WE HAVE REACHED OUR GOAL OF achieving a 22 percent annual giving rate, more than doubling alumni participation from six years ago. I am grateful to all Hokies. Thank you.

This goal was an ambitious one. It was a vision President Tim Sands set and one that will have a lasting impact on our university. It inspired me seven years ago and drew me back to my home and alma mater.

I earned two degrees from Virginia Tech. My first job was here. This is where I met my wife, Karen. We will retire here. This is home.

I wanted to return to Blacksburg and my alma mater—and to make a difference. Joining the university as the vice president of Advancement in 2015, I knew that Hokies had great affinity for the university. But giving to the university lagged well behind our peers.

Hokies are naturally generous, but we had work to do. We needed to demonstrate why giving matters and how it can shape the future.

Today, thanks to the dedication and generosity of Hokie alumni in all 50 states and dozens of countries, we’ve created something truly special.

Karen and Charlie Phlegar watch fireworks
Karen and Charlie Phlegar

Virginia Tech’s annual Giving Day played a key role in making this achievement possible. In fewer than 48 hours, more than 15,700 alumni and other supporters made gifts to hundreds of funds spread throughout all of the university’s colleges, units, and programs.

Other important occasions for Hokie engagement included the return of student-designed Hokie socks for donors who gave during Giving Tuesday, a unique effort to integrate philanthropy into alumni events, a passionate group of students making a Senior Class Gift, and a record-breaking show of support for the Drive for 25 campaign.

Meeting this goal is important and worthy of celebration and reflection. But more than that, this achievement is about a change in culture and what it will mean for future generations of Hokies. This rate of alumni giving sustained over time will transform the university.

When we all step up and support what matters to us, it makes Virginia Tech stronger. And our mission has never been more important.

Gifts support faculty who inspire and mentor a new generation and who undertake research that can change lives through groundbreaking discoveries that support humanity. Philanthropy creates scholarships for students, making sure that education is affordable and accessible to those who want it.

Advancing our communities and expanding access to education is our mission— and there’s nothing more important.

Gifts to Virginia Tech support that mission and reaching this goal means we have developed a lasting culture of giving back among our worldwide community of alumni.

We did this together. Thank you.

Charlie Phlegar is the vice president for the Advancement Division.

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