Thursday, April 19, 2007

We Will Prevail

A beautiful email sent to some of my Virginia Tech Alumni friends:

From: Virginia Tech Alumni Association
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2007 12:24 PM
To: All Alumni April 2007

We will prevail; we will prevail; we will prevail. WE ARE VIRGINIA TECH!
Those words closed the Memorial Convocation held Tuesday afternoon on the campus. They were from renowned poet and University Distinguished Professor Nikki Giovanni.

No words could more powerfully proclaim the unity and bonding that Virginia Tech alumni feel all around the world. No words could more meaningfully signal that the process of healing has begun. A candlelight vigil was held later Tuesday evening on the Drillfield and was attended by thousands of students, faculty and staff, townspeople, alumni and other visitors who came to support a hurting community.

President Bush and Governor Kaine gave messages of comfort and inspiration to thousands in the audiences gathered in Cassell Coliseum and Lane Stadium. University President Charles Steger received the longest of standing ovations at the convocation, clearly a symbol of respect for his solid leadership through these horrific events that have gripped the nation and world.

Emails and phone messages have poured in literally from around the world. These are in overwhelming numbers, and so very meaningful to all of us closest to the tragedy. President Bush and Governor Kaine visited with the grieving family members who were assembled on the campus. Dr. Steger has continued to meet with them to offer the university’s support through every channel imaginable. The assistance and guidance from the Virginia Tech Police and all other law enforcement personnel with us has been invaluable throughout these past few days.

One of my colleagues at a sister institution wrote of how flags and spirits have been lowered on his campus, as they have on hundreds of other campuses across the country in honor of our loss. Yet, just as all have witnessed the lowering, they know that recovery will be made possible by the many hands that can raise flags and spirits together.

Our Alumni Association has learned of an effort to designate this Friday, April 20th, as HOKIE HOPE: ORANGE and MAROON EFFECT day worldwide. We encourage all alumni to come together or communicate with each other on this day especially. If you choose, wear something symbolic of the university’s colors, logos, or marks to declare loyalty and support for the healing that has already begun. We support this initiative wholeheartedly and hope that each of you, in your own way, will display pride in your alma mater – and remember especially those faculty and students who perished in random acts of violence on our campus – an unparalleled tragedy in our history.

In my previous email, I spoke of the creation of the "Virginia Tech Family Fund." This has been re-designated the “Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund”. They are one in the same. Your designation to either fund name will serve to assist the families of victims as well as others who were injured, and appropriately memorialize all those who lost their lives during the tragic events of April 16th.

For additional information go to for an official link to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, as well as to counseling resources nationally, memorial services planned by alumni chapters and other groups, and other information about the events of recent or coming days.

Ann Spencer ’76 serves as the current President of our Alumni Association, a volunteer role she has held since this past July. Ann asked me to include her message to all our alumni on behalf of our Alumni Association and its Board of Directors.

The aftermath of this week’s tragic events will bond our alumni, students, faculty, and staff in ways we could never have imagined. Virginia Tech students, our future alumni, have shown unity and courage that make us proud to know they will be joining our ranks of some 200,000 alumni of this remarkably resilient institution. The response our university community has shown the world makes me proud of Virginia Tech for the special place it is, and very honored to be a member of the Hokie Family.

Our National Board of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association fully supports and commends President Steger and his staff, Police Chief Flinchum and all law enforcement officials, and the entire university community in their skillful handling of this tragedy. President Steger has shown consistent strong leadership for the university and his leadership has continued throughout this crisis.

Our Alumni Association expresses our sincerest condolences to the victims, their families and loved ones. We share in your grief and loss of members of our Virginia Tech Family. We are all committed to helping our Hokie Nation heal through this difficult time. Nikki Giovanni said it best: ‘We will prevail...We are Virginia Tech.’ We encourage your participation in the Orange and Maroon Effect this Friday.
Ann Spencer, President

We know that our alumni and friends around the world feel our pain and share our grief. Know that your concern and support gives us strength and courage to face the future. Our darkest hour truly has passed, and we now move forward as a family united under one of the finest and most respected universities in the world.

Tom Tillar
Vice President for Alumni Relations