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May 9, 2011

Supporting Virgina Tech Athletics Since 1949

By: Brian Thornburg

Celebrating Hokie Seniors

With graduation fast approaching and the spring sports season winding down, seniors were honored for their time spent as committed student-athletes. Here, three 2010-2011 men’s tennis seniors were presented with a gift to show appreciation for all their hard work and dedication to the program.

“I have had the greatest experience of my life here at Virginia Tech. I have enjoyed your support. My teammates and I have had the best education I could have gotten.”

Pedro Graber - Senior - Men’s Tennis

“My experience at Virginia Tech has been truly amazing. I am so blessed to have the Hokie Club to support my four years here. Thank you for all of your help!”

Holly Johnson - Senior - Women’s Tennis

Donor File

Current Hokie Club level:
Golden Hokie

Hokie Club member since:
“Since it started”

Currently resides:
Retired to Roanoke, Va., after living in Boones Mill, Va., all his life.

Wife - Jeanne Hall Bernard
Daughter - Carolyn Bernard Hornick
Sons - Stephen, Gordon and Philip (Class of 1982)

Graduation year:
1941, Corp of Cadets, Captain S Battery.
(My wife, Jeanne, graduated from Duke in 1943.)

Being a member of the Hokie Club and supporting Virginia Tech athletics is important to me because …
The Hokie Club has enabled us to keep in close touch with our old friends and has given us the opportunity to meet many new friends who have similar interests. I have been a Hokie Rep for many years, and in addition to keeping in contact with the members on my roster, it has enabled me to work with the Tech alumni staff, many of whom remain good friends.

What makes the Franklin County Hokie Club such a great community for the Hokies?
Franklin County is a large agricultural region and is also known as “The Land Between the Lakes.” Our Hokie Club has sponsored many scholarships to deserving county high school students. Our meetings, socials and golf outings, and our great bus trips are well publicized and we have great attendance. Many new people have moved to Smith Mountain Lake and we have gained new Hokies from that area. One of their community civic clubs also offers student scholarships for Tech students. Our unofficial motto is probably “if you’re not a Hokie, we can make you one!” (Note: Johnny served as president of the Franklin County Hokie Club.)

Do you have a specific moment when you realized that you were a fan of Virginia Tech athletics and knew without a doubt that you were a Hokie?
When I used to go to Roanoke to see the VPI vs. VMI games. My parents gave me $2 for the ticket and the cost had gone up to $2.50, so I sat next to the elevated railroad tracks nearby and watched the game.

Virginia Tech athletics has undertaken tremendous facilities growth and renovations. Do you have a favorite project?
Lane Stadium and all the improvements. But we chose to stay in our same seats that we have had since the stadium opened.

My all-time favorite Virginia Tech student-athletes are ...
Michael Vick - My favorite memory of Vick is his long run to set up a field goal to beat West Virginia in Morgantown at the last moment. Bruce Smith - He was an outstanding college player and it was evident he would go far in professional football. Bobby Stevens - My favorite memory of Stevens is when his last shot of the game defeated Notre Dame to win the NIT. (My wife recalls me actually jumping up in the chair I was sitting in and yelling and jumping up and down. I was SO excited!)

Interesting Hokie fact …
“Johnny is a proud member of the German Club and still supports its goals. He has been a member of the Old Guard for 20 years and has served as president and secretary. Regrettably, his health will prevent him for attending his 70th class reunion this year. We have ordered season tickets for fall of 2011 in hopes that we can attend a couple of games. If not, we can give them to our children or our good friend, George, and hope for televised games. If not, we always enjoy the radio broadcasts with our all-time favorite, “The Voice of the Hokies”, Bill Roth. The Hokies will always be part of our lives.” – Jeanne Hall Bernard

The Annual Fund

Keys to understanding its role in the importance of Virginia Tech athletics

The Hokie Club has seven annual giving levels. Membership for annual giving levels is for 12 months. All annual giving levels must be renewed to remain ACTIVE and to obtain benefits.

Hokie Club • $100-249
Orange & Maroon Hokie • $250-499
Bronze Hokie • $500-999
Silver Hokie • $1,000-1,999
Golden Hokie • $2,000-4,999
Platinum Hokie • $5,000-9,999
Diamond Hokie • $10,000 & up

The Annual Fund is a critical piece to the fundraising efforts of the Hokie Club. Approximately 90 percent of the 11,100 members give at one of the seven Annual Giving levels. The Annual Fund is the key to the growth and success that the Hokie Club has achieved. As Lu Merritt, Director of Development for Intercollegiate Athletics said recently, “The Annual Fund truly is the lifeblood of the Hokie Club. Without the majority of our members contributing each year, we would not be able to generate the needed funds to provide scholarships for our student-athletes.”

How can I get involved in the Hokie Club’s Annual Giving Efforts?

There are many ways to give:
(1) outright gifts including gifts of cash, real estate, securities, and gifts in kind.
(2) deferred giving including bequests, life income gifts, charitable lead trusts, retirement account gifts, life insurance gifts, and retained life gifts
(3) datching gifts from your employer (Please check with your Human Resources staff to see if your company matches gifts to athletics.)
(4) online giving using your credit card via

Upgrading your membership helps everyone

Benefits for all Hokie Club members are based on the Hokie Club Point Priority System. This system uses a formula to rank all Hokie Club members as seen on the Point Priority Guidelines sheet each member received in February. Your rank is based on points earned for your:
(1) current gift
(2) cumulative giving
(3) years of continuous membership
(4) volunteer involvement points
(5) tickets purchased through the Virginia Tech Athletics Ticket Office.
So, upgrading your membership not only increases the support you are giving to our 500+ student-athletes, but it also improves your Hokie Club rank and the benefits associated with your membership.

Finding new members is not only reserved for Hokie Reps

Since its inception in 1986, the Hokie Rep program provided the Hokie Club with a volunteer base that has helped to spread the word on Virginia Tech athletics, and as a result, has generated more money and new members to the Hokie Club. However, we are always looking for new members. Anyone can spread the word about the Hokie Club, not just Hokie Reps. Take a moment to think about your friends. Are they Hokies? Do they love Virginia Tech athletics? Are they Hokie Club members? If they aren’t members, take a moment to tell them about the Hokie Club and encourage them to join us. What better cause can there be than to support Virginia Tech’s studentathletes!

Don’t wait until December, renew on your Anniversary month

If you are a Hokie Club member, please remember to renew on your anniversary month. To encourage you to renew on your anniversary month, the Hokie Club provides each active Hokie Club member with Virginia Tech athletics’ monthly magazine, Inside Hokie Sports. However, this amazing perk of Hokie Club membership is only provided to active members, all the more reason to renew your membership on time!