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Gifts total $11.5 million

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 6 - September 29, 1994

Alumni have made Virginia Tech the beneficiary of two major gifts totalling $11.5 million.

Business graduate Robert B. Pamplin Sr. and his son Robert B. Pamplin Jr. have made a $3.5-million contribution to the university's Pamplin College of Business.

An anonymous gift of about $8 million will come to the university from the estate of a deceased alumnus. It will be used initially to support Virginia Tech's growing strength in biotechnology research and to nurture the teaching of biology at the high school level. The gift will also help finance the development and implementation of new executive-training and business-leadership programs.

The gift from the Pamplins, who own the R. B. Pamplin Corporation in Portland, Ore., is yet another example of their impressive philanthropic support of the university and of the college which bears their name. With their recent commitment, the Pamplins have given more than $22 million to Virginia Tech, $20 million of which has been directed towards the Pamplin College of Business. The latest gift will be used to provide scholarship assistance to deserving students, including merit-based scholarships for incoming freshman, support new professorships, and supplement five existing professorships endowed by the Pamplins.

"I hope I do no sound like a broken record in underscoring what the Pamplins have mean to this university," President Paul E. Torgersen said, "since there have been so many occasions through the years to express our gratitude. They have not only been financially generous to Virginia Tech but they have been generous with their time and energy as well."

A portion of the anonymous $8-million gift will go towards capital support and the purchase of equipment for Virginia Tech's Biotechnology Center, a facility which is pursuing research in the areas of human and animal health and agricultural productivity. An additional beneficiary will be the center's outreach program aimed at providing high-school biology teachers with the instructional tools and equipment required to help teach the subject at advanced levels.

"The gift will have a ripple effect on the program," Tracy Wilkins, director of the Biotechnology Center, said. "We have already asked teachers what they need to better teach biology, now we can provide those resources and help mentor promising students on a much broader scale throughout the state."

Torgersen said the size and scope of the gift will allow Virginia Tech to move ahead on a number of important programs and projects. "While the family wishes the gift to remain anonymous," he said, "its future impact on Virginia Tech, our students and our faculty will be anything but nameless."