The West Virginia University Foundation announced today (Oct. 19) that The Pride Travel Fund has received over $80,000 from 654 donors. The fund was established in an effort to defer the cost of travel for the West Virginia University Mountaineer Marching Band, known as thePride of West Virginia.

A check will be presented to the band during halftime of the WVU vs. Mississippi State football game Saturday (Oct. 20).

Funding from the WVU Athletic Department and the Creative Arts Center has allowed the band to attend one regular season away game for the past several years. With additional help from the Travel Fund, the Pride traveled to the Friends of Coal bowl against Marshall Sept. 8, and also traveled to Syracuse Oct. 6. A pep band is planning a trip in November to the Cincinnati football game.

This fund allows us to travel to one or two away games,said Jay Drury, marching band director.Our band members enjoy performing on the road as much as our Mountaineer fans enjoy when we play.

The cost of traveling is expensive for the 370 member band, Drury noted. The trip to Marshall cost $23,000 while the trip to Syracuse was $63,000. Even a small trip to an in-state event or festival can cost nearly $12,000, he said.

With the financial support from WVU alumni and band supporters, the band will have the opportunity to increase its appearances.

We work hard to represent them (the fans and supporters),Drury said.I would really like to express our sincere gratitude and thanks to the supporters of this drive. Our hope is that they will continue to support the travel fund each summer.

Last year, the Foundations Band Aid Drive received $440,000 from donors for 400 new band uniforms. Additional funds from this drive went to the purchase of new band instruments.

Donors who contributed $500 or $1,000 to The Pride Travel Fund became a charter member of the distinguished 100 Mile Club. Those who donated $100 or more received a band CD, and all donors received a car decal.

The WVU Foundation is an independent 501�(3) corporation chartered in 1954 to generate, administer, invest and disburse contributed funds and properties in support of West Virginia University and its non-profit affiliates.