Virginia Tech - a sprawling complex of over 100 buildings on 2,600 acres - has now become synonymous with a murderous gun rampage.
Virginia Tech students paying their respects
Like other US universities it has its own police department, with 40 full-time officers.
A look at the "important campus safety bulletin" still showing on the Virginia Tech Police Department website highlights the enormous contrast between its current investigation and its run-of-the-mill troubles.
"During the Christmas break, officers reported several instances of individuals tampering with bicycle racks, and two arrests were made in relation to larceny of bicycles."
Its campus crime figures, published for 2003 to 2005, show there were no murders or manslaughter cases and only two robberies.
However, among this month's crime log - along with reports of vandalism and drunkenness - a "bomb threat" is recorded for 3 April.
In 2005, there were six arrests for weapons violations.
The university police department has 40 officers
Students are told that "unauthorized possession, storage, or control of firearms and weapons on university property is prohibited."
But the regulations say that firearms can be stored with the university police and can be "checked out for use off-campus".
The student regulations also say that "exceptions to possessing weapons may be made in the case of university functions or activities and for educational exhibitions or displays".
Virginia Tech - the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University - is a technology-friendly, public university, not far from the Blue Ridge Mountains, which has grown from a 19th-Century agricultural college.
There are more than 25,000 full-time students - and the university, with an operating budget of $900m (£450m) per year, has its own corporate research centre on an adjacent site, employing 1,900 people.
The university specialises in research in areas such as biotechnology, agriculture and engineering. Projects have included the cloning of pigs.
The undergraduate intake is dominated by local students from Virginia - with only 457 international students.
Less than 5% of those at the university are black. The first black woman graduated from this once racially-segregated university in 1968.
Virginia Tech is also distinctive in having a military college within the university - the corps of cadets - whose 700 members are allowed to wear military uniform on campus.