August 28, 2014
Union to endow university professor through innovative athletics partnership

BLACKSBURG – Union First Market Bank, a Richmond, Virginia-based bank, and Virginia Tech, the state’s largest land-grant institution, have entered into an innovative multi-year partnership that includes a sponsorship of Hokie athletics along with a university gift and a faculty endowment.

For Union, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s largest community banking organization, the new agreement represents its largest ever commitment to the University as the bank embarks on its first athletics sponsorship to connect with Virginia Tech fans.

The Union Junior Faculty Fellowship in Entrepreneurship represents the focal point of Union’s philanthropic gift to Virginia Tech. The Fellow will be part of the acclaimed Pamplin College of Business and will teach courses, execute research and engage the community around entrepreneurship to accelerate business development throughout the Commonwealth.

Additionally, Union will collaborate with Virginia Tech’s recently realized Center for Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship to advance the next generation of business leadership through an “Innovation through Entrepreneurship” business plan competition. Furthering the innovative synergy of this partnership, the “Innovation through Entrepreneurship” competition will be promoted through Virginia Tech Athletics platforms, providing unique recognition for Union and some of the brightest business minds in the community.

The athletics sponsorship, brokered by IMG, the university’s multimedia rights partner, positions Union as the first partner to secure a presenting sponsorship of a gate and concourse plaza in 65,000-seat Lane Stadium. Additionally, the banking organization will serve as Presenting Sponsor of the Union Halftime Show during all Virginia Tech football & men’s basketball radio broadcasts on the Virginia Tech IMG Sports Network.

“Union is excited about this unique partnership,” said Billy Beale, Chief Executive Officer of Union First Market Bank. “Combining an athletic sponsorship with an academic partnership is a first for Union. As the largest community bank headquartered in Virginia, we understand the importance of entrepreneurship to the Virginia economy and believe this partnership will build the skills necessary to successfully start new ventures in the Commonwealth. Union is committed to improving financial literacy and building financial acumen to empower the next generation to create new jobs and make sound financial decisions.”

“Through this unique partnership, Union is directly supporting Virginia Tech Athletics, our faculty, and our students,” said Whit Babcock, Virginia Tech Director of Athletics. “This is a progressive athletics and University partnership model that demonstrates the positive impact a collaborative approach can have on Virginia Tech and our community.”

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