Program Contact 

Colonel James Turner PHD '65 
Professor and Chair of Biology 
Science #203A 
Virginia Military Institute 
Lexington, VA 24450 

P: 540-464-7436 
F: 540-464-7047 

VMI Shepherd Poverty Program

Student Preparing Food in KitchenVMI’s Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability integrates academic study and learning through service and reflection.

The program’s focus is two-fold:

  • to inform cadets regarding the issues related to poverty
  • to determine what can be done to foster human capabilities for communities and individuals who have been left behind in domestic and international development.

Benefits include:

Providing a structure for student leadership and volunteer service in the local Rockbridge community and summer internships across the nation as a part of VMI’s effort to accentuate student honor, leadership and learning.

In keeping with VMI’s mission to cultivate citizen soldiers, the Shepherd Program seeks to offer opportunities for cadets to acquire skills and qualities of character that dispose them to serve communities and disadvantaged individuals.

In the future cadets can be conscious of how their conduct as leaders, professionals, and citizens will affect the opportunities of disadvantaged persons to contribute to a better life for themselves, their families and their communities. Thus, the Shepherd Program is integral to the total education on which VMI prides itself.