Costen Family Athletic Scholarship Created
Ralph L. Costen’s financial support of VMI started soon after he graduated from VMI in the spring of 1970 with a Bachelor’s Degree in History. He became a board member with the VMI Club of Richmond in 1974 and was its President for a year spanning 1979-80. His enthusiasm and leadership were recognized, and he was invited to serve on the Alumni Association Board of Directors from 1979 – 1985. Following his term on the Alumni Board, he was asked to join the Keydet Club Board of Governors. He served on the Keydet Club Board and as a member of the Executive Committee for 14 years until he became its President, serving for two fiscal years - 1999 and 2000. Today, he remains on the Executive Committee, first as the Immediate Past President and now as the Historian of the Keydet Club.
Throughout the last 30 years, Ralph and Marsha Costen have been recognized amongst VMI’s most loyal and generous supporters of VMI athletics – evidenced in 2011 when they were awarded the Keydet Club’s Spirit of VMI Award. VMI and the Keydet Club have always been able to count on the Costens to step up in the time of need. Recently, recognizing VMI’s need to increase athletic endowment during the recently launched VMI Campaign, the Costens again answered the call by creating The Costen Family Athletic Scholarship. “I guess my drive to get involved and support VMI was more out of the tremendous gratitude I had, and still have, for the opportunities VMI has given me. I’m not proud of it, but the fact is, I was initially turned down for admissions in the winter of 1966, but strong encouragement from a few VMI alumni at that time got me an opportunity for which I will forever be grateful. I wasn’t a good student nor was I an outstanding cadet, but VMI certainly impacted me and my life, and I believe VMI still impacts the lives of so many young people today” said Costen.
“Ralph and his wife Marsha have always done whatever they could to support VMI, and now, along with their son Ralph L. Costen, III ’97 (Tripp) and his wife Jill Sisler Costen, daughter of Mike Sisler ’70, they have created an endowed scholarship that will ensure their love and their continued financial support for VMI athletics will remain for perpetuity,” noted Keydet Club CEO Greg Cavallaro ’84. “Ralph Costen, like his friendship, is an alumnus who can always be counted on to step up and do whatever he can to make things happen. The establishment of this endowed scholarship reinforces who he is and how he, Marsha, and Tripp feel about The Institute. VMI will continue to benefit from the Costen family’s actions and example for many, many years to come. It is only fitting that now in addition to VMI’s basketball floor being named Costen Court, that this scholarship will forever make the Costen family name synonymous with VMI athletics and the Keydet Club,” remarked Keydet Club Board President Bill Paulette ’69.
Ralph L. Costen '70 with his wife Marsha and
their son Ralph L. Costen, III '97 (Tripp) and his wife Jill Sisler Costen, and their children.