Philanthropy banner

Pylon Society recognizes enduring loyalty to Virginia Tech

by Mike Westfall

loy-al (loil) adj. 1. Firm in allegiance to one's government, homeland, or sovereign (or university!) 2. Faithful to a person, custom, or ideal. 3. Of or professing loyalty.

Loyalty. That's the word that best sums up the new Pylon Society introduced in January. This innovative society was created to recognize alumni whose continuous years of annual gifts to Virginia Tech reflect the eight ideals emblazoned on the pylons of the university's War Memorial: loyalty, honor, leadership, sacrifice, service, brotherhood, duty, and Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

From the beginning, the generosity of alumni and friends has made it possible for Virginia Tech to provide a stellar education and remain an excellent value in relation to its peers. This crucial philanthropy has bridged the ever-widening gap between the revenues provided by tuition and state assistance and the cost of educating a single student. Virginia Tech's colleges and programs continue to benefit from major gifts designated for specific initiatives and projects. Operating support, however, is increasingly becoming dependent upon loyal annual giving participation. Recent and continued state budget cuts have created the necessity for a higher level of annual giving support. Participation makes a difference and will be even more important as Virginia Tech navigates the budgetary challenges presented by the commonwealth of Virginia.

Fortunately, Virginia Tech alumni and friends have steadfastly embraced the rich tradition of giving back to the university. It is this unstinting support that is being recognized with the creation of the Pylon Society. Alumni and friends become a Pylon Society member simply by saying "yes" for five consecutive calendar years when contacted by annual giving via mail, phone, or e-mail. Membership is awarded with the fifth consecutive calendar year of giving and can be maintained for as long as the "string" of consecutive years is kept alive! Regardless of the size of gift, it is annual participation that matters most.

The benefits of Pylon Society membership are varied. First and foremost are the pride and satisfaction that accompany philanthropic support, making a difference in the lives of Virginia Tech students. Tangible items, however, include:

  • A Pylon Society static-cling decal, a display of your loyalty to Virginia Tech
  • Pylon Society personalized return address labels, an annual token of our appreciation
  • A campus/pylon photograph suitable for framing (after 15 years of continuous giving)
  • An invitation to the annual Pylon Society event (after 25 years of continuous giving)
  • Immediate access to the VT NetLetter, a free, monthly e-newsletter from the university

The benefits of annual giving to Virginia Tech extend beyond Pylon Society recognition and membership benefits. Alumni who support their alma mater are thought to possess a high degree of satisfaction with their college experience. As such, organizations like U.S. News & World Report factor alumni participation and other indicators of strength into their national rankings of leading universities.

Virginia Tech climbs in these national rankings annually, continuing to earn its well-deserved reputation for excellence. This reputation ensures that a degree from Virginia Tech is a respected credential. By participating in the annual fund, alumni are increasing the value of a Virginia Tech education.

For additional Pylon Society and/or annual giving information, please contact Mike Westfall, director of annual giving, at or 540/231-2839.