member of both the Pomologic Society and the Virginia State Horticultural Society. Price was described as one of the VPI boys, a self-made man, a hard worker, native Virginian, quiet and unassuming. He had high regard and love of every student. Reflecting the era of time in which he lived, one student described Price as follows. "He'll give you a straight deal. He was the whitest man here."  It took many years of change from that era for the institution to admit women and minorities. But regardless of the unfortunate mindset of the day, like his mentor, Professor Alwood, Harvey Price guided the agriculture college to its future of greatness in academia.


Harvey Lee Price died in 1951.


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