Lori Parrent
Secretary to Gen. Peay

P: (540) 464-7311
F: (540) 464-7660
E: parrentlr@vmi.edu

201 Smith Hall
Virginia Military Institute
Lexington, VA 24450

 Remarks at the Parade for Governor McDonnell 

General J.H. Binford Peay, III Superintendent
Remarks 23 March 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to today’s parade by the VMI Corps of Cadets in honor of the Governor of the Commonwealth, the Honorable Robert F. McDonnell.

A parade in honor of the Governor is not only a ceremonial occasion and a high honor for the Institute, but underscores the very special place accorded to VMI.  By reason of his position as Virginia’s Chief Executive, Governor McDonnell is also the Commander-in-Chief of the state’s military establishment, and that includes the Virginia Military Institute.  Thus, in our parade today, the Corps of Cadets will be passing in review for its top civilian leader.

While Mrs. McDonnell could not be with us this afternoon, we (also) express our admiration to her for her contributions to the Commonwealth, significant support of her husband, and raising five children along their family’s journey.

This will not be the first time the Corps of Cadets has had the honor of parading for Governor McDonnell.  On January 16th, 2010, the Corps had the honor of participating in his gubernatorial inaugural ceremonies in Richmond. And though there was no parade during the Governor’s first official visit to VMI in April 2010, when he addressed that year’s Environment Virginia Symposium, the VMI community was honored by his presence.  It is with the warmest feelings, therefore, that we welcome him back to VMI today to take this parade in his honor.

Governor McDonnell is no stranger to military organizations.  He served 21 years in the United States Army, both on active duty and in the Reserves, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1997.  Before that, he lived the life of what is affectionately known as a “Service Brat.”   His Father was a career Air Force officer, who retired in 1964 in Virginia, where Governor McDonnell finished high school in Alexandria.  This was followed by the award of an Army ROTC scholarship to Notre Dame University, where he graduated in 1976 with a commission in the Army.

His service took him to Germany, and then stateside until 1981, when he entered civilian life and employment with a growing medical supply company.  Education has always remained important to him -- he earned two masters degrees – and service in the Reserves continued.  Law school followed and then entry into public life when he was elected to the House of Delegates, representing the 84th District and Virginia Beach.  He won that first election, and has never lost one since.

After a term as Virginia’s Attorney General, he successfully campaigned for the state’s highest office, and in 2010 became Virginia’s 71st Governor. 

Service, honor, passion, and hard work -- those are some of his values.  And they resonate “perfectly” with the values of the young men and women who will parade before him today.

 Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome, the 71st Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, The Honorable Robert F. McDonnell.