So in 1896, Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College changed its name to the much more concise and poetic Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute. For some reason folks wanted to shorten that 23-syllable name to V.P.I. With the new name, the school needed a new cheer. A senior, who may or may not have been sober at the time, won a contest with this:
Hoki, Hoki, Hoki, Hy.
Techs, Techs, V.P.I.
Polytechs - Vir-gin-ia.
Rae, Ri, V.P.I.
The beauty of this composition assured its immortality. Even though the word "Hoki" had no meaning, the school was not deterred. Early in the 20th century, Virginia Tech called its teams the Fighting Gobblers, and by the late 20th century the Hokie and the Gobbler were combined to create the HokieBird, the turkey-like thing Laura illustrates above.
Want to learn more? Read the Virginia Tech article, A Look at Virginia Tech Traditions