Alumni Commentary

An extraordinary sense of community

by Matthew M. Winston Jr. '90
2017 Run in Remembrance at Virginia Tech

Hokies reach out to each other with compassion and support at the 2017 Run in Remembrance. Photo by Logan Wallace.

Hokies live Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) through our service and compassion every day. We find ways to make our communities better, and we make each other better.

That sense of community has never been more evident than it was in the days immediately following April 16, 2007, as the Hokie Nation came together to show the world who we are and what we stand for.

Ten years later, as I attended the 2017 Day of Remembrance events, I was moved by the resilience and the compassion of this place — from the encouraging cheers as 16,000 participants walked or ran through our campus in the 3.2 for 32 Run in Remembrance, to the quiet tears shed as the names of the 32 filled the air at the commemoration and vigil on the Drillfield.

We will always honor and celebrate what each of their lives added to our community. To echo the words of Sumeet Bagai (business management '07), who spoke at the 2017 student-led Candlelight Vigil, "They represented the best in our Hokie Nation with their service to this community; their diversity of ethnicities, religions, and background; and their incredible accomplishments."

As we gathered together this spring, once again, we reaffirmed our sense of community and our commitment to one another. Members from the Old Guard stood alongside soon-to-be alumni who were just children when 32 faculty and students were taken from us. Others who were on campus in 2007 returned to the university for the first time since their graduations. Countless alumni and friends honored the 10-year milestone in chapter events across the country.

I am inspired by our alumni who extended that expression of Hokie Spirit in the places where they live, work, and serve. I am grateful for all those on campus who played a role in this year's remembrance activities as I am each year. The individuals who organized and participated in this year's remembrance events have my sincere admiration.

We showed the world what it means to be a Hokie. We will never forget. We are Virginia Tech.

Matthew M. Winston Jr. (marketing management '90) is senior associate vice president for alumni relations.