Penn State fans may not have worn Virginia Tech's maroon and orange, but the spirit from April's Blue-White game was alive last night at the Bryce Jordan Center.
The Penn State community's efforts to honor the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings culminated last night as a $110,000 sum was donated to honor the victims in a ceremony held before the men's basketball game between Penn State and Virginia Tech.
The money donated was raised by downtown merchant the Family Clothesline, 352B E. College Ave., which sold orange and maroon shirts to honor the victims before the Blue-White football scrimmage last April.
The ceremony featured representatives from the Family Clothesline, Penn State forward Geary Claxton, Virginia Tech for ward Deron Washington, Penn State coach Ed DeChellis, Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg and the family of Jeremy Herbstritt, a Penn State alumnus and Bellefonte native who was killed in the April shooting.
Of the money raised, $55,000 went to the Jeremy Herbstritt Memorial Fund, which the Herbstritts established after the shooting to honor their son.
The other $55,000 went to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund.
Penn State's efforts to honor the victims have not gone unnoticed by the Virginia Tech community.
"It means a tremendous amount to everyone in part of the healing process, knowing that other people care and are concerned and are in it with us," Greenberg said. "We've been touched by the tremendous outreach of support. No one's done more than Penn State quite honestly."
Last April, the Penn State student body honored the victims of the shooting by drowning Beaver Stadium in maroon and orange and by displaying the Virginia Tech "VT" logo in a section of the stadium during the game.
This week, the Virginia Tech athletic department sent a letter of gratitude addressed to the "Penn State University Family."
"The ceremony at the Penn State spring football game and the outpouring of warmth from the students who formed the giant orange and maroon VT in the student section of Beaver Stadium was an incredible display of compassion and sympathy," the letter read. "On behalf of Virginia Tech students and the Hokie Nation we want to offer our sincerest thanks to the Penn State students, faculty and staff for your support and caring."
DeChellis and Claxton presented the Herbstritt family with a framed picture of the VT section.
Ben Gummo, son of Family Clothesline owner John Gummo, credited students for the idea. He said he got the idea to sell the shirts after seeing Facebook.com groups promoting the idea to wear maroon and orange to the Blue-White game.
The demand for the shirts surpassed John Gummo's expectations, as his store sold more than 17,000 of the shirts, he said.