Donor gifts top $54 million

Despite a sluggish economy, erratic stock market fluctuations, and disturbing events on the international scene throughout fiscal year 2002-03, some 7,000 new donors stepped forward to provide financial and material support to Virginia Tech during the year. Even with the general economic uncertainty of the period, contributions made by private donors totaled $54,284,277.

Gifts from individual alumni and friends of the university accounted for more than $29 million of the total, with much of that sum designated to support academic scholarship programs. Parents provided the university with another $1.4 million in gifts during the fiscal year, and faculty, staff, and students contributed an additional $719,000.

More than half of the $30,670,062 received in individual donor contributions is earmarked for support of current operations. Nearly $12 million will be invested in the endowment, and the remaining $11.6 million will be devoted to capital improvements and sponsored programs.

Corporate and foundation giving in fiscal year 2002-03 accounted for more than 36.5 percent of all gifts to the university. Direct corporate contributions increased 3.1 percent over the previous year. Some examples of the scope and diversity of corporate and foundation giving include the following:


* Virginia Tech received $1.6 million from Roanoke's Via-Bradley College of Engineering Foundation to benefit the Charles E. Via Civil Engineering Endowment and the H.L. Bradley Endowment for Electrical Engineering.

* The Evolvian Company, an innovative software firm located in Chantilly, Va., donated more than $1 million in sophisticated computer software to the university to protect university computer systems from spam and other unwanted e-mail.

* The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation of Seattle provided $364,000 to support the Virginia Initiative for Technology and Administrative Leadership that provides specialized leadership training for Virginia school principals and superintendents.

Two separate individual contributions of more than $1 million each will be used for student scholarships. A gift from the estate of Mildred S. Corder of Fairfax, Va., supports scholarships awarded in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. A similar gift from the Martha S. Van Oss estate in Howard County, Md., is earmarked for university-wide scholarship support.

Individual gifts of more than a quarter-million dollars include a contribution by Florence K. Roberts of Blacksburg, Va., and the Roberts family, including Dr. and Mrs. Kent Roberts of Blacksburg, Va., that established the C.R. Roberts Endowed Professorship of Clinical Veterinary Medicine in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.

The athletics department continues to enjoy significant support from Virginia Tech family and friends. Donors provided the department with nearly $14.4 million in fiscal year 2002-03, an increase of $700,000 from the previous year and the ninth consecutive increase.

This is an especially critical period in Virginia Tech's quest for ranking among the nation's top-tier research universities. The consistent private support the university receives assures its continued prominence as a leading center of knowledge, scholarship, and scientific advancement.