Virginia Tech Magazine
Feature -|- Winter 2007

Ask what Tech can do for you
by Juliet Crichton

Based on their participation in regional alumni chapters, attendance at homecoming and reunion events, and financial support of the university, Virginia Tech alumni are a loyal bunch. And that's just the way the Alumni Association likes it.

Established more than 130 years ago, Tech's Alumni Association is committed to keeping Hokies worldwide--now numbering close to 200,000--engaged with their alma mater.

Believing that alumni are a key component in the continued success of the university as a leading institution of higher education that they helped shape, "the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, like other alumni associations around the country, considers it among its missions to provide services to alumni that have a reputation for quality and value," says Vice President for Alumni Affairs Tom Tillar (biology '69; M.A. student personnel services '73; Ed.D. administrative and educational service '78).

To that end, the Alumni Association offers myriad services and programs in support of the university's graduates. From career mentoring to travel opportunities to online banking, these resources aim to give something back to alumni and to "enrich their lives and experiences associated with Virginia Tech," Tillar says.

Here is but a sampling of what the Virginia Tech Alumni Association has designed or selected especially for Hokies.

An alumni home of our own

Holtzman Alumni Center
After years of planning, fundraising, and construction, the Holtzman Alumni Center provides alumni--as well as the university’s faculty, staff, friends, and visitors--a place to call home on campus. And what an impressive home it is.

The expansive complex at the northwest corner of campus consists of three components, all clad in native Hokie Stone and cast in the neo-Gothic architecture that characterizes Tech's campus look. Including lounge, museum, exhibit, and meeting spaces, the Holtzman Alumni Center, readily identified by its distinctive clock tower, connects to the Skelton Conference Center, which in turn adjoins The Inn at Virginia Tech, boasting 147 guest rooms and the Latham Ballroom.

"Now that the new Holtzman Alumni Center has been opened to serve Virginia Tech alumni," notes Tillar, "there are expanded opportunities to offer events across the four seasons of the year that appeal to the varying interests of our alumni."

Beautifully appointed and incorporating a delightfully familiar color scheme, the Holtzman Alumni Center is home to the Grand Hall reception space, which has a striking view of the Duck Pond; the Alumni Museum, which showcases significant university artifacts and photographs; the Alumni Library, which houses volumes authored and donated by alumni; and four conference spaces that provide high-technology facilities.

"We welcome visits by alumni year-round," Tillar says, "and hope that they will stay in the new Inn at Virginia Tech, as well as use the comfortable and inviting services of the alumni and conference center complex."

For more information about the Alumni Center or The Inn at Virginia Tech, go to and

Hokie professionals

For expert career guidance and assistance, what better sources to look to than your alma mater and fellow Hokies who've walked the path before you?

Career Services at Virginia Tech helps recent graduates and more seasoned alumni with both job-hunting and jumpstarting their careers. Though Career Services does not provide one-on-one counseling or place job-seekers into positions, it makes available a range of useful services, including instructions and tools for job searching, a calendar of events, related university resources, and an advice column, all accessible online.

VPI alumni
Another valuable and user-friendly career resource is VT CareerLink, a searchable electronic database that connects alumni who have volunteered their services with current students and other alumni seeking career-related help. The premise is simple: Registered alumni agree to be contacted for information and advice, for job-search referrals, and for other resources as specified from currently enrolled Hokies and other alumni. Alumni mentors have the additional option of hosting a student for a two- to five-day externship and recruiting from or posting jobs expressly for the Virginia Tech community.

Through its partnership with Lee Hecht Harrison LLC, the Alumni Association also provides Hokies with free access to a specialized service, CareerTools by ExecuPlanet. Among CareerTools' exceptional resources are more than 40 pages of instructions, tips, and tools to help alumni find a better job faster; extensive résumé guides and examples of résumés and cover letters; a job-search database that integrates employment information from a multitude of major cities; and the latest research, news, and information from an array of companies.

Similarly, the Alumni Association contracts national online job-listing services and professional search services to assist alumni in locating the best, most comprehensive job listings. For example, MBA Management Inc., a full-service search and recruiting firm located in Tech's Corporate Research Center and staffed by Hokies, targets Tech alumni who wish to return to Blacksburg and work for one of the many emerging-technology firms in the Roanoke and New River valleys.

For more information about how the Alumni Association can help your career, go to

Lifelong learning

Disappointed that your academic course work at Tech didn’t leave time to study history with James I. Robertson Jr., one of the nation's pre-eminent Civil War scholars? Or do you wish you had listened more attentively in that finance class?

The online courses offered by VTalumNET, an initiative of President Charles Steger, can fill those voids--virtually.

The VTalumNET catalog was developed in response to feedback from some 37,000 alumni worldwide who were interested in taking online courses from their alma mater. The majority of the respondents sought course work that would not only improve their job skills or fulfill personal interests, but would also allow them to work at their own pace with limited or no interaction.

Delivering both free and fee-based content via video and audio streaming on RealPlayer--easily downloaded without charge at features online lectures and noncredit courses, most of which are self-directed and allow students to access the content at any time for one year following registration.

