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Hokie Day 2016 will be remembered as Frank Beamer Day in the Commonwealth by Amy Kochert

    2016 Hokie Day

On February 3rd and 4th Virginia Tech students, alumni, and administration came together in Richmond for the 18th Annual Hokie Day.  A crowd of nearly 180 participants joined forces and filled the halls of the General Assembly building with maroon and orange pride.  

Hokie Day is an important tradition in which students, staff, and alumni gather together in Richmond to advocate for Virginia Tech in the General Assembly. In preparation for the event, students are familiarized with policy and budget issues that are important to Virginia Tech and heard in the General Assembly. Students and alumni team up, and meetings are scheduled to discuss higher education issues with legislators and staffers. This year higher education affordability was just one topic on the agenda. The perspective of the student is a powerful voice to be heard, but is often left out of the legislative process.

Our events commenced on February 3rd with a reception hosted by the Richmond Chapter of the Alumni Association.  The reception welcomed the traveling students, alumni, and administration and provided an opportunity for students to network. Following the reception, the students rested up for the big day ahead. We kicked off Hokie Day with a breakfast prepping the participants and briefing the attendees on the current issues on the floor. President Sands gave a welcoming and encouraging speech, which was followed by a budget outline provided by Chief Financial Officer, Dwight Shelton. Elizabeth Hooper, the Director of State Relations, concluded the remarks reminding the students of the lasting impact their personal stories can have with the legislators. The students and alumni were released to their meetings for the morning.

    2016 Hokie Day

Following the morning meetings with congressional legislators and staffers, the Hokies assembled for a picture outside the Capitol with the company of Governor McAuliffe and surprise guests Coach Frank Beamer and his wife, Cheryl. Governor McAuliffe read a Proclamation commending Frank Beamer to a crowd of cheering Hokies, declaring Feb 4th “Frank Beamer Day” in the Commonwealth. Frank Beamer retired at the close of the 2015 season after 29 years of coaching. He led the Hokies to 23 consecutive bowl games. Coach Beamer retired with a record of 238-121-2 which made him the Football Bowl Subdivisions’ winningest active coach when he retired. Students, friends, and family of Coach Beamer headed to the galleries of the House and Senate to watch him be recognized for his success and leadership of the Virginia Tech football team. “Enter Sandman” played on the floor as Frank Beamer was commended for his service to Virginia Tech.  

The students reconvened for a lunch and reflected on their morning meetings. While Frank Beamer was a highlight of everyone’s day, the students were impressed by the open and caring attitude of the legislators. One student noted, “My representative and I had a very candid conversation about the actual state of our school, how we plan to use the money, and how we, as students, are a really great investment.” Another student claimed, “They were all happy we were there.” The 18th annual Hokie Day was a tremendous success and would not have been possible without the efforts of the Alumni Association, the Student Government Association, and the Office of Government Relations.  A special thank you is due to all of the Hokies who represented Virginia Tech in Richmond with pride and respect.