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VMI Beats The Citadel in First Silver Shako Showdown

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Two winners were announced at this year’s Military Classic of the South game. Though the coveted Silver Shako trophy was won by The Citadel Bulldogs, the Keydets reigned supreme in the first-ever young alumni giving challenge: The Silver Shako Showdown.

“Our young alumni responded to the challenge in superb fashion, not only beating The Citadel, but also providing substantial financial support to the Institute,” said Brian Crockett, chief executive officer of the VMI Foundation.

According to the Foundation’s vice president for Annual and Reunion Giving, John Wranek ’85, of the Institute's 5,500 young alumni, 751 participated in the Showdown, a rate of 13.6 percent. The Citadel’s final participation figure was 10.8 percent.

In August 2013, The Citadel Foundation approached VMI with the Showdown idea. Young alumni were alerted through several emails and a postcard mailing. The Foundation’s Stewart Wilkinson ’12 and the Keydet Club’s Andrew Deal ’12 encouraged fellow alumni to step up.

“Overall, the Silver Shako Showdown was a huge success, and it feels good to beat The Citadel,” Deal said.

Working with the VMI Office of Communications and Marketing, a video, website, and a “Beat The Citadel” sticker were created. Young alumni gifted an impressive $195,000, and 184 made their first gift to VMI through the challenge.

“The Silver Shako Showdown was a fun and creative way to engage and educate our young alumni,” said Jay Dowd, chief executive officer of The Citadel Foundation. “Partnering with VMI offered an opportunity to play up our friendly military rivalry in a contest for bragging rights that ultimately benefited each of our schools. Congratulations, VMI. We’ll get you next year – both on and off the field!”

Editor’s Note: For more details, see the Silver Shako Showdown article in the Foundation section of Issue 2 of the 2014 edition of the VMI Alumni Review.