Virginia Tech alumni, fans help Hokie Club hit record numbers

BLACKSBURG – The Hokie Club called, and Hokie Nation answered.

Thanks to the generous support of Virginia Tech alumni and fans, the Hokie Club has hit multiple all-time records in terms of total giving, unrestricted annual (scholarship) giving and total number of donors.

Overall giving to the Hokie Club approached $33 million based on the most recent benefit giving cycle that concluded March 31. The Hokie Club had never previously exceeded $30 million in total giving until this year. Of that record $33 million total, approximately $16.2 million was designated to the Hokie Scholarship Fund to be utilized specifically for scholarships for deserving student-athletes, a dramatic 65 percent increase in giving from last’s year’s $9.8 million total.

Formally known as the Virginia Tech Athletic Fund, the Hokie Club was founded in 1949 with the expressed purpose of funding all scholarships for Virginia Tech student-athletes.

In recent years, unrestricted annual fund gifts to the Hokie Club were not keeping pace with the escalating costs to provide scholarships. While the cost of student-athlete scholarships has increased 62 percent since the 2009-10 academic year, private giving specifically for scholarships actually decreased 22 percent over that same time period. That trend was reversed in a record way this year thanks in large part to a restructured scholarship seating and priority parking program, as well as “The Drive for 25” campaign spearheaded by former head football coach Frank Beamer.

“The Hokie Club has achieved an all-time record of more than 13,000 members,” Beamer said. “While those numbers are extremely encouraging – and I want to personally thank them for doing their part – we cannot stop now. The objective of reaching 25,000 Hokie Club members remains unchanged. We have plenty of momentum and plenty of room for others in the Hokie Nation to get on board. Let’s ‘Drive For 25.’ We need your help.

“As we all know, Virginia Tech is at its best when we’re all pulling together in the same direction,” Beamer continued. “There is strength in numbers. Compared to other top programs in the nation, we don’t have enough folks on board as annual donors. This is a tremendous opportunity for fans and alumni to demonstrate their love for the Hokies by making a gift and making a difference in the lives of our students and student-athletes for generations to come.”

“On behalf of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, I also want to thank our donors and alumni who have stepped up to this challenge and seen it as a transformational opportunity,” Director of Athletics Whit Babcock said. “I want to personally thank those who believed in our vision and wanted to play an integral part in our success; who invested and wanted to directly elevate our program within the ACC and on a national stage. They are playing a huge role in our success and continued momentum. We are sincerely grateful. We will continue to work hard, every day, to represent them well and make them proud.”

“We’ve been encouraged and energized by the way our alumni and fans have embraced our new giving model and restructured program,” Hokie Club Executive Director Bill Lansden added. “I’m thankful for the efforts of our Hokie Club staff and donors, along with the ticket office and the external team at Tech who have helped educate our fans and explain how these new initiatives impact them and benefit our student-athletes. We’re off to a great start, but to sustain competitive athletics programs at Virginia Tech, we definitely need to maintain it and ask even more Hokies to lend their support. Now is the time to get in the game.”

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