Hokie Alumni Generosity Hits New High

More than five years ago, Virginia Tech set an ambitious challenge before its alumni community. Hokie Nation has answered the call.

In his 2016 State of the University address, Virginia Tech President Tim Sands stated the goal to grow alumni giving participation from 9 percent to 22 percent by the university’s 150th anniversary year, 2022.

Thanks to the dedication and generosity of Hokie alumni in all 50 states and dozens of countries, the community reached the 22 percent milestone for undergraduate alumni giving on Monday, June 6, more than doubling the participation rate from the end of the 2015-16 fiscal year.

“Together, Hokie Nation has done something remarkable that will shape our university for decades to come,” Sands said. “Thank you to all Hokies who stepped up to make our university stronger. Philanthropy helps us attract and retain top faculty and staff, who teach and inspire our students and conduct research aimed at improving the human condition. This support from our generous alumni will also help ensure that a Virginia Tech education is affordable and accessible.”

Virginia Tech’s annual Giving Day played a key role in making this achievement possible. In fewer than 48 hours, more than 15,700 alumni and other supporters made gifts to hundreds of funds spread throughout all of the university’s colleges, units, and programs.

Other important occasions for Hokie engagement included the return of limited-edition, student-designed Hokie socks for donors who gave during Virginia Tech’s award-winning Giving Tuesday campaign, a unique effort to integrate philanthropy into alumni events, a passionate group of students spreading the word to their peers about the importance of the Senior Class Gift, and a record-breaking show of support for Hokie Athletics’ Drive for 25 campaign.

Students write notes to donors during this year’s Thank-a-Donor Day. Photo by Lee Friesland for Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech’s effort to reach 22 percent alumni giving participation received an enthusiastic and generous response from all parts of the Hokie community, from students and recent graduates to college and department leadership.

“We’re so proud to help the university achieve this important milestone for undergraduate alumni giving in what has already been a record-breaking year for philanthropy at Virginia Tech,” said Julia M. Ross, the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Dean of Engineering. “Where we are today is the result of the entire Hokie Nation coming together in support of a common purpose. From the efforts of our colleges and units to the unmatched generosity of our alumni, we’re all committed to making a deep and lasting impact for our communities here in Virginia and beyond. We’re incredibly grateful and excited to see where we can go from here.”

The giving participation achievement is the culmination of years of sustained coordination across the university. But reaching this milestone does not mean that the work of engaging the Hokie community in giving back has ended.

“Reaching 22 percent undergraduate alumni giving participation is something we set out to do not only because of the immediate impact the community’s support makes for our students in the present,” said Ann Bolton, Virginia Tech’s director of annual giving. “This effort has also helped us develop a lasting culture of giving back among our worldwide community of alumni.”

Senior Associate Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Advancement Rhonda Arsenault said, “The president’s vision was bold and, quite honestly, extremely ambitious. But, collectively, the Advancement Division and the Hokie Nation aligned and worked together to pull it off. The president’s vision of the advancement model made it possible for us to collaborate across the university to achieve this unprecedented growth, which will have lasting impact on Virginia Tech.”

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