Developed from the wide range of Virginia Tech faculty expertise and targeting alumni requests, the VTalumNET catalog includes such classes as Cognitive Ergonomics, Corporate Downsizing in the U.S., Emerging Equine Diseases, Introduction to Bluegrass Guitar, Principles of Marketing, Social Aspects of the Civil War, Technical Web Development, and Wind Design for Architects.

View the entire VTalumNET catalog and register for a class at

Keeping in touch

The Virginia Tech Alumni Association works tirelessly to ensure that alumni are kept informed of the significant goings-on at the university. From the biannual Alma Mater magazine, prepared by the Alumni Association, to the quarterly Virginia Tech Magazine and the monthly VT NetLetter, both prepared by University Relations, these publications chart the latest and the greatest on campus and are every alumnus' ticket to being a Hokie-in-the-know. Go to to access these publications online.

VT NetLetter
Alma Mater
Virginia Tech Magazine
Alumni Association news

If you're equally interested in the past, particularly the friends you made during your time on campus, the Alumni Association maintains an online Alumni Directory as well as publishes a printed directory every four years so that alumni can keep in contact with their classmates.

In addition, the electronic Alumni Gateway at gives registered alumni online access to personal and university services. The most important feature of this service is the ability to update your profile, which not only guarantees that the university has your current contact information, but also allows other alumni to get in touch with you.

The Alumni Association's printed directory, which is made available only to Tech alumni, appeared in its newest edition this past fall. Alphabetical listings include reunion class years, degrees, home and business addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, career coding, and cross-referenced maiden names. Supplemental lists categorize alumni by class year, geographic location, and occupation. For convenience, the printed directory is also available on a CD-ROM. To obtain your copy of the directory, send an e-mail to the Alumni Association at

Because Virginia Tech recognizes its alumni as one of its most valued resources and encourages their participation in shaping the institution's future, the Alumni Association oversees an extensive network of local alumni chapters that provide fellowship and volunteer opportunities for like-minded graduates.

The Virginia Tech motto Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) comes to life in the university's alumni chapters, whose members are encouraged to engage in volunteer opportunities within their respective communities. One of the most successful service activities has been the HokieBird Fights Hunger campaign, which provides food for those in need.

Introduced by the Tampa Bay and Middle Tennessee chapters several years ago, the campaign collected funds to purchase turkeys for families during the holidays.

The reach of the HokieBird Fights Hunger campaign has since spread to include Hokies feeding the hungry at soup kitchens and homeless shelters, sponsoring canned food drives, and providing baskets of food.

Not only do these chapters promote the university and forge relationships among alumni, students, parents, and other community members, they also serve as an indispensable marketing arm outside Blacksburg. First and foremost, however, Virginia Tech's alumni chapters spread Hokie pride and spirit.

For more about Tech's alumni chapters, go to

All work and no play . . .

The Alumni Association is worldly. And so are Hokies.

Italian street
Offering some 15 adventures annually to such destinations as New Zealand, Northern Italy, much of mainland Europe, the Dalmation Coast, and various ports in the Mediterranean, the Alumni Association's travel program features a variety of tours and cruises for Tech graduates. For full details about the Alumni Association's upcoming trips, go to

Leery of all that globetrotting? The Alumni Association's on-campus reunions and college homecomings are always a blast and a great way to hook up with long-lost buds--and any Hokie worth his gobble knows as much. If, however, you've been under a rock (or stuck in Charlottesville), go to

For a more intimate time in Blacksburg, the Alumni Association also offers special-theme events, such as the Hokie Sweethearts Weekend in February, the annual Civil War Weekend for history buffs, and Summer Around the Drillfield for a summer vacation college experience, complete with classes. To learn more about these events, go to

Making life a little easier

The Alumni Association searches out and makes available to Tech graduates those services and deals--including no-fee VISA cards, short-term medical and long-term care insurance, student loan consolidation programs, mortgage loans, auto and home insurance, and online banking--that are among the best in the business.

To learn more about doing business with the Alumni Association, go to

Telling the world

VT signet ring
Say it loud and say it proud: you're a Hokie. And the Alumni Association offers several special--and elegant--ways to express that Hokie pride.

If jewelry's your thing, there are yellow and white gold VT pendants, Seiko watches bearing the official university seal, and striking signet rings.

For the home, there are solid maple chairs, each laser-engraved with the Virginia Tech seal and offering the option of personalization; solid marble and brass candelabra lamps; imported hardwood diploma frames with hand-embossed matting; and six lovely scenes of the Tech campus in oil, pastel, or watercolor by artist and retired architect William Ward Mosely (architecture '51).

To view these special Hokie items available only from the Alumni Association, go to

Final word: It's the best

Providing and supporting alumni programs and services; facilitating communication with alumni; and strengthening alumni bonds of fellowship, professional association, and university affiliation, the Virginia Tech Alumni Association is a nonprofit organization of the highest order. It's no surprise that "many thousands of alumni are served each year through the Alumni Association," says Tillar.

Become one of them today.

Visit the Alumni Association online at

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