Cindy Bither
Administrative Assistant
P: (540) 464-7207
F: (540) 464-7443

111 Smith Hall
Lexington, VA 24450

43 Graduate in Midyear Ceremony

FullTextImage/img/@altNew graduates celebrate after the ceremony in Jackson Memorial Hall. Photos of today's graduation and commissioning are displayed at VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.

LEXINGTON, Va., Dec. 18, 2013 – Surrounded by family, friends, and faculty, 43 cadets graduated from Virginia Military Institute during commencement exercises held earlier today in Jackson Memorial Hall.

The keynote speaker, Brig. Gen. R. Wane Schneiter, dean of the faculty, encouraged the graduates to live deliberate lives – and, most importantly, lives in which they define success for themselves.

“Most would agree that success is some balance between our professional, personal, and public lives,” said Schneiter. “There must be a correlation between a successful life and a happy life.”

Schneiter quoted Heinrich Harrer, author of Seven Years in Tibet, saying, “We humans often experience happiness without recognizing it. Later, we realize that, at such and such a moment, we were happy.”

Because of this, Schneiter urged the graduates to remain perpetually alert as they continue on life’s path.

“Reflect on who you are and who you are becoming,” said Schneiter. “Correct your course when necessary and come to an understanding of what success means to your happiness and how you will define a successful life.”

VMI Superintendent Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62 also addressed the graduates, telling them, “We wanted you to succeed, thought you could succeed, and you have succeeded.”

Peay advised the graduates to take the values that VMI inculcates – honor, teamwork, discipline, precision, and time management – and apply them to their lives, especially as they serve their communities.

“You have the potential to make a difference in the world, and an obligation to realize that potential,” said Peay.

The academic major most heavily represented at today’s ceremony was economics and business. Thirteen of the 43 graduates majored in that field. History was the second most popular major, with five graduates.

The majority of the new graduates – 28 – came to the Institute from Virginia.

Eight of those graduates commissioned in the armed forces on Tuesday, Dec. 17.

Four graduates accepted commissions in the Army. Second Lt. Anthony J. Augustine, an economics and business major, will attend the Medical Service Basic Officers Leaders Course at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Second Lt. Thomas A. Bradshaw II, who majored in chemistry, was a distinguished military graduate, meaning that he ranked in the top 20 percent in the country. He has been assigned to the Transportation Corps Basic Officer Leaders Course at Fort Lee, Va.

Second Lt. Keslie N. Carrion, who majored in international studies and political science with a writing minor, will attend the Military Police Corps Basic Officer Leaders Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. Second Lt. Robert H. Purvis, who received a bachelor’s degree in international studies and a minor in English, has been assigned to the Ordnance Basic Officer Leaders Course at Fort Lee.

An additional December graduate commissioned in the Army earlier in the year. Second Lt. Michael R. Andriani III has been assigned to the Quartermaster Corps at Fort Lee.

Two graduates, 2nd Lt. Patrick R. Byrne and 2nd Lt. William M. Wine, commissioned in the Marine Corps. Both majored in mechanical engineering and will attend The Basic School at Quantico, Va.

An additional two graduates, Heather M. Chichura and Steven J. Domingo Jr., commissioned in the Navy. Ensign Chichura, an applied mathematics major, will attend Naval Flight School in Pensacola, Fla. Ensign Domingo, a civil engineering major, will attend the Basic Division Officer Course.

Photo of both ceremonies are posted to the VMI photo blog,

–Mary Price