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Virginia Tech creates funds to honor shooting victims

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Tech has taken $3.2 million, almost half of the money donated to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund in the aftermath of the shootings that left 33 people dead, and created 32 funds to honor each of the victims.

The funds, individually set up in the names of the 27 students and five faculty members killed in the April 16 shooting spree by student Seung-Hui Cho, are fully endowed at $100,000. How the money will be used will be determined by each victim’s family, the university said in a news release Wednesday.

A fund was not set up for Cho, who ended the massacre by taking his own life.

The Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, set up immediately after the tragedy, has received approximately $7 million in donations from nearly 20,000 sources as large as the New York Yankees and as small as Little League Baseball teams.

“People all over the world could not have been nicer for showing their support for Virginia Tech,” said Elizabeth Flanagan, the school’s vice president for development and university relations, in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

“We had no idea how many friends we really had.”

Flanagan recalled a conversation with a Hurricane Katrina victim who, despite having lost his home, called to say he was sending $10 to show his support for the “Hokie family.”

“It is one big family and now we have a lot of extended members,” Flanagan said.

Officials anticipate the first awards from each fund will be made this fall.

“It’s a noble gesture,” said Paul Turner, father of 22-year-old Maxine Turner, of Vienna.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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