Virginia Tech Magazine
Winter 2008
Hey there, Hokie!


On vacation in London two years ago, my wife and I spent an afternoon at the Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill Museum near Parliament. In the museum was a young woman wearing a Tech sweatshirt who, it turned out, was a fashion major interning with a London company and having the experience of a lifetime! It was neat to see a fellow Hokie taking advantage of a study-abroad opportunity.

Bob Bloxom (management '85)

During a vacation in Glacier National Park in August 2006, my family hiked to Hidden Lake, which crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. On our two-week trip from Maryland, we hadn't met up with many people from the East Coast; most travelers were from the Northwest and Canada. We started out on the two-mile trail that passed through Alpine-like meadows strewn with wildflowers and protected by a boardwalk. With the temperature at a breezy 60 degrees, most hikers were dressed in layers, and we spotted a couple wearing Virginia Tech sweatshirts. My wife commented to them, "I haven't seen too many Hokies up here!" The fellow replied, "Can you ever see too many?"

Ed Knickman (D.V.M. '84)

Knickman family
Susan Athey

I have run into Hokies in several surprising places. Once, at a social event with a group of international students and their host families here at Colorado State University, we were playing a game to find a person with whom we shared a birthday. Not only did I find someone with my birthday, but he was also a Hokie who had graduated from Tech the same year as I!

The other interesting place I met a Hokie was in Evora, Portugal. I was there on a Fulbright fellowship and staying in an 18th-century convent that served as the university's housing. While eating breakfast one morning, I began talking to another visiting faculty member. It turned out that we were both Hokies far across the ocean from Blacksburg.

Susan Athey (statistics '76)

Ryan and Kim Keleher
In August 2004, my wife [Kim (Keenan) Keleher (psychology '96)] and I were on our honeymoon in Australia. We were flying from northern Queensland to Sydney and had to change planes in Brisbane. As we were walking through the airport, I saw a man wearing a Virginia Tech shirt. I turned around to tell my wife about him, and I literally ran into the Virginia Tech women's basketball team! I immediately mentioned that my wife and I are both Hokies, which got the attention of a couple of players. We had a very quick chat about why we were all Down Under--they were there playing some exhibition games--and then we were off to catch our plane.

Ryan Keleher (marketing '96)

In my first year of employment after graduation, I was sent to Germany for product training, which meant a two-month stay in Erlangen, about 15 minutes north of Nuremburg. Every weekend, my colleague--an Auburn alum--and I would pick a different place in the country to tour.

One weekend in April 2005, we were in the very small town of Triberg in the middle of the Black Forest and a bit off the beaten path. After walking around Germany's largest waterfall and taking pictures, we found a place to sit down for dinner and to try some famous Black Forest cake.While we were eating, a family sat at a table next to us. We heard English being spoken but didn't pay much attention.

Ryan Nash

When we got up to leave, I slipped on my Virginia Tech hoodie and then heard someone say something about Virginia Tech. The father at the table was a Hokie from the Class of 1988, so we stayed and talked. I don't remember the name of my fellow alumnus, but meeting another Hokie in that tiny town definitely surprised me.

Ryan Nash (computer engineering '97)

I went on one of our Alumni Association trips several years ago. After a tour of Rouen, I was standing in front of the gorgeous Rouen Cathedral with another Tech graduate waiting for our tour group to gather. From nowhere, a French woman walked up and looked closely at our nametags. "Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech," she said and, tossing her arms up in the air, adding, "Go 'okies! Go 'okies!"

I couldn't help but laugh that we were standing thousands of miles away from Blacksburg in front of a famous cathedral and this woman saw "Virginia Tech" on our nametags and knew to say, "Go ’okies." Her response was especially noteworthy because she spoke hardly any English except "hello."

Larry Hincker (architecture '72; M.B.A. '94)

George Stiff in Germany, 1957

Seckenheim, a small village in Germany between Heidelburg and Mannheim, had a small Army post of 100 or so serviceman. I reported there in 1957, having graduated from Tech in June 1956. One of my best friends had already left Tech after his sophomore year and had joined the Army to fulfill his military obligation, as I was then doing.

My first evening at this post, I was standing in a mess hall line, not knowing anyone except the guys who had been on the same troop ship coming over. Suddenly I heard a loud voice calling my name and then saying, "You sorry Hokie!" It was my long-lost friend, Bill Heer (metallurgical engineering '56), who had been assigned to the post only a short time before me. For more than a year, we enjoyed traveling around Europe, having paid $75 each for an old Mercedes.

Bill later returned to Tech and received his degree in engineering. We both live in North Carolina now and see each other and our families a few times a year and at our Tech class reunions.

George Stiff (general business '56)

HokieBird at the Parthenon
You globetrotting Hokies might run into the roving HokieBird someday. Douglas (Ph.D. mathematics '70) and Nancy Cameron have made a hobby of traveling with a stuffed HokieBird (and a stuffed Zippy, mascot of the University of Akron, where Douglas earned his master's degree and is a professor emeritus) and photographing it in decidedly unusual and amusing locations. For the full gallery of the Camerons' fun on the road, go to
Compiled by Sherry Bithell

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