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Lexington, Virginia 24450
 
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Lexington, Virginