Contrary to popular belief, the origin of the word "Hokie" had nothing to do with a turkey.
To be brief, the name of the school was changed in 1896 to "Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute."
This was obviously too long for the general populous, so they shortened it to VPI.
With a new name, a new school cheer was needed. A contest was held, and O. M. Stull won it with this little ditty:
Hoki, Hoki, Hoki, Hy.
Techs, Techs, V.P.I.
Polytechs - Vir-gin-ia.
Rae, Ri, V.P.I.
Eventually an "e" was added to Hoki to form what we have today.
For a long time, until as recently as the late '70s, the team nickname was the "Gobblers."
At that time, the coach of the "Gobblers" did not like the image associated with the football team, which he believed to be football players gobbling their food, and so, he began promoting "Hokies."