Merryman family commits $2 million for Virginia Tech Athletics, Pamplin College of Business
A simple philanthropic saying has resonated through generations of the Merryman Family.
“My grandmother always had a saying that for every dollar you give back, you’re going to probably reap five in return,” Floyd Merryman III, a 1981 Virginia Tech graduate, said during an interview with the university last fall. “Our family has been blessed with good fortune.”
Recently, the Merryman family has committed a total of $2 million to Virginia Tech to be split between two areas of the university that are very familiar to the family – Virginia Tech Athletics and the Pamplin College of Business.
Half of the family’s gift will be designated to the renovation and expansion of the university’s football strength and conditioning center. The other half will go toward Pamplin’s Global Business and Analytics Complex, which is expected to open in 2024.
Pride in Virginia Tech and its many initiatives, from its growth in Roanoke to its plans for an Innovation Campus in Alexandria, Virginia, drives the family’s desire to give, said Merryman.
“Obviously the Merrymans have a deep history of connection to Virginia Tech,” he said. “We want to keep that going.”
It was Floyd Merryman’s father, Floyd W. “Sonny” Merryman Jr. '46, who ignited his family’s passion for supporting Virginia Tech. In the decades following his time at Virginia Tech, the family gave generously to a number of university initiatives, especially in the athletics and business arenas. The Merryman Athletic Facility, located between Cassell Coliseum and Lane Stadium, was named for Sonny Merryman and his wife, Lou, as was an endowed professorship in the Pamplin College of Business and multiple scholarships named for Sonny Merryman.
The Merryman Family Learning Studio in the Moss Arts Center also is named for the family, with specific interest from Lou Merryman and Pat Merryman, who is Sonny and Lou Merryman’s daughter. Additionally, Lee Merryman, Floyd Merryman’s son, has contributed to athletic scholarships.
The family also supports the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, and it has established several university-wide scholarships, including the Merryman Public Pupil Transportation Scholarship and the Merryman Central Virginia Scholarship.
“The Merryman family’s long commitment to Virginia Tech is evident across our campus,” said Charlie Phlegar, vice president of advancement. “They are among the many dedicated Hokie supporters who want to ensure that this university continues its strong momentum.”
The gift for the football strength and conditioning project will support efforts to transform Virginia Tech’s current center into a dynamic training area to meet the current and future needs of the program. The renovation and expansion will nearly double the functional workout space of the facility, located in the Merryman Center, increasing its total size from approximately 6,900 square feet to more than 12,300 square feet.
“We are so grateful for the support and continued generosity of the Merryman family,” said Whit Babcock, Virginia Tech director of athletics. “It’s fitting that our football strength and conditioning complex is housed in a facility that bears the Merryman family’s name. Investing in facilities is key to our program’s ability to compete at a high level and for our student-athletes to reach their full potential. Generous Hokies like the Merrymans help to make our success possible.”
The Pamplin College of Business half of the gift will support the future Global Business and Analytics Complex, which aims to inspire people who share a passion for an analytic approach to problems that occur in societies, governments, and businesses throughout the world. The project includes four new buildings planned on the Blacksburg campus, including two academic buildings and two living-learning residential communities for about 700 students. Its effort leverages the strengths of Pamplin, as well as other colleges with programs focused on data and decisions.
“I appreciate the generosity of the Merryman family to Virginia Tech’s athletic and academic missions,” said Robert Sumichrast, Pamplin dean. “Their gift to the GBAC project will allow our university to provide an education that is based on learning from experiences and working in teams. The Merrymans are giving us facilities to deliver the best student experience in the country.”
Officials have initiated a feasibility study of the complex. Sumichrast said construction should be under way by 2021 and finished by 2024.
“If we’re going to continue to grow as a college, we have to get this facility done,” said Floyd Merryman, a graduate of Pamplin. “Our family is proud to be a part of that.”
Written by Jenny Kincaid Boone and Travis Williams