In 1934, the VMI Alumni Association established an Alumni Educational Fund (AEF), administered by John C. Hagan, Jr. '21, George D. Brooke '00 and James E. Easley '04. The first scholarships made from the AEF occurred in 1935 and went to two football players. From the beginning of the AEF, eligibility for the scholarship assistance required that the athletes be "VMI material."
Two years later, the VMI Foundation was established to provide general assistance to VMI, and the AEF was amended to concentrate on financial assistance for cadet-athletes. In 1948, the Sportsmen's Club was established to expand interest in the AEF. Hobert E. Doyle '09 was this organization's first president, and Herbert A. Jacob '09 served as secretary/treasurer. In 1958, the Sportsmen's Club voted to provide scholarships for basketball as well as football.
In 1971, the Sportsmen's Club changed its name to the current Keydet Club. The name “Keydet” became readily identified with VMI athletic teams in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Its origin is unknown, but may be a southern pronunciation of the word “cadet” or a West Point word referring to the gray color of cadet uniforms.
During the 1970s, the club began raising funds for all intercollegiate sports programs sponsored by VMI. The Keydet Club was incorporated in 1983 to facilitate in the raising of endowment for Phase II of the VMI Campaign. The AEF was renamed to its current name, the Keydet Club Scholarship Fund.
Beginning in 2000, the Keydet club changed its charter to allow it to begin raising the critical funds required to support athletic operations as well as athletic scholarships. Raising support for individual teams has become a significant part of the Keydet Club’s annual development efforts.