Virginia Tech Magazine
Fall 2007 [ Message from the President ]

The Campaign for Virginia Tech: Invent the Future
by Charles W. Steger '69

President Charles Steger
John McCormick  
About 10 years ago, when I was vice president for development and university relations, I had the pleasure of ringing the closing bell on our last fundraising campaign. With the help of more than 71,000 individuals--including many of you--committed to improving the future of Virginia Tech, every major campaign goal was met. Indeed, we raised $337 million, far exceeding the original goal of $250 million. Since then, your investments have provided continuing returns resulting in new levels of national visibility, prominence, and impact.

Now, we have begun a new era with the Oct. 20 launch of The Campaign for Virginia Tech: Invent the Future.

Private philanthropy is now an essential component of any university--public or private--that seeks to fully realize the power of education. We have seen the relationship between research and economic development become clearer than ever. Ideas and innovation, the products of universities, fuel the larger engine of commerce.

We know that a college degree is the passport to personal and/or professional success. So, too, has graduate education become increasingly vital in our knowledge-based economy.

Therefore, this campaign is fundamentally linked to offering to all sectors of our society a grip on this powerful lever of education, as well as to providing for those who qualify the opportunity to excel at Virginia Tech and to fulfill the potential of higher education.

The campaign will ensure our ability to stoke the engines of knowledge, to create new disciplines and jobs not yet envisioned, to link the theoretical with the practical, and to expand the world of research and scholarship, as intended by the bold and uniquely American land-grant university concept.

Elsewhere in these pages, you will read how this campaign will enrich the educational experience, nurture the process of discovery, and link the university to communities and the professions. [See "Campaigning for a brighter future."]

We have outlined five funding priorities essential to advancing this university: academic excellence, the undergraduate experience, research, Virginia Tech and the community, and the President's Discovery Fund. Each component and the ensuing fiscal resources support an integral facet of the university's basic mission.

I wish to thank and compliment our volunteer leadership. Under the able hand of Gene Fife '62, the campaign has raised more than $500 million to date, a remarkable accomplishment.

As we move into the "public phase" of the campaign, co-chairs David Calhoun '79 and John Lawson '75 have announced a $1 billion goal for the university. Yes, sums of this magnitude are absolutely necessary to secure the future.

Sometime over the next several years, you may be asked to play a role in this process--in helping to invent the future. I hope that you will seriously consider answering this call to help others realize their dreams in much the same way that so many of us have been able to achieve our own.

Virginia Tech