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VIRGINIA TECH’S MOST ENGAGED AND passionate alumni have been shaping the university for decades and serve as our community’s foundation.

Now, that group has a new name: Cornerstone Alumni.

“This name is intended to focus and highlight those alumni who have hit their 50th reunion and beyond,” said Vice President for Advancement Charlie Phlegar ’78, M.S. ’87. “These truly are the alumni who will be the cornerstone to our future and have been so important to Virginia Tech over the years.”

Cornerstone Alumni are also poised for growth in the coming years as the class sizes become larger. More and more alumni will enter this elite group, which is also becoming more diverse.

Previously known as the Old Guard Society of Golden Alumni, the group of storied alumni was renamed to better reflect its purpose and significance.

The new name comes after seeking feedback from dozens of groups of alumni, including those who have celebrated their 50th reunion, alumni approaching that milestone, and even conversations with students and young alumni.

“Most folks know, the Old Guard was formed back in the late ’60s to recognize senior alumni who had been 50 years out of school,” said David Lowe ’63, a Cornerstone Alumni Advisory Board member and Corps of Cadets alumnus.

Up until the 1960s, Lowe said, Virginia Tech was largely an all-male military school.

But that has changed, and Hokies celebrating their 50th reunion are changing, too.

“When I graduated, I think there were 150 women on campus. We were really not part of the student body. But that changed,” said Prim Jones ’62. “This group is going to be representative of the university now . . . and as the ’70s classes become part of Cornerstone, it will change more and more.”

Jones added that it’s important to be part of the group of alumni who have been out of school for 50 years, not just a single class. She said she believes Cornerstone Alumni bring together all Hokies who share deep history and connection to the university.

Members of Virginia Tech’s Corps of Cadets who graduated 50 or more years ago will still be referred to as the university’s Old Guard in honor of their service. But now, Hokies with 50 or more years as alumni will be welcomed as Cornerstone Alumni, invited back for a reunion each spring, and offered other exclusive events during the year. This year’s spring reunion will be held virtually May 19-21. Also, all Cornerstone Alumni will be recognized at Homecoming.

“I’m satisfied that there’s a much stronger commitment and recognition by the leadership of the university of the value that senior alumni bring to this university. The numbers are getting bigger, and we’re living longer and we’re active—we want to stay involved,” said Lowe. “In my own case, I’m not ready to sit in the rocking chair and watch the world go by. If I can contribute to the university, in meaningful ways, I’d like to do that.” AM

CORNERSTONE ALUMNI are sharing their memories from their time as students at Virginia Tech. Hear from them about special moments that will inspire Hokies of all generations.

To learn more about Cornerstone Alumni and register for this year’s reunion, visit