Keydet Club Recognizes New Endowed Scholarships for Winter 2016
Jeanette P. Alligood Athletic Scholarship
The Keydet Club is pleased to recognize one of its newest scholarships to be established, the Jeanette P. Alligood Athletic Scholarship. The scholarship was established in 2016 through the generosity of Mr. Charles H. “Bud” Alligood.
Mr. Charles H. “Bud” Alligood matriculated at VMI from Hampton, Virginia, with the Class of 1961, majoring in history. As a cadet, he attained the rank of Sergeant and participated in the VMI Band and Glee Club.
Bud served in the U.S. Army for two years attaining the rank of captain. His professional career was spent with Burlington Industries.
Bud met his wife Jeanette Patton in June of 1959. Jeanette was Bud’s 1959 Ring Figure date at which time they were engaged. They were married shortly after graduation and were married for 47 years before her death in December of 2008. He has named this scholarship in her honor and to perpetuate her memory, their love, and their collective support of VMI.
Bud has been an avid supporter of VMI Athletics, a generous member of the VMI Keydet Club and is interested in helping future generations of VMI cadets attend the Institute.
William H. Blair, Jr.’64 Basketball Scholarship
The Keydet Club is pleased to announce the establishment of the William H. Blair, Jr. ’64 Basketball Scholarship. The scholarship was established through the generosity of Blair’s brother, Paul S. Blair ’75, Bill Blair’s wife Kathie and their two daughters Kristie Galic and Candace Blair. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a member of the VMI basketball team who best exemplifies the Spirit, of determination and a commitment to excellence – characteristics of the members of the ’75-’76 championship team – with preference given to an athlete from the State of Kentucky.
Blair matriculated at VMI from Whitesburg, Kentucky after attending Randolph-Macon Academy. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. As a cadet, Blair played a year of Rat basketball and lettered on the varsity team all three years. He was the starting forward for those three years while serving as co-captain of the team his First Class year. He led the Keydets in scoring during his Second Class (19.9 points) and First Class years (18.0 points per game). Blair scored 1,023 points in his career, and he is #9 in Career Scoring Average at VMI with 17.3 points per game. Blair was named Second Team All-Southern Conference in 1963, and he became the first Keydet ever to be named First Team All-Conference (Southern Conference) in 1964. He was also named to the All-Tournament Team in the Southern Conference Tournament in 1964. Blair led the 1964 team to the Southern Conference Championship before losing to Princeton in the NCAA Regionals.
Blair was named head coach at VMI in 1972. In 1974, he was named to the VMI Sports Hall of Fame. During the 1975-1976 season, Blair led the Keydets to the most memorable season in VMI Basketball history. His team won the first-ever regular season conference title before capturing VMI’s second Southern Conference Championship. VMI beat #9 Tennessee in the first game of the NCAA Tournament before beating #17 DePaul in the second round to reach the Elite Eight. With only one win away from reaching the Final Four, Blair’s Keydets fell to third-ranked and undefeated Rutgers University. Blair would leave VMI to become head coach at the University of Colorado for five seasons before embarking on a dozen years of being an NBA coach including head coaching stints with the New Jersey Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves.
“Coach Bill Blair’s ’64 accomplishments while a cadet-athlete and coach at VMI are truly amazing and give VMI Basketball a legacy of excellence,” remarked Keydet Club CEO Greg Cavallaro ’84, who was instrumental in working with the Blair family in funding the scholarship. He added: “It is fitting to honor Coach Blair and to celebrate all he accomplished at VMI and in his distinguished coaching career.”
The Elmon T. Gray ’46 Athletic Scholarship
Mr. Garland Gray II ’73, in conjunction with his son Garland Gray III ’10, has established The Elmon T. Gray ’46 Athletic Scholarship to honor his late father, Elmon T. Gray ’46. The scholarship will provide grant-in-aid to a cadet-athlete on the VMI football, baseball, track, and field, or wrestling team with preference given to those who matriculate from the State of Virginia, specifically Southside, VA.
Elmon Gray matriculated at VMI in 1942 from Waverly, VA. He left VMI in 1944 to serve with the U.S. Navy. After being discharged as an ensign in 1946, he returned to VMI to complete his degree, which he received in 1947. During his cadetship, he participated in the Monogram Club and was a member of the baseball team.
After VMI, he joined his family’s business, Gray Lumber Company, based in Waverly, VA. Originally centered on timber and lumber, it expanded into a diversified real estate holding company, becoming Gray Co in 1992. Gray served as the corporation's president for many years, and, at the time of his death, was its chairman. He also served on numerous boards, including Virginia Electric and Power Company, First and Merchants National Bank, James River Bankshares Ltd. and Universal Corp.
In 1972, Gray became a member of the Senate of Virginia, filing the same seat his father had held. During two decades of senatorial service, he was a member of many key committees and was widely respected by colleagues of both parties. In March 2009, VMI recognized his service to the Commonwealth by presenting him with the Harry F. Byrd, Jr. ’35 Public Service Award.
In 1980, the Institute’s Board of Visitors awarded him VMI’s highest honor, the New Market Medal. He was presented with the VMI Foundation’s Distinguished Service Award in 1977 and the VMI Keydet Club’s Spirit of VMI Award in 1991. In 2007, the Institute further honored him by naming its renovated baseball field Gray-Minor Stadium. In October 2007, he was also recognized for his dedication to VMI and his achievements in academics, leadership, and athletics when he was presented with the Keydet Club’s Three-Legged Stool Award.
“Senator Elmon Gray ’46 was, without question, one of VMI’s greatest leaders. He helped to advance the Institute in countless and important ways for a long number of years. Much of what he accomplished and assured has had a profound impact on funding for VMI athletics at the Division I level,” noted Keydet Club Board President Bill Paulette ‘69. Greg Cavallaro ’84, the Keydet Club’s CEO, added: “It is meaningful to see Senator Gray’s son G.G. and grandson Garland further impact the Keydet Club’s support for VMI athletics through the creation of this major athletic scholarship endowment to honor and perpetuate the memory of Senator Elmon Gray ’46.”
Brian J. Swiencinski ’88 Baseball Scholarship
The Keydet Club is pleased to recognize one of its newest scholarships the Brian J. Swiencinski ’88 Baseball Scholarship. The scholarship was established through the generosity of Brian J. Swiencinski ’88.
Brian J. Swiencinski ’88 matriculated at VMI from Fairfax Station, Virginia. Brian was a member of the VMI Baseball team from 1985-1988. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. Brian truly enjoyed the friendships he made while at VMI, and he is very grateful to his baseball coach Paul Maini ’66 for providing him with guidance and friendship throughout his cadetship.
Upon graduation, Brian started his career in pharmaceutical sales with Boehringer Ingelheim. Dr. Harvey Sadow ’44 was president of the company, giving Brian his first opportunity in the Health Care community. Brian spent twenty-five years with various medical device companies including Medtronic and Baxter Healthcare before starting his own pharmacy business. He is now the owner of five independent pharmacies with sales, known as Worth Medical.
He currently resides in Dallas, TX while also having a home in Newport Beach, CA, with his wife Nidia and daughter Stefan. He plays golf regularly and is involved with various charities including Repay and the Olga Sinclair Foundation. Brian now serves on the Keydet Club Board of Governors.
“I have enjoyed getting to know Brian and being a part of his engagement with the Keydet Club, and really appreciate his generosity and interest in advancing VMI’s Baseball program,” remarked Andrew Deal ’12, Keydet Club Assistant Vice President.