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Campaign reaches $200 million; regional efforts resume

By Terry McGuire

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 05 - September 26, 1996

The Campaign for Virginia Tech signaled the resumption of its regional road show by breaking through the $200-million level in early September.

As it moved into the last third of its climb towards $250 million, the campaign continued the strong momentum it has shown since its public launching in September of 1995, when the campaign total stood at $150 million.

By the close of fiscal year 1995-96-a scant nine months later-campaign gifts and commitments were at $192 million, an increase of $60 million from the end of fiscal year 1994-95.

Much of this momentum can be ascribed to the regional campaigns and to the volunteer leadership that has made them possible. Beginning this past March and continuing throughout the spring, eight regional kick-off events were held in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Georgia. Atlanta concluded the spring schedule on June 11. The summer months were devoted to evaluating these initial efforts and to planning for the fall and winter campaigns, which began in Northern Virginia (NOVA) and Maryland/D.C. on September 11 and 12, respectively.

And, if the kick-off for the NOVA regional is any indication, the months ahead hold the promise of continued success. Approximately 250 Virginia Tech supporters were on hand at the Fairview Park Marriott as NOVA Regional Chair Mary Virginia Jones and her 15-member committee presided over a busy event. The evening's proceedings followed the successful format established during the spring.

In addition to keynote remarks by President Paul Torgersen, the formal agenda included Senior Media Producer Karen Cronin and Alumni Distinguished Professor Tony Distler reprising their campaign kick-off presentation "Making A World of Difference" and Vice President for Development and University Relations Charles Steger emphasizing the campaign's importance to the university's near- and long-term future, particularly in the area of endowment. Steger also introduced two special guests: Rhodes Scholar Mark Embree, and the first Daughtrey Scholar, Rachel Hash, both of whom emphasized the critical role scholarships play in opening up the full and varied richness of a Virginia Tech education. Embree begins his studies at Oxford University next month. Hash, a starter for the women's soccer team, will spend the summer between her junior and senior year in Bolivia, thanks to a unique scholarship program endowed by Tech alumnus William Daughtrey.

In closing the program, Jones announced that the Campaign for Virginia Tech had topped $200 million, reported the NOVA regional total had reached $8 million-two-thirds of its $12-million goal. Jones recognized two contributors to that total, parents Elizabeth and William Montgomery of Reston, for establishing endowed scholarships in the names of each of their four children who had graduated from Virginia Tech.

The following evening, the campaign moved to the Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Maryland, where Donna Ward Solomon shared chair responsibilities with Tony Paige. With her father G.T. Ward, chairman of the committee for regional campaigns, in the audience, Solomon welcomed more than 60 alumni and friends to the kick-off of the Maryland/D.C. regional. In his remarks, Paige stressed how impressed he was with the progress of the overall campaign, stressing that continued success depended upon everyone's support. Paige also announced that considerable progress had been made at the local level. Gifts and commitments from the Maryland/D.C. region now total $2.4 million, which represents nearly 50 percent of the regional goal of $5 million.

"The NOVA and Maryland/D.C. campaigns are great examples of the strength of our volunteer chairs and their committees," said Martha O'Neill, director of regional campaigns. "The leadership skills of people such as Mary Virginia Jones, Donna Ward Solomon, and Tony Paige are invaluable assets in our regional fund-raising efforts."

In October, the regional campaigns move closer to home with kick-off events in the New River Valley on October 15, Lynchburg on October 16, and the Roanoke Valley on October 17. Then, in January, February, and March, the campaign travels to Florida, California, and Texas, respectively.