Valor and Service
VMI’s sixth Superintendent, (1946-1952) was Major General Charles E. Kilbourne (later Lieutenant General), He was the first service member to hold all three of the nation’s highest awards for valor and service—the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, and the Distinguished Service Medal. Seven Alumni have earned the Medal of Honor.
Committed to service and country.
Since the Institute was founded, VMI Alumni have fought in every war involving the United States, starting with the Mexican War just four years after VMI graduated its first class. VMI Alumni served in both the Confederate and Union forces during the Civil War. VMI Alumni continue to serve their nation with over 265 having achieved the rank of general or flag officer in the Armed Forces.
Today, following the tradition of George C. Marshall, VMI is dedicated to preparing leaders ready to defend the nation in wartime, but also with the vision to promote world peace. VMI continually reappraises its educational offerings to meet the changing demands of the twenty-first century.
Prepares a broad range of citizen soldiers and leaders of our time.
Member of Congress, Anglican Martyr, Academy Award-Winning Producer, Global Explorer, Rhodes Scholars, NFL Coaches, Pulitzer Prize Winner, World-Renown Sculptor, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Mayors, College Presidents, Members, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Best-Selling Authors, Secretary of State, Nobel Prize Winner
A foundation based on a distinguished faculty and academics.
Yesterday - After 1865 the faculty grew in stature including additions to the teaching staff by some of the most distinguished scientists in the country. One was Matthew Fontaine Maury, whose work in charting the ocean currents earned him the title of “The Pathfinder of the Seas.” (Both Stonewall Jackson and Maury subsequently were elected to the Hall of Fame of Great Americans.)
Today – Among VMI’s award-winning faculty is Dr. James Hentz, Professor of International Studies who was a 2007 recipient of Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award. Virginia Governors have also awarded VMI faculty “Shining Star” status, recognizing excellence in teaching to junior faculty.
At its very core, courage and valor.
Just before the Battle of Chancellorsville, in which he died, Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, after surveying the field and seeing so many VMI men around him in key positions, spoke the oft-quoted words:“The Institute will be heard from today.”
Educating world leaders.
George C. Marshall is one of VMI’s most distinguished graduates. Matriculating with the class of 1901, he began what was to become one of the most prestigious military careers of modern times. Marshall’s achievements after graduation include a steady rise in the Army to the five-star rank of General of the Army and Chief of Staff during World War II, Ambassador to China, Secretary of State and father of the Marshall Plan, head of the American Red Cross, Secretary of Defense, and Recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1953. Of his cadetship, Marshall once said, “What I learned at VMI was self-control, discipline, so that it was ground in. I learned also the problem of managing men.”
The Honor of self-sacrifice.
A 1961 graduate and valedictorian, Jonathan Daniels answered the call of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for clergy to assist with civil rights and voter registration efforts in the South. On Aug. 20, 1965, he was killed as he saved the life of a young black girl during a confrontation with a segregationist. He is honored in the Chapel of Martyrs and Modern Day Saints of England’s Canterbury Cathedral.