Virginia Tech – What is a Hokie?

Now, you might be wondering what exactly a Hokie is, and if you are, you are reading the right article. The answer is, really, nothing at all. It is a simple made up word that began as part of a cheer, started by O.M. Stull from the class of 1896. Because the school had just changed its name, they saw an opportunity to also create a new cheer for Virginia Tech by holding a spirit competition. As part of that spirit competition, students were supposed to come up with Virginia Tech cheers and his went as follows:

Hoki, Hoki, Hoki, Hy.
Techs, Techs, V.P.I.
Sola-Rex, Sola-Rah.
Polytechs – Vir-gin-ia.
Rae, Ri, V.P.I.

This cheer won him the slotzeus88 competition, along with a nice prize of five whole dollars, and his cheer is now known as Old Hokie. They later added an extra “e” to the word “Hoki” and they also put “Team! Team! Team!”. This was done at the end of the cheer. Although Stull may claim to have come up with the word for the purpose of grabbing attention, the word already existed as a word that people would use when they were trying to express excitement or surprise since 1842.

Seeing as the university had just gotten a new name and now they had just chosen a new cheer, it seems fitting that new college colors would come next. In 1896, Virginia Tech formed a committee whose goal was to find a new set of colors that would replace the original black and grey colors, which due to their striping pattern, looked a whole lot like prison uniforms. The committee decided on burnt orange and maroon chiefly because of the fact that they were unique as college colors in that combination.

This is the most popularly believed story about how the word “Hokie” came about, however there is an interesting conspiracy theory that is the alternative. The story goes that in that same year, 1896, the very same O. M. Stull reported the first of what became many sightings of a very large bird that lived in the nearby mountains of southwest Virginia. This version offers a connection to Virginia Tech’s mascot and explains that the actual derivation of the word came from Stull’s commanding officer who dismissed the bird as being “hokey”. From there, the mascot became fondly knows as the HokiBird. Although this is a fun story, it is very unlikely and the explanation of the word given by the university is much more believable