The German Club 130th Anniversary Gala Weekend of April 1-3, 2022, was absolutely fabulous! No doubt. Celebrating 130th years of leadership, service, and fellowship with fine GERMAN-ly attributes by all attendees with world class food, drink, and entertainment throughout was simply top-notch. The GCAF thanks and congratulates David Glenn ’11, the Alumni Relations Committee, our event planner Sherri Box, and all our fantastic vendors for a job well done.

The pictures in our Summer 2022 Forum magazine tell the story, but a summary of the weekend is as follows.

Sixteen teams of 63 golfers kicked off the Anniversary weekend at the Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech on Friday morning, April 1. While challenged by typical New River Valley April conditions (cold, wind, and light rain), with minimal grumbling by our attendees from the deep south, the teams played through (mostly). Stories were told, old acquaintances were renewed, new friends were made, and even some golf was played. While all enjoyed the events, a few golfers and teams actually won prizes for their golf prowess:

Team winner: Wacho Slaughter ’84, Joe Thomas ’84, Cole Baldwin, ’21, and Sarah Spicer
Putting contest: Kyle Pryde ‘12
Longest Drive: Cole Baldwin ‘21

Friday evening, over 350 attendees convened in the Squires Student Center Commonwealth Ballroom for a Welcome Reception. German Club President Matthew Snuggs ’23 welcomed everyone back to Blacksburg and provided the opening comments, noting the impact the German Club has made on the university as one of the many things that makes the German Club so special. He encouraged the attendees to promote good conversation, and continue good fellowship, as after the difficulties of the pandemic, these relationships were more important than ever before.

GCAF President Keith Stemple ’95 followed by acknowledging the efforts the Club had made over the previous two years, emerging from the pandemic stronger than ever. He followed with a reminder that the German Club, as the oldest student organization on campus has not simply existed, but has flourished for 130 years, being intrinsically linked to the history of Virginia Tech. He then noted the significance of holding this reception in Squires, reminding attendees of the many years of Germans and Midwinters that had occurred there. Keith next recognized Club Mother Trudy van Luyn for her 14 years of service to the German Club, as she had announced that she was stepping down. Matthew Snuggs then presented Trudy with a memory book of letters, cards, and class composites from her many German Club men.

Next, Virginia Tech President Dr. Timothy Sands provided the keynote address. He discussed Virginia Tech’s own 150th Anniversary, the many accomplishments and improvements that have been made at the university over the years, while most importantly noting that the German Club had been instrumental to the success of Virginia Tech.

After the presentations, the Welcome Reception continued into the evening, as German Club alumni, guests, and University guests enjoyed the good company and fare. When it was time to vacate Squires, nearly 300 attendees regrouped across the street at Top of the Stairs where the fellowship continued well into the early morning hours.

Then came the Gala event on Saturday night at the German Club Manor and attended by 800 alumni and guests. Fellowship was again on display, as Alumni Hall, the Gordon Ballroom, the newly opened Cutchins Terrace paver courtyard, and a vast array of tented areas in the Manor parking lots were flooded with guests. GCAF President Keith Stemple ’95 again addressed the guests, first offering thanks to those who made the event happen, specifically David Glenn ‘11, Ms. Sherri Box, and the GCAF Executive Director Tommy Yambrick ‘87. Keith next announced and welcomed David Cooper ’83 as the newly elected GCAF President and bid farewell to Bert Poole ’77 who had recently been honored as GCAF Chairman Emeritus.

Briefly noting that the Foundation for the Future campaign was soon coming to an end, Keith next noted the many improvements to the Manor as the University and Southwest Virginia’s premier facility. He then thanked Brian Dunch ’93, T.O. Williams ‘59, and Mike Carisetti ‘07 for their efforts in devising and kicking off the campaign, and again recognized Brian Dunch for carrying the campaign to completion. He announced that with just a few months to go, the campaign had exceeded $3.6M in total contributions, thanking all those who had contributed, and ensuring that the campaign would greatly exceed the original goal of $2M.

Keith closed with the German Club line that speaks to him the most: “Work earnestly always for the good of the German Club.” He challenged all German Club men to step up and do their part to help the German Club move forward.

Following remarks, ATL Groove Factory, a 14-person band, kicked it off in Gordon Ballroom, with live feeds through the Manor and the tents. They played for four continuous hours, entertaining the guests with their motion, movement, involvement, and energy; in addition to a host of old-time favorites, beach music, line dances, and modern hits. Down in the Manor Basement, DJ Roy from RSP Entertainment entertained hundreds of more guests until midnight. Food and beverage were non-stop, fellowship was on display, decade photos were taken, and memories were relived.

And just when you thought it was all over, the after party continued in the basement. The next morning, Sunday April 3, over 300 guests reconvened at the Manor for a complimentary breakfast and even more good times and fellowship.

130 years. Wow. This celebration was big. While some might say it was a once in a lifetime event, we’re already thinking about the 135th Anniversary in 2027. See you there!