BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 28, 2005 – A standing-room-only crowd of alumni, donors, and friends of Virginia Tech gathered for the formal dedication of the new Holtzman Alumni Center, Skelton Conference Center, and The Inn at Virginia Tech at 2 p.m. today. The celebration was held in the complex’s Latham Ballroom.
Elizabeth A. Flanagan, vice president for development and university relations, thanked the crowd for making the complex a “prime example of the power of private philanthropy at an educational institution.” Tom Tillar, vice president for alumni relations, spoke of the lifelong loyalty of Virginia Tech’s graduates and the alumni commitment to giving the Alumni Association a home of its own. John Dooley, vice provost for outreach and international affairs, stated the complex is “a showcase for the university’s outreach and international missions — a center for the dissemination and sharing of knowledge” and “a world-class facility for a world-class university.”
Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger stressed that funding for the complex came from private donors only. He paid tribute to major benefactors William B. Holtzman of Edinburg, Va. after whom the alumni center is named, and William E. Skelton and Margaret Skelton of Blacksburg after whom the conference center is named. He praised Holtzman as a “diehard Hokie” who “lives by the university’s motto of Ut Prosim (that I may serve).” Steger also praised the Skeltons for their years of service to the university as faculty, as donors, and volunteers. Bill Skelton served as chair of the fund raising and facilities planning committees for the new center. Steger presented Holtzman and the Skeltons with gifts and assisted them in unveiling plaques in their honor that will be mounted in the complex.
At the conclusion of the formal program, the Skeltons and Holtzmans went outside to the building’s cornerstone where they were joined by the Hokie Bird and broke bottles of champagne to ‘launch’ the new complex.
The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets band, the Hightie Tighties, provided a musical welcome at the entrance to The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center and played “Tech Triumph” at the champagne ceremony. The Martel Jazz Group played on the balcony overlooking the Latham foyer before the dedication and during the reception and tours of the buildings that followed.
Located on 25 acres with panoramic views of the Alleghany Mountains and the New River Valley, the new 193,020-square-foot complex has three wings. A record quantity of Hokie Stone, 2,741 tons, or 82,236 individually cut stones, has been used for the four-story structure. The building’s natural materials blend well with the trees and rolling hills that surround it. No state funds were spent on construction.
Sheretz Franklin Crawford Shaffner Inc. of Roanoke designed the building, working with University Architect Scott Hurst. Robert D. Livingstone of Virginia Tech’s Department of Capital Design and Construction was project manager and worked with Branch & Associates Inc. of Roanoke to complete the construction.
Inside, design firms Clark Nexson of Virginia Beach and Design Continuum of Atlanta used stone, wood paneling with custom stain, and fabrics featuring Virginia Tech maroon and burnt orange to create a distinctive, warm, and welcoming décor.
Construction began with the groundbreaking ceremony on April 26, 2003. The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center opened in July, 2005, and the alumni center opened in September. The full complex is now hosting conferences, alumni events, hotel guests, weddings, and other special events.