Photos Raise Money For Va. Tech Fund

Hokie Photos Virginia Tech/Dave Knachel

Virginia Tech's athletics department and a photo distribution site are helping to raise funds for a memorial fund for the 33 victims of last week's campus tragedy.

Profits from the sale of photographs of the candlelight vigil and convocation following the shooting, as well as athletic events, will be donated to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund.

On April 16, Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed two students in a dormitory. Two hours later, he killed 30 more people, and finally himself, in a classroom building, in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Normally, the Athletic Department earns royalties from the sale of photographs on the HokiePhotos.com site. Instead, the royalties will be redirected into the fund.

In addition, Replay Photos, which operates the HokiePhotos.com site, will donate its profits from the sale of photos to the fund. The donations will come from all Virginia Tech pictures through the end of May, and from sales at any time of any photographs relating to last week's events.

"We're doing it because we feel it's right thing to do," Sue Harnett, president of Replay Photos, told CBSNews.com. "The relationships that we have with our schools — we view ourselves as being more than a licensee, and if we can have any part in trying to do something good and help some folks, we feel like that's something we want to do."

"It's just a little thing that the athletics department can do to help," Tim East, Tech's associate athletic director for external affairs, said in an interview.

None of the department's athletes were injured in the shooting, but many of them knew people who were. Everybody on campus was affected, East said.

The candlelight vigil photograph has been especially popular.

"We posted it on our Web site, and we've received so many requests for it," East told CBSNews.com. "Dave (Knachel, the photographer) told me he was getting so many requests for it, and I can't recall — it might have been Dave's idea" to distribute it through Replay.

Harnett, who played basketball at Duke, says Replay works with 35 universities. Virginia Tech, which was signed three years ago, was its fourth school.

So far, the response to the fund-raising offer has been good.

"Our orders have just been rolling in like crazy; in the past two days, probably $11,000 in sales," she said.

Some of the money paid for photographs has to be paid to the third-party vendor who produces the prints, but "we are working with them to reduce that as much as possible.

"It's not going to be dollar-for-dollar, but it's going to be very close to that," she said.

  • Alfonso Serrano

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