YOU’RE A CAVALIER FOR LIFE
Having worn the Honors of Honor, you personify the success that we seek for our current student-athletes. In 2017, our goal is to have 2,100 student-athlete alumni make a gift. Whether you’re in a new industry or established in your community, you can make a difference as a Cavalier for Life.
Our 2017 Annual Fund goal of $19.2 million makes it possible for student-athletes to pursue the majors of their choosing while traveling domestically and abroad to compete and learn. By making an annual gift, you not only help your team, but all Virginia student-athletes who are here now. Every gift, no matter the size, creates an opportunity for student-athletes to achieve uncompromised academic and athletic excellence at the University of Virginia.
STUDENT-ATHLETE ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT
“Learning that donor support funds scholarships opened my eyes to how unique UVA is, it is something I want to be a part of. If this is the one small way that I can help student-athletes at this time then that is what I’ll do. It’s never been all about me. I invest in my University and help promote it to future generations.”
2013 UVA Arts & Sciences
2016 UVA Master of Education
Rijo Walker, a University of Virginia alumnus from Hampton, VA, has been striving for excellence ever since he arrived on Grounds. Competing for the UVA Football program from 2010-2013, Walker did not miss a single game during his four years of eligibility, competing in all possible 49 games.
Walker knew playing professionally would be a long shot and believed being honest with himself was the first step towards preparing for his life after intercollegiate athletics. Rather than preparing for the NFL combine, Walker sought out coaching opportunities. He coached at Virginia State University then returned to the University of Virginia in June 2015 as the special team’s graduate assistant. With the coaching change in January 2016, Walker shifted his focus towards recruiting the right type of student-athlete to the University of Virginia.
How did these experiences land him a position as the Team Operations Coordinator for the College Football Playoff? Walker states, “To say I had my eye on operations would be a lie; I was doing all these different things because I didn’t know what I wanted to do.” While Walker did not plan on entering a career in operations, his experience as a student-athlete combined with his coaching and recruiting experience fostered his ability to consider the coaches, student-athletes and fans perspectives. Walker noted, “This is a dream job and I am humbled to be here. It’s great to learn from some of the best people in the sports business.”
Although Walker was unsure what career he would pursue, those who worked with him could predict his success. Justin Anderson, Director of Player Personnel for the Football program stated, “Rijo was diligent and hardworking, he was always trying to improve and was always all in. That is why I believe he is so successful now.”
Please join us this year by making your commitment today. Cavaliers for Life who are recent graduates are eligible to participate in the Virginia Athletics Foundation’s Young Alumni Program, a way to directly impact Virginia Athletics through giving. For the first four years after graduation (two years for graduate students), the VAF will match a young alumnus’ gift up to $5,000, helping maximize their impact.
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