Summer 2017 Corps Review    |    Back

Cadets compete in the annual Jaffe Eager Squad and Eager Individual drill competitions, named in honor of the late Jeff Jaffe ‘42. Jaffe was a member of his unit’s Eager Squad when he was a cadet, and the experience meant so much to him that he wanted to make sure it was still a meaningful event today. Beginning in 2004, Jaffe donated the money to purchase the trophy and plaque, as well as annually giving the monetary award for the winning cadets.

Cadets drill in formation
Cadets compete in the annual Jaffe Eager Squad and Eager Individual drill competitions, named in honor of the late Jeff Jaffe ‘42. Jaffe was a member of his unit’s Eager Squad when he was a cadet, and the experience meant so much to him that he wanted to make sure it was still a meaningful event today. Beginning in 2004, Jaffe donated the money to purchase the trophy and plaque, as well as annually giving the monetary award for the winning cadets.

Thank you for sharing
By Sandi Bliss, chief advancement officer

First and foremost, I want to tell you all how excited I am to join the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets (VTCC). I look forward to working with and learning from you all. 

I am thrilled to be back at a land-grant university, notwithstanding a major weather change. As many of you may have read, I began my career in academic development at Oklahoma State University. I most recently worked as the development director for the provost at the University of Miami. 

The decision to move from Miami to Blacksburg was not made lightly. I was given the opportunity to apply for the position with the Corps last fall, shortly after losing my father, a Marine. I am honored and humbled to be given the chance to work with you and to honor my father’s legacy. 

In my first few months, I have learned so much about the Corps and Virginia Tech. The memory that stands out the most is meeting an amazing alumnus, Mr. Ray Carmines. He has just turned 90 years old and still ice skates, skis, plays golf, dances, and travels across the globe. Happy 90th birthday, Ray! 

In addition to meeting Ray, I greatly enjoyed working with a current cadet who spoke to some of you this past spring while volunteering in our student call center. As wonderful as it is for us when a busy cadet volunteers for this effort, I had not considered the meaning this experience brought to the cadet’s life until I was included in an email this cadet sent to the commandant, Maj. Gen. Randal D. Fullhart, thanking us all for the experience he had while hearing your stories. Thank you for sharing with him!

 

Inspired by alumni
By Scott Lyman ’84, associate director of development

By now, many of you have met me in person or seen my picture in the Corps Review. I would like to take this time to tell you about my history with the Corps. I retired from the Army three years ago, after a nearly 30-year career in which I rose to the rank of colonel. I was a career Army officer and so were my father and grandfather — three generations totaling 86 years of service. Besides myself, I have 20 relatives who have either gone to or graduated from Virginia Tech.

Upon seeing a job announcement for a Corps of Cadets development officer, I knew that Virginia Tech was where I needed to be. I saw this position as an opportunity to give back to the Corps and to live in a place that is near and dear to my heart. 

During my three years in this role, I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet some of the bravest, brightest, and most-selfless alumni that an organization could ever wish to have. 

As a development officer for the Corps, I truly understand the importance of my work and how it positively affects others.

I have had the opportunity to hear some of the most amazing stories of why our alumni give back to the Corps. One in particular stands out. 

I first met Steve and Connie Mitchell in September 2015 near their home in Carolina Beach, North Carolina. They wanted to establish a bequest from their estate to add additional funds to the scholarship named in memory of their son. Capt. David Seth Mitchell ’01 died on Oct. 26, 2009, while flying his AH-1 Super Cobra helicopter gunship in support of ground combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Prior to meeting the Mitchells, I wanted to ensure that I understood their bequest by researching their son’s death. I did not want to bring up old memories that day. However, during our conversation, when I told them I also was a helicopter pilot, they were intrigued. They proceeded to tell me about their son. 

The Mitchells have a special place in my heart. Their deep love for their son is both obvious and moving. Their generosity in establishing the VTCC Capt. D. Seth Mitchell ‘01 Memorial Scholarship is inspiring.

Don Sage ’56 and his wife, Mary Etta, pose with his saber before he donated it to the Corps for a current cadet to carry.

