Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the official facts and figures for Virginia Tech’s first Giving Day.
The Hokie nation celebrated a historic milestone last month, kicking off a new annual tradition of giving to Virginia Tech.
Thousands of donors rallied to support the university on its first ever Giving Day, which began at noon on March 20 and ended at noon on March 21.
Virginia Tech received 5,283 gifts, both online and through other avenues, for a total of $1.62 million during the 24-hour online fundraising challenge. Participants made gifts ranging from $5 to $100,000, supporting 335 different areas of the university.
A total of 4,313 people made gifts on Giving Day and 1,429 were first-time donors. Of all participants, 2,799 were Virginia Tech alumni and 322 were students. More donors came from the Class of 2014 than any other.
“Virginia Tech’s first Giving Day was a tremendous success, and we are grateful for the generosity of thousands of Hokies who supported this important tradition,” said Charlie Phlegar, vice president for advancement at Virginia Tech. “When you give, you make a direct impact on the university’s future. We hope Giving Day continues to support a new era of philanthropy at Virginia Tech.”
Giving Day 2019 is planned for March 19, beginning at noon and ending at noon on March 20.
There were dozens of challenge and match gift donors for the 24-hour period. They included Nancy Dye, who matched gifts of $25 or more to the Corps of Cadets, up to $1,063, a figure that equals the total number of cadets in the corps this past fall. In all, 189 gifts went to the Corps of Cadets Commandant's Priorities Annual Fund.
“I have the utmost respect for Gen. Randal Fullhart and the work that he does with the cadets, and a respect for the cadets for unselfishly being a part of something larger than themselves,” said Dye, who served on Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors from 2012 to 2016.
Dye also supports the Corps of Cadets because her son is an officer in the U.S. Army.
“We are very patriotic,” she said. “We are a military family. Certainly, Ut Prosim is what our family has always tried to embrace in our own lives.”
Virginia Tech's motto is Ut Prosim, Latin for That I May Serve.
Hokies in Blacksburg, across the country, and around the world supported Giving Day. They hailed from 48 states and nine countries, with the majority from Virginia. Donors' ages ranged from 20 to 93.
Susan Gill, Virginia Tech's director of new media, oversaw the campus-wide project, while PRISM, a student marketing and creative agency at the university, designed promotional materials.
Several students who are part of the iSupport Virginia Tech Student Giving Campaign manned tables on campus on March 19 and March 20 to spread the word about Giving Day. They asked passing students to spin a wheel to answer questions about philanthropy at Virginia Tech, and they gave away Giving Day T-shirts, candy, and stickers.
Billy Lin, a Virginia Tech junior and a member of iSupport, has seen the benefit of philanthropy — it helped to fund much of his college education. Lin, a business information technology major, has received numerous scholarships while at Virginia Tech, along with financial aid.
“I know how important it [giving] is,” he said.
Also, to encourage student participation, members of the Senior Class Gift Campaign asked Hokie seniors to make a gift for Giving Day that also would count as their class gift. For the class gift and for Giving Day, students gave to specific areas of the university that are important to them.
“Since it’s so personalized, people are excited about giving their gifts,” said Dana Mouritzen, a Virginia Tech senior and chair of the Senior Class Gift Campaign. “I love giving back to something that means so much to me and that I can see grow.”
LaTron Brown, president of the Roanoke Valley chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, was one of about 200 ambassadors who helped promote Giving Day. Brown even hosted a happy hour event for alumni on March 20 at Starr Hill Pilot Brewery & Side Stage in Roanoke, complete with laptops available for accessing the fundraising challenge website.
“Something I always say is ‘I did not spend four years at the university to just disappear,’” said Brown, a 2008 Virginia Tech graduate who lives in Salem, Virginia. “So much of the knowledge and skills that we use in our professional lives began at Virginia Tech. I want students to know that alumni are supporting them by giving back and affording them the opportunities that even I was able to partake. Many things are possible when alumni band together and give back.”
After all, giving back is essential to who Hokies are, Phlegar said.
“In the spirit of our university motto, That I May Serve, we hope that Giving Day will continue to engage our community each year,” he said.
Written by Jenny Kincaid Boone
Photos by Olivia Coleman
Video by J. Scott Parker