509 Matriculate in Class of 2016
Five hundred nine cadets signed the Matriculation Book in Cameron Hall today. --VMI Photo by John Robertson IV.
LEXINGTON, Va., Aug. 18, 2012 – “You nervous? Excited? Scared?”
The questions, posed by Cadet Justin Smet ’14 to many of the 509 students stepping onto Virginia Military Institute’s Cameron Hall floor to matriculate, elicited many nods. Smet, a color sergeant who stood at a microphone calling cadets and their families onto the floor in groups of 10, was one of many of the Old Corps hard at work from early this morning to assure the orderly processing of one of the largest entering classes in VMI history.
Of the 509, 47 percent are from outside Virginia, 46 cadets are female, and 37 are transfer students. Thirty-six states plus the District of Columbia and seven countries are represented.
The class includes an unusually high number of international students from an interesting mix of countries, said Capt. Cindy Irby, international programs coordinator, who stood with Col. David Miller, international programs director, answering questions from new cadets and their parents in Crozet Hall during the Matriculation Fair. Entering VMI today were 14 international students on visas, in addition to several other international students who are permanent residents of the United States. VMI averages around eight international students a year, she said.
Four in the Class of 2016 are from the People’s Republic of China.
“They’ve all got very good English,” said Miller. “They’re all very excited about being here. And they’ve gotten to know their Brother Rats from Taiwan.”
Each year four cadets matriculate at VMI from the Republic of China military academies in Taiwan. In the Class of 2016 the four are joined by one private student. “This becomes one of those bridge-building things,” said Miller.
Only one other cadet in the Old Corps is from the People’s Republic, and in the past 10 years only four have come to VMI from China. Several of the four in the Class of 2016 have been in the United States for at least six months.
“They’re interested in military training. They’re interested in learning about the U.S. system. What they see in America is opportunity,” said Miller. “They all came knowing that VMI is a school with a lot of tradition and a lot of history and a great education.”
Also matriculating today were students from Canada, Italy, Malaysia, France, and Thailand.