What's in the Backpack?
From Leslie S King
As you climb up the stairs to the Upper Quad on the Blacksburg campus, you will come upon William Addison Caldwell, or rather Lawrence Bechtel’s sculpture of him. As you move past this bronze tribute to the first student to enroll at Virginia Tech, maybe you notice his haversack. As you see this precursor to the modern backpack, maybe you wonder what is in it. In honor of Caldwell’s 150th anniversary of traveling from Sinking Creek, Virginia, to Blacksburg, Bechtel is sharing what he envisioned in the haversack, and what he used to give the sculpture depth. Bechtel ’85 has been both an English instructor and the first recycling coordinator for the university, but besides being a sculptor, he is also a writer. In this creative non-fiction telling, Bechtel reminds us that Caldwell was not so different from today’s students.