Virginia Tech has unveiled a permanent tribute to more than a dozen individuals, couples, or foundations in recognition of their transformative impact on the university.

Sixteen stones bearing the names of the university’s inaugural Foremost Benefactors are now inset in walls of the atrium of Virginia Tech’s iconic Burruss Hall.

More than 50 people, including many of the benefactors, gathered for a late afternoon tribute ceremony on Oct. 10. Virginia Tech is set to announce a comprehensive fundraising campaign the night of Oct. 11. President Sands alluded to that major upcoming event while thanking the Foremost Benefactors for their selfless, inspiring examples of service to Virginia Tech and the wider community.

“We are about to launch the fourth and most ambitious national campaign in the history of this university, and our vision for Virginia Tech must inspire and engage more Hokies than ever,” Sands said. “We are well positioned to succeed thanks to the foundation established by this group of exceptional individuals whom we recognize as our Foremost Benefactors for their unique contributions to our success.”

The tribute to the Foremost Benefactors is located on the two walls of the atrium that contain alcoves that until recently had been walled over to display computer monitors. Going forward, the university plans to honor any additional Foremost Benefactors by adding new names to the walls.

“Places like this can make you realize this university has stood the test of time for nearly 150 years — and that 150 years from now, Virginia Tech will still be here, preparing leaders for a world we cannot begin to imagine,” Charlie Phlegar, the university’s vice president for advancement, said at the Oct. 10 ceremony. “Virginia Tech would not be what it is today without the people whose names are now etched permanently into the walls of this special space. You have transformed this university for the better. Thank you.”