Cindy Bither
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Record Number of Female Cadets Matriculate

FullTextImage/img/@altA parent snaps a photo as a new cadet signs the Matriculation Book at Cameron Hall Aug. 17. -- VMI Photo by John Robertson IV.

New 4th Class Expected to be Part of the Largest Corps Ever

LEXINGTON, Va., Aug. 17, 2013 – More than 500 members of the class of 2017, including a record number of women, matriculated at Virginia Military Institute on a cool but drier than expected Saturday.

When the Old Corps returns on Aug. 25, VMI is expected to have its largest cadet population ever, with approximately 1,729 men and women. Over the summer, extra beds had to be installed in the barracks to make room for the surge in enrollment.

Overall, the class of 2017 includes 502 individuals. Of that group, 61 are female, making the percentage of women in the incoming class 12.2 percent. Well over half of the new cadets – 55.4 percent – are from Virginia, with the remaining 44.6 percent coming from out of state. The latter group includes cadets from 35 states and the District of Columbia. There are 103 recruited NCAA athletes in the class of 2017.

Last year’s incoming class was larger, at 509, but it included a smaller number of women. Forty-six female cadets signed the matriculation book in 2012. The previous record number of females entering VMI was 59 in the class of 2014.

Mechanical engineering is the most popular major among the new cadets, followed by international studies and then economics. Fifty-nine percent of the class of 2017 has declared a major in math, the sciences, or engineering.

This year’s new cadets include seven international students: four from Taiwan, and one each from Kenya, the Philippines, and South Korea. Lt. Col. Neil Whitmore, associate director of admissions, said that this is “probably” a record low number of international students matriculating at VMI. Fourteen international students matriculated at VMI last year.

“We’ve been a little more stringent with our demands on the international students,” said Whitmore. He explained that in the past, some international students have not been able to meet VMI’s fitness requirements, so his office has been working to ensure that only those who can meet VMI’s high standards for physical fitness are admitted.

Whitmore noted that interest in VMI has been strong among all students this year.

“It’s been a really enthusiastic class,” he commented. He added that many of those denied admission to VMI this year expressed an interest in attending another school and doing well there, with the goal of being accepted by VMI as a transfer student later.

–Mary Price