The following is an email newsletter sent out by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association::
Last April, the world’s attention focused on a campus community ripped to its very core with the grief and pain of a tragedy unparalleled in the history of American higher education. And what they observed was more powerful than they ever expected… they saw a campus filled with energetic students and talented faculty that displayed grace, poise and fortitude beyond all imagination — a community fueled by something we know as Hokie spirit. That spirit reaches deep and spreads beyond the campus throughout our 200,000 alumni, and indeed across the entire globe.
Yes, Hokie spirit emerged from tragedy and impressed a world that was brought closer by the media to witness the strength and resilience of the entire Hokie Nation. On this anniversary our attention turns respectfully to the families who lost their loved ones last April 16th and to the students injured that day who are successfully putting their lives back together. It is a day of remembrance. The victims will be honored at a ceremony that will take place Wednesday on the Drillfield at 10:30 A.M. EDT. It will be televised by various media and streamed through the university’s website www.vt.edu. President Steger and Virginia’s Governor Kaine will make remarks. Other participatory events are being held throughout the day, and a candlelight vigil at dusk will signal the end of the day’s observances.
The university is grateful for the expressions of support that have flowed from loyal alumni and friends around the world since last April. These expressions have come in the form of almost every artifact imaginable. To date, 87,000 different items (some displayed in our Alumni Center Museum on April 16th only). In excess of $9.5 million in memorial gifts. Special appearances by the Dave Matthews Band and the NY Yankees. Plus thousands upon thousands of well-wishing letters, e-mails and phone calls. And perhaps the most recent signal of prevailing Hokie spirit is the acceptance rate by students who have been offered admission to the university this coming fall – already hundreds ahead of last fall, which was itself a record-breaking year.
We see such optimism and spirit in the faces of our students, often represented by the countless hours they have poured into VT-ENGAGE service activities. Similarly, our alumni are honoring the university’s year of renewal with a range of service activities, including participation in our “Virginia Tech for life” blood drives staged by alumni chapters.
At the dedication of our permanent April 16th Memorial last August, SGA President Adeel Khan summed it up exceptionally well…
Take time to remember the legacies, remember the dreams and remember the talent that our community has lost. I hope you are inspired to work harder to honor the 32. Share you talents with the world for the 32. Achieve your dreams for the 32. Be more compassionate, friendly and thoughtful for the 32. Be better, for the 32.
In 2008, we remember the 32; we are thankful for the survivors; and we are proud we share together that incredible Hokie spirit.
Vice President for Alumni Relations