Don Sage ’56 and his wife, Mary Etta, pose with his saber before he donated it.
Don Sage ’56 and his wife, Mary Etta, pose with his saber before he donated it to the Corps for a current cadet to carry.

Connecting generations
By Kerry Meier VT’11, VT’15, development associate

It is with pride that I have twice walked across the Virginia Tech graduation stage: in 2011 for my bachelor’s degree from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and in 2015 to receive two master’s degrees from Pamplin College of Business. However, I can say that both Virginia Tech and the Corps were a part of my life even before I enrolled. 

My brother, Pat Meier ’08, was a member of E-Frat and now serves in the U.S. Coast Guard. I vividly remember watching the Corps ceremonies as his company marched across the Drillfield, each cadet in a pressed blue blazer and stark white pants. Cadets moved together as one unit, one family, one Corps. Recalling this discipline and camaraderie inspired me to become a development associate with the Corps of Cadets. This position gives me the opportunity to work with alumni daily on a one-on-one basis, which is the best part of my job. I am so grateful to have days filled with amazing tales of far-off lands, memories of dorm days at Virginia Tech, and the reverence for the Corps’ history and its rich traditions. I even had the chance to fly on a World War II bomber. 

What makes the work so rewarding is that I am a part of a group that creates connections between generations of Corps graduates. One of my favorite events to take part in planning is the donor breakfast at which the Emerging Leader Scholarship sponsors meet the cadets they are supporting and get to see how their support builds the future of the Corps. It’s so wonderful to watch the cadets soak in the stories from their donors — everything from snowball fights on the Drillfield to lives after graduation. This event shows donors the impact their scholarships have. In its own cyclical way, the event imprints the importance of investing in Virginia Tech and the Corps in the minds of cadets, to pay it forward as alumni have done before them. Being able to facilitate these connections and foster the development of the Corps, truly makes me feel like I am an integral part of the organization. I always look forward to another breakfast each fall!

 

Annual Giving

By Devon Smith, assistant director of Annual Giving

It is with great pleasure that I write my first official correspondence as the assistant director of Annual Giving for my alma mater, Virginia Tech. As an undergraduate, I possessed a respect for my classmates who chose to participate in the rigors of ROTC training — and forgo the option of wearing pajamas to class  — but I had very little understanding of what their commitment to the Corps entailed. That admiration and appreciation increased significantly when my younger brother, Ethan, joined the Corps as New Cadet Smith E.M. TC-2-3. I witnessed the transformation he went through, from being my baby brother to becoming a disciplined man in uniform, devoted to his fellow cadets in India Company and living Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) in his everyday life. 

Thank you all for your annual gifts to the Corps of Cadets. They make a tremendous impact and are deeply appreciated. Whether you give in response to our mailings, our calls, or our emails, your consistent generosity supports and inspires not only our cadets, but the university community at large. 

Within Annual Giving, we value your feedback on how we can improve the giving experience. One recent, major improvement we have made is a new, online giving page at givingto.vt.edu/donate. It is much easier to navigate on mobile devices than the site we had before. As a passionate Hokie and the proud sister of a cadet, I’m excited to join the team dedicated to advancing our university and its Corps.

 

Planned Giving
By Judith Davis, Office of Planned Giving

Gift planning is a way to leave a legacy at Virginia Tech. Gifts are typically funded with cash, securities, or property and are a long-term partnership between donors and Virginia Tech that provide support to important areas such as the Corps of Cadets and provide valuable tax benefits. 

There are many ways you can support the Corps with a gift that will help our brave young men and women realize their leadership potential.

“If it hadn’t been for my experience in the Corps, I would not be the person I am today. It gave me the discipline, leadership training, and self-confidence that I had not developed” before coming to Virginia Tech, said John W. Bates III ’63, recipient of the 2011 Ruffner Medal, the university’s highest award for distinguished service.

Learn how you can make a gift today, a gift in your will or even a gift that will pay your lifetime income. Contact the Corps Advancement Office at 540-231-2892. 

Get Involved: Donate

Learn how you can make a gift today by calling the Corps Advancement Office at 540-231-2892.