Virginia Tech supporters stepped forward like never before in a year that saw the university launch its most ambitious fundraising campaign ever, but also experience unprecedented disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than $185.4 million in new gifts and commitments were made during the 2019-20 fiscal year, which ended June 30. The previous record was $181.9 million, provided in 2018-19.

The university received nearly $172.7 million in cash through donations during the past fiscal year, topping the previous record of $134.4 million provided in 2017-18.

“Hokie Nation is remarkable,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “This record-setting show of support is especially uplifting as we welcome students to one of the most atypical fall semesters we have ever experienced. To all who gave, thank you. Your steadfast generosity makes it possible for us to change lives and communities through research and education.”

In October, the university announced Boundless Impact: The Campaign for Virginia Tech, with a goal to raise $1.5 billion and engage 100,000 Hokies by 2027. The campaign’s fundraising progress was $657.2 million as of June 30. As of that date, 51,913 people had participated in the campaign by engaging with the university in various ways, such as volunteering, attending an event, or making a gift.

“Launching Boundless Impact generated a tremendous sense of excitement and momentum as our alumni and friends got behind a bold vision that’s driving Virginia Tech to new levels of achievement,” said Charlie Phlegar, the university’s vice president for advancement. “The way that momentum carried on even after the pandemic emerged this spring was incredible. COVID-19 changed how we were able to connect as Hokies by keeping us apart, physically. But it did not keep our alumni and friends from showing their support for Virginia Tech. We are extremely grateful to all of them.”

Despite the pandemic’s impact on the economy during the latter third of the fiscal year, the total number of Virginia Tech donors — which includes individuals, corporations, and foundations — increased by more than 14 percent, to 41,524.

An increase in the number of alumni who gave was even more pronounced — up nearly 22 percent, to 27,775. As a result, the university’s alumni giving percentage, a key factor in many college rankings, increased from 13 percent to 15 percent.

For a second straight year, more than $1 million was given in support of the Beyond Boundaries Scholars program, for which the university matches gifts dollar-for-dollar to double their impact. As a result, the program will help 331 students in the 2020-21 academic year.

Every member of the university’s Board of Visitors gave, as did all members of the Boundless Impact Campaign Steering Committee, Alumni Association Board of Directors, President’s Council of senior leaders at Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech Foundation Board, and many other leadership boards across the university.

“To see Hokies give at record levels at a time like this shows how much the Ut Prosim spirit of service and helping others characterizes our worldwide university community,” said Brandon Perry ’91, a generous supporter of the Beyond Boundaries Scholars program who also serves on the campaign steering committee and the foundation board.

“No matter how far away we live, giving back to Virginia Tech is a powerful way to stay connected to a place that will always feel like home — and a university that has done so much to shape our lives,” said Elizabeth Lazor ’15, a campaign steering committee member who lives in Palo Alto, California.

More than 8,300 people made their first gift to Virginia Tech. Nearly 2,000 students made gifts, including more than 1,000 members of the Class of 2020.

“It was definitely a very interesting time this past year,” said Neha Shah ’20, who co-chaired the Senior Class Gift Campaign. “It was a great year overall, being able to take our senior year in stride and make the most of it by trying to give back to Virginia Tech and to stay thankful for all that we had experienced. We really wanted to give back and make it apparent how much Virginia Tech had meant to us, and to find ways that we could improve it and make it better for the future. I’m grateful to have a community like Virginia Tech, where all the students and alumni are so willing to give back.”