Spectrum Logo
A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Impact of donor gifts measure of campaign success

By Charles Steger, vice president for

Development and University Relations

Spectrum Volume 21 Issue 05 - September 24, 1998

"Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship," Humphrey Bogart's character Rick said sardonically to Claude Rains's Inspector Renault in the final frame of the film classic Casablanca. Bogart's tongue-in-cheek dialogue aside, some real-life endings do foster "beautiful" beginnings. The Campaign for Virginia Tech is a perfect case in point.
In fact, the campaign's final results carry the makings for a number of fresh initiatives throughout the university, all of which are attributable to the uncommon generosity of donors. Here are a just few samplings of the campaign's broad impact:
Joseph Ware designed some of the world's most advanced aircraft during a 33-year career at Lockheed Corporation. Now, he's helping make it possible for some future engineering graduates to follow in his footsteps. Ware's $500,000 gift establishing the recently dedicated Joseph H. Ware Jr. Advanced Engineering Laboratory provides the College of Engineering with a multi-disciplinary, hands-on learning facility that will greatly enhance engineering education.
The W.M. Keck Foundation, a leading supporter of biomedical research, contributed $500,000 to the Fralin Biotechnology Center. The grant is being used to construct the Keck Facility for Transgenic Plant Analysis and to purchase sophisticated equipment for research that one day will yield such medical products as human enzymes, pharmaceuticals, and edible vaccines.
Grants totaling $450,000 from the Bell Atlantic Foundation and the Toyota USA Foundation are supporting the College of Human Resources and Education's Institute for Connecting Science Research to the Classroom in its on-going efforts to bring the benefits of technology to K-12 classrooms. The grants are funding initiatives designed to help administrators and teachers better understand, evaluate and use new technologies and to develop technology-based curriculum packages for middle- and high-school students.
A major gift from Carolyn and Tim Foreman, co-chairs of the Virginia Tech Parents Fund, will provide for an Enhanced Academic and Advising Center in the College of Arts and Sciences. The center, staffed by a professional counselor, will work closely with department advisors and the Office of Academic Excellence and Enrichment to improve the academic performance of and career potentials for many students.
Peggy and Bill Skelton established the Skelton Scholarship Awards for Excellence in Academics and Athletics that recognize student-athletes for academic performance, leadership, and character. Four Skelton scholarships have already been awarded
Of course, the list could go on and on. Other examples include bequests from Horace Fralin and Margaret Svoboda establishing the Fralin Biotechnology Center and endowing Family and Consumer Sciences programs in Extension, respectively; the unique educational experience afforded students by William Daughtrey as a result of his endowing the Daughtrey Scholars Program; and the scholarship established by friends of Lucy and Olivio Ferrari enabling students to participate in the European Studies Program.
All these--and many more--give testimony to the direct benefits resulting from our six-year effort. Overall, donor support of the campaign has increased endowment payout for scholarships and fellowships by more than $2 million annually; increased by 922 the number of endowed accounts opened by the foundation for scholarships, professorships, programs and other areas; and helped raise the value of Virginia Tech's endowment from $148 million in fiscal year 1991-92 to $329 million in fiscal year 1997-98.
It all adds up to a spectacular finish for the campaign and a beautiful beginning to the 21st century for Virginia Tech.