Fund raising campaign
By Larry Hincker
Spectrum Volume 21 Issue 08 - October 15, 1998
This past weekend brought to a close the most successful fund-raising campaign in university history. Under a translucent tent on the Drillfield Friday night, more than 500 alumni, faculty members and friends celebrated the completion of the Campaign for Virginia Tech.
With the last notes of "Tech Triumph" fading into the night and some 160 Pamplin scholars lining both sides of the tent, campaign co-chair Clifton Garvin opened the envelope containing the final campaign figure of $337,415,712. The closing amount surpassed the $250-million goal by 35 percent.
The campaign's performance also helped boost the level of private-gift income from an average of $30.8 million during the three-year period before the campaign's beginning, to an average of $42 million in its last three years, culminating in a record $48.9 million in fiscal year 1997-98.
Permanent endowment, an area that comprised one half of the overall goal, reached $170 million, bettering its $125-million goal by 36 percent. Funding for facilities and equipment went over its $35-million target by 23 percent, attracting $42.9 million in donor gifts and commitments. A portion of that funding is already at work, with campaign dollars financing the building of the 40,000-square-foot Merryman Athletic Center and private money accounting for half the construction cost of the Advanced Communications and Information Technology Center.
While about one third of the gift total is deferred, mostly in the form of wills and trust, the impact of the campaign is already being felt in the academic agenda. Nearly 1,000 new endowed accounts were established for scholarship, professorships, and program support. Endowment "payout" for scholarships and fellowships has increased by more than $2 million annually, rising from $5.5 million in 1992 to $7.6 million in 1997. The Virginia Tech Foundation endowment value increased from $148 million in fiscal-year 1991-92 to $331 million at the end of fiscal-year 1997-98, with the endowment total for scholarships at $154 million and for professorships at $54 million.
Under the leadership of vice president for Development and University Relations, Charles Steger, and campaign co-chairs, Garvin and retired Virginia Tech president Marshall Hahn, more than 71,600 donors contributed to the campaign. Nearly 1,000 donors made gifts of $25,000 or more; 59 contributed $1 million or more; and alumni provided 48 percent of the gift total.
A few examples of program impact from the fund-raising efforts follow:
A $500,000 gift from Joseph Ware established the Ware Advanced Engineering Laboratory in the College of Engineering to create a multi-disciplinary, hands-on learning facility that will greatly enhance engineering education.
Thanks to a $1-million gift from the Merryman family, along with gifts and commitments from scores of other donors, Virginia Tech now has the 40,000-square-foot Merryman Center, with a state-of-the-art weight room, an advanced speed and agility room, an expanded area for sports medicine and training, a Hokie sports museum, and a 130-seat auditorium.
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 $3.5-million gift from the R.B. Pamplin family creating the Pamplin Scholars program, which gives a $1,000 scholarship to a qualified graduating senior from every public high school in Virginia to attend Virginia Tech.
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.
Other examples include a $8.7 million bequest from Roanoke businessman and civic leader Horace Fralin establishing the Fralin Biotechnology Center and a bequest from Margaret Svoboda endowing Family and Consumer Sciences programs in Extension; a 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 university's European Studies Program.