Leadership Perspective - Whit Babcock
DEAR HOKIE NATION,
On April 20, the Virginia Tech Athletics Department announced its Reach for Excellence campaign, in which we will raise $400 million to propel Hokie sports into the upper echelons of the ACC and nationally.
The campaign’s name comes from the sign at the end of the Avery Tunnel that leads onto the field at Lane Stadium. The sign reads, “For those who have passed, For those to come ... Reach for excellence.” Football players see that sign before every home game, as do graduating seniors before commencement.
To realize our boundless potential for greatness, we are asking every member of the Hokie Nation—fans, alumni, donors, faculty, staff, and students—to Reach for Excellence. As a part of the university’s Boundless Impact campaign, this athletics initiative will help propel our nationally renowned football program to new heights. It will advance our basketball programs to even greater levels of accomplishment. And it will ensure excellence across the board for all of our sports and the amazing student-athletes who define them.
Your financial support can strengthen any of the five pillars of our campaign—the football enhancement fund for staff and facilities, a Cassell Coliseum renovation, the Drive for 25 initiative to increase Hokie Club membership to 25,000 and help pay for scholarships, endowments to assist with scholarships, and sport-specific giving to ensure comprehensive excellence throughout our program.
Our players and staffs produced amazing results over the past year despite facing some of the most challenging circumstances in the modern history of college athletics. The men’s and women’s basketball teams both made the NCAA tournament, the first time they have accomplished that in the same season in school history. Our men’s track and field team captured another ACC indoor championship, while the wrestling, men’s soccer, and women’s golf squads all qualified for NCAA postseason competition. In addition, four football players were selected in the NFL Draft, including two first-round picks (cornerback Caleb Farley and tackle Christian Darrisaw), while Daniel Pereira was the No. 1 overall pick in the Major League Soccer Draft.
Thanks to your gifts of all sizes, we’ve been able to raise $150 million toward the $400 million Reach for Excellence goal. Thanks to philanthropy, we were able to build a Student-Athlete Performance Center and renovate our football weight room and team position meeting rooms.
Now is the time to capitalize on all of this momentum. It’s time to put a stake in the ground and never go backward. It’s time to do something never before done at Virginia Tech—and we need your involvement. Instead of someone doing everything, we’re asking everyone to do something. This vision will be realized only with your help.
It’s time to move from a challenger brand to a champion brand. We need to take the hard-hat mentality and “try harder” attitude of Virginia Tech and elevate it to the top. With limited resources, we have overachieved. Imagine what we can do when we overachieve with competitive resources.
It’s time to go down the tunnel together, to jump, and to Reach for Excellence. We hope you’ll join us.
Whit Babcock is the director of athletics.