Spectrum - Volume 18 Issue 05 September 21, 1995 - University announces $250-millon campaign

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

University announces $250-millon campaign

By David Nutter

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 05 - September 21, 1995

Virginia Tech, under the leadership of alumnus Clifton C. Garvin and former university President T. Marshall Hahn, unveiled Saturday night the university's $250-million private fundraising drive, The Campaign for Virginia Tech.

In announcing the public phase of the six-year-long development effort, President Paul E. Torgersen disclosed that the university has received gift commitments totaling $150.2 million or 60 percent of its campaign goal.

Torgersen said that T. Marshall Hahn and Clif Garvin will co-chair the national campaign committee charged with giving leadership to the campaign. Hahn, the retired chairman of the board of Georgia-Pacific Corporation, served as president of Virginia Tech from 1962-1974. Garvin, the retired chairman of the board of Exxon Corporation, serves as rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

"These two outstanding public servants will give direction to the hundreds of alumni volunteers across Virginia and the nation that will make this campaign a success. They are the backbone of the campaign," said the president.

"The Campaign for Virginia Tech marks a milestone in the history of the university," said President Torgersen. "While Virginia Tech is a public university, it is private philanthropy that provides the margin of excellence that lifts up Virginia Tech into the top ranks of national universities."

Torgersen laid out the objectives of the campaign. Of the $125 million, $60 million is earmarked for student support; $25 million is set aside for faculty support; $30 million is targeted for library acquisitions and other program support; and $10 million is budgeted for unrestricted purposes.

The campaign has also targeted $35 million for facilities, equipment, and campus beautification; $30 million for research support; and $60 million for critically needed current operations.

"When the Campaign for Virginia Tech is over, the university will be academically stronger, we will have better facilities, and we will have built an atmosphere more conducive to learning," Torgersen said.

"First and foremost, more funds will be available to help bright, highly motivated students achieve a college degree, an opportunity that could be beyond their reach without private philanthropy.

"There will be new buildings on campus. The Campaign for Virginia Tech will enable us to equip the new engineering building now under construction since state funding does not cover the entire cost.

Private support will help us leverage state and federal funding to build the new Advanced Communications and Information Technology Center. And undergraduate students will be able to broaden their educational experiences by studying at the university's European Studies Center in Switzerland."

Charles Steger, vice president for Development and University Relations, said that half of the campaign's goal-$125 million-will be invested in the permanent endowment of the university.

With the completion of the campaign, the university's endowment will rise to well over $300 million. Virginia Tech's endowment ranks 29th among public universities and 123rd among all U.S. universities. Tech's endowment per student grew from $2,040 in 1985 to $6,814 in 1994, an increase of 333 percent.

Torgersen also praised the gift from the estate of Horace Fralin, a prominent Roanoke business and civic leader who died in 1993. Fralin bequeathed $8.4 million from his estate to the university. A major portion of this gift will go toward supporting biotechnology research and education programs and capital support of the Horace Fralin Biotechnology Center, which is now open.

The Biotechnology Center is pursuing research in the areas of human and animal health and agricultural productivity.

An additional beneficiary is the center's outreach program aimed at providing high-school biology teachers with the instructional tools and equipment required to help teach at advanced levels.