Focus on Philanthropy: Ray Carmines '51

Ray Carmines, at right, laughs as Laura Sands, at left, shows him a piece of paper.
Ray Carmines, at right, shares a moment with Laura Sands, at left, at the 2017 Ut Prosim Society New and Advancing Dinner.

As a student, Ray Carmines ’51 never served in a leadership role with the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets (VTCC). But his cadet experience continues to inspire him to seek out other opportunities.

 “My time in the Corps gave me the feeling that I could become the leader in church, in business, and in life,” he said.

Carmines, a competitive figure skater, says philanthropy is an expression of leadership. He led the Class of 1951’s effort for its 50th reunion and has endowed the Ray Carmines, Jr. Scholarship for Virginia Tech athletics and the VTCC Ray Carmines, Jr. ‘51 Endowed Scholarship for the Corps.

Q: Why did you decide to fund an Emerging Leader Scholarship (ELS)?

A: The two semesters I spent in the Corps were the most enjoyable time I spent at Virginia Tech. It added to me as a person, a husband, and as a father. My father was a strong supporter of Virginia Tech, and my daughters love it. As a family, we came to Virginia Tech for football games and events as they grew up. Three of my four daughters graduated from Virginia Tech, and all four were valedictorians of their high schools. I am proud of the legacy our family scholarships have created for them. Most importantly I do it because I want to.

Q: What rewards do you get from participating with the ELS program?

A: I drive 600 miles round trip to attend the annual fall ELS breakfast [for donors and cadet scholarship recipients] and associate with the outstanding members of the Corps. It’s a pleasure that I have that many people will never have. I love the time I spend with my cadet recipients and look forward to it each year.

Q: What leadership lessons from your time in the Corps of Cadets do you use the most today?

A: Learning to lead has enabled me to seek out leadership opportunities in clubs, my community, my alumni chapter, politically, and in business. I have served as vice mayor of Poquoson (Virginia), led city planning, and chaired the local Red Cross efforts. I am very proud to have chaired my class of 1951 toward their 50th reunion gift to raise money for the alumni association. At almost 91 years young, I still compete in ice skating, golf, and bowling. At the age of 89, I learned I was 10 years older than any other skater on international teams. Who knew I was leading the pack?