Here is the answer to that oft-posed question, "What's a Hokie?" and an explanation of other Tech traditions.
What is a Hokie? The origin of the word "Hokie" has nothing to do with a turkey. It was coined by O. M. Stull (class of 1896), who used it in a spirit yell he wrote for a competition.
Here's how that competition came to be held. Virginia Tech was founded in 1872 as a land-grant institution and was named Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College. In 1896, the Virginia General Assembly officially changed the college's name to Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute, a name so long that citizens shortened it in popular usage to VPI. The original college cheer, which made reference to the original name of the institution, was no longer suitable. Thus, a contest was held to select a new spirit yell, and Stull won the $5 top prize for his cheer, now known as Old Hokie:
Hoki, Hoki, Hoki, Hy.
Techs, Techs, V.P.I.
Polytechs - Vir-gin-ia.
Rae, Ri, V.P.I.
Later, the phrase "Team! Team! Team!" was added at the end, and an "e" was added to "Hoki."
Since the university had a new name and a new yell, new college colors seemed to be a desirable next step. During 1896, a committee was formed to find a suitable combination of colors to replace the original colors of black and gray, which appeared in stripes on athletic uniforms and presented an image resembling prison uniforms.
The committee selected burnt orange and Chicago maroon after discovering that no other college utilized this particular combination of colors. Burnt orange and Chicago maroon were officially adopted and were first worn during a football game versus nearby Roanoke College on Oct. 26, 1896.
I had never heard this term before yesterday but now I know what a Hokie is