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November 10, 2010

Supporting Virgina Tech Athletics Since 1949

By: Brian Thornburg

The Student-Athlete Experience

Diving into a new facility
In the inaugural intercollegiate meet at the new Christiansburg Aquatic Center, the H2Okies took first in 31 events. “We had a fantastic turnout and the energy from our fans and team made it a fun morning. The facilty is a wonderful place to enjoy a swimming and diving meet,” Tech Head Coach Ned Skinner said.

“To all the members of the Hokie Club who have made my experiences here as a student-athlete possible, I will always be grateful for your generosity.”
Blake Trabuchi-Downey
Junior - Swimming and Diving - Distance Free/Fly

“Swimming for Virginia Tech has had a tremendous impact on my life. I’m shaped, for the better, because of the experiences I’ve had.”
Lauren Ritter
Senior - Swimming and Diving - Distance Free

Donor file

(Back row, L to R) Mike (son) holding Alyssa (grandchild), Chris (son), Sharon (daughter) and Wayne Helbert (son-in-law).
(Center, L to R) Peyton (granddaughter), Roy Burrows and Kathryn (granddaughter).
(Front) Benjamin (grandson).

Bob Brown

Current Hokie Club Level:
Hokie Benefactor

Hokie Club Member Since:
First gave in 1962 but have been continuous since 1981.

Currently Resides:
Williamsburg, Va.

Family members:
Audrey (wife); Sharon (daughter, Tech grad ’87); Chris (son, Tech grad ’93); Mike (son); Peyton, Kathryn, Benjamin, Andrew, Carter, Alyssa (grandchildren)

Q: What year did you graduate?
A: 1960 (Mechanical Engineering)

Q: Being a member of the Hokie Club and supporting Virginia Tech athletics is important to me and my family because …
A: It allows us to be a part of supporting the development of excellence in all sports, which reflects well on the our university.

Q: 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?
A: Not really, but I would guess it was my first football game at Miles Stadium in the fall of 1956.

Q: Do you have any game day or tailgating traditions or superstitions? If so, what are they?
A: Get there early, hoist our flag and leave late, welcoming anyone who comes by.

Q: Over the past decade, Virginia Tech athletics has undertaken tremendous facilities growth and renovations. Do you have a favorite project? Why?
A: The Merryman complex, Lane Stadium expansion and the Hahn–Hurst Basketball training facilities are top-of-the-line magnificent edifices that leave no doubt of Virginia Tech’s commitment to be the best nationally in athletics.

Q: Looking at the 2010-11 academic year, what athletics event or game are you looking forward to the most and why?
A: Of course, I want all sports to win conference championships, but this year, I look forward to us getting into the NCAA Basketball Tournament and winning at least two games there. I feel we have been snubbed the last two years.

Q: My all-time favorite Tech athletes are ...
A: Michael Vick, whose athleticism is uncanny as proven by that first-down run in the West Virginia game that gave a chance to play in the national championship. Bruce Smith is a close second, as he gave it all on the field. Also Chris Smith, a 1960’s basketball player who still holds Tech records. Even though he was a civilian, he adopted the Corps tradition of cadets speaking to all they passed on campus. Chris is a special person.

Interesting Hokie fact: In 2008, I was inducted into the Virginia Tech Aviation Wall of Fame based upon research and development I conducted that significantly enhanced aviation flight and crash safety.
Also, in the late 1970’s, I became a volunteer fundraiser for Virginia Tech athletics and received three Top Ten awards from the Student Aid Association in the 1980s. Also, I was President of Peninsula Hokie Club in the 1980’s. Once the Hokie Rep system got going, I got involved and have been a Top Ten Hokie Rep for many years and am still active.

A Letter from Lu

As our athletes are focusing in on finishing their fall seasons and the fall semester with a purpose, I feel that is important to stop and look around and enjoy the moment, before it too slips away. As the often quoted Yogi Berra once said, “it ain’t over til its over.” This Yogi-ism, which makes us think about never giving up, rings especially true with me at this time of the year when I think about our fundraising efforts. With this in mind, I wanted to take a minute to talk to you about all of the activity going on here in the Hokie Club office as we look towards the end of the year.

By now, all Hokie Club members have received their Point Priority mailings, which serve to highlight each member’s current rank and to give a snapshot of your current Hokie Club standing. We hope that this provides you with a helpful tool to use as you begin to position yourself for 2011 benefits. Also included in this mailing is our annual football parking projections information. While this is only to be used as a general guideline, we hope this breakdown will provide you with more understanding of the priority cutoffs in the 19 lots reserved for Hokie Club members for the 2011 season.

While we are talking about year end, it is always important for us to mention some of the deadlines that affect your membership. November 30th is the last day to set up or upgrade your membership using either “Hokie Matic” or “Employee Payroll Deduction” to qualify for privileges to be awarded before the Benefits Deadline. To make any changes to an existing Hokie Matic, including increasing your monthly deduction, please submit a new form indicating the updated information. Forms can be found by visiting our website,

The most important deadline for the Hokie Club, beside your current membership’s annual anniversary month, is the Benefits Deadline. December 31, 2010 serves as the deadline for all Hokie Club benefits for the 2011 year. Due to the university's holiday schedule and the Hokies bowl game schedule, please make every effort to speak with the Hokie Club staff or visit with our office now. Remember, checks must be postmarked by December 31, 2010 and online contributions must be made at by midnight EST, December 31, 2010.

As I think about our fundraising efforts at this point in 2010, I am encouraged. Looking back at the 2009-10 fiscal year, we were pleased to report $25.2M in gifts to Athletics. In a down economy, this was a tremendous accomplishment and one that I attribute to the dedication of our Hokie Club membership and the diligent efforts of the Hokie Club staff. With the 2009-10 totals as a barometer, I feel that we are well positioned heading into the halfway point this year.

The best way that you can help us reach our fundraising goal is by increasing your annual gift or upgrading your membership level. A second way is to find new members. I encourage you to talk to your Hokie alumni and friends, and ask them to join the Hokie Club. This past year, all new members that applied for season tickets for football and basketball received them. To me, that is a good incentive for many to become members. For others, simply being asked to support our student-athletes is reason enough to make their commitment.

As Always, I am grateful for all you do to support this Athletics program.

Go Hokies!

Lu Merritt