Virginia Tech has received its largest ever gift to athletics and the single-largest outright gift ever given to the university.
University President Tim Sands announced Monday that a $15.2 million donation to the university will be used to help create a state-of-the-art Student-Athlete Performance Center on Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus. The gift will benefit student-athletes in all 22 intercollegiate sports. It was made by an alumni couple who are Virginia natives.
This visionary and transformational gift will create a new Student-Athlete Performance Center that will include significant expansion and innovative renovation, encompassing the entire fourth floor of the Jamerson Athletics Center.
“This is a significant step forward that will help Virginia Tech meet the competitive challenge of athletics by developing the resources we need to support the remarkable talent and leadership in our athletic department,” Sands said. “This generous gift will greatly enhance the recruiting and experience of our student-athletes. We deeply appreciate these two alumni friends and their expression of confidence in the university and our athletics programs under Whit Babcock. It is this kind of Hokie spirit that brings Justin Fuente and Buzz Williams, as well as other talented head coaches and student-athletes to Virginia Tech.
“This is an extraordinary moment in time to move forward, and whether it’s a noteworthy gift, joining the Hokie Club’s ‘Drive for 25,’ or making an annual contribution, everyone’s participation will make a difference. There is great strength in numbers, and we hope all Hokies will answer the call to support Virginia Tech.”
The gift will allow work to begin on what is estimated to be a $16.5 million project. New construction and renovation on the 17,000-square foot center is anticipated to start in 2018, pending formal approval by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
“We are so very thankful for this transformational gift,” Director of Athletics Whit Babcock said. “We will absolutely be excellent stewards of this generosity. These alumni certainly embody the spirit of Ut Prosim [That I May Serve] that we hold so near and dear to our hearts at Virginia Tech. They share a deep affinity for this place and our students, including our 579 student-athletes. We’re extremely grateful for their continued support of Tech and especially this generous contribution that will benefit each and every one of our 22 sports for years to come.”
Babcock indicated that conceptual plans for the new project have moved to the formal design process, with further renderings to be released. When completed, the center will feature panoramic views of Lane Stadium and a balcony overlooking the Steve Johnson Practice Field. The fourth floor of Jamerson will more than double from its current 6,000-square foot footprint to 17,000 square feet. Space for dining, nutrition, donor hospitality, recruiting areas and a seamless connection to the Cassell Coliseum concourse will be part of the new addition.
“These upgrades will enable us to utilize this space 300 times a year rather than 50,” Babcock said. “It makes a huge statement to our commitment and vision to be the preeminent program in the ACC.”
The gift also sets aside a maintenance fund to keep the new space up to date and visually appealing for years to come.
This announcement comes at the end of an extraordinary calendar year of giving to Virginia Tech. In April, Sands announced that more than $25 million had been raised toward the Intelligent Infrastructure and Construction Complex, a key project in one of the university’s Destination Areas of strategic focus. That month also saw the Hokie Club announce it had passed $30 million in total giving for the first time. In August, the university announced that it had raised a record $162.28 million in new gifts and commitments during the 2017 fiscal year.
Later that month, 137 new students arrived on campus as the first beneficiaries of a Beyond Boundaries Scholars program fueled by nearly four dozen donors. In September, Virginia Tech announced its largest ever scholarship gift, $15 million from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation.
“Record-setting giving doesn’t happen unless people are inspired by the direction that’s being set by university leaders,” said Charlie Phlegar, the university’s vice president for advancement. “The extraordinary generosity we’ve seen this year shows just how excited our alumni and friends are by the impact that Tim Sands and Whit Babcock are making on Virginia Tech.”
— Pete Moris, Virginia Tech