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Virginia Tech breaks new ground with alumni magazine


BLACKSBURG, Va., March 1, 2005 – Continuing its tradition of forging new ground in technology, Virginia Tech has issued its alumni magazine on a DVD, possibly the first university in the country to do so.

With the exception of its class-notes section, the winter issue of Virginia Tech Magazine was released in DVD format to 100,000 alumni and friends of the university. The class notes, a listing of achievements and other news about the university's alumni, were published in the magazine's standard printed format, which was shrink-wrapped with the DVD for distribution.

"With so much of the world's communications moving into an electronic format, it seemed appropriate to use such a format to emphasize to our alumni and other friends Virginia Tech's role as a leader in and innovator in the use of technology," said Clara B. Cox, director of the publications and outreach communications unit in University Relations. "This DVD links the world of print, computers, and video, which we think may be a first for a university alumni magazine."

Sherry Bithell, editor of Virginia Tech Magazine, solicited feedback from alumni and has already heard from a number of them. "There does seem to be a bit of a generational gap — many older alumni don't have DVD players or computers. But there are some notable exceptions to that, including alumni from the 1990s who say the same thing and alumni from the 1940s who report that they love the DVD. The overall consensus from alumni who watched the DVD, however, is that they felt as though they were back on campus — or that they never left," she said.

Included on the DVD are a message from President Charles Steger and several features in the areas of "Today's Campus," "Today's Hokies," and "Tomorrow's Solutions." In addition to the segments developed by the magazine staff, the DVD includes several new features used by the university in recruiting and marketing.

Bithell developed the ideas for the magazine "articles" and worked closely with members of the visual and broadcast communications unit in University Relations, who narrated and filmed the DVD contents. "Voice of the Hokies" Bill Roth narrated a sports segment, and Virginia Tech alumnus Dan Pezzoni of Lynchburg contributed to one of the features.

The special DVD issue of the magazine was funded by the Office of University Relations with assistance from the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, Alumni Relations, and University Development.

The DVD can be viewed online at http://www.vtmagazine.vt.edu.



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