Yankees Make Largest Donation to Tech’s Memorial Fundby Anthony Della Calce
May 24, 2007
The New York Yankees presented Virginia Tech with a $1 million donation to the Hokie Spirit Memorial fund before their game against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night. It was the largest single donation the university has received for the memorial fund.
Derek Jeter, captain of the Yankees, presented Virginia Tech president Dr. Charles Steger with the check in a pre-game ceremony. Steger was accompanied on the field by Vince Houston, captain of the Virginia Tech Police Department; Jason Dominczak and Matthew Johnson, members of the of the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad; and Jim Weaver, director of Virginia Tech athletics.
Jeter, general manager Brian Cashman, team president Randy Levine and chief operating officer Lonn Trost represented the Yankees on the field.
The men looked on as a memorial video was shown on the large scoreboard in center field as part of the ceremony.
After the presentation of the check, Steger threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Yankees catcher Jorge Posada. Steger and the other Virginia Tech representatives all wore Yankee caps emblazoned with the VT logo on the side. The Yankees wore the same caps during the game and Posada also had the VT logo on his catching gear’s chest protector.
Steger said he spoke to Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, the man responsible for writing the check, shortly before the ceremony. In a statement released by Steinbrenner, he said: “The events that took place this spring in Virginia have deeply affected us all. But the Virginia Tech community has shown great spirit and resolve during this difficult time, and the New York Yankees are proud to join so many others in supporting the healing process.”
During the game, Steger visited with Yankee broadcasters Michael Kay, Paul O’Neill and John Flaherty, who called the game for the YES network. Steger expressed his gratitude to the Yankees organization and said the university continues to work through the healing process. Steger also said that fall enrollment for the incoming freshman class was up from a year ago, which is a good sign as the university continues to move forward.
Furthermore, Steger said the Yankees are the only sports team to contribute money to the memorial fund, which was established to help the families of victims of the April 16, shootings. And the Yankees plans to help the university are not finished.
The Yankees said they plan to play an exhibition game against the Virginia Tech baseball team in 2008. The plan is to play the game in the Blacksburg area but a location and date have not yet been determined. In all likelihood, the game will be played during the Yankees spring training season next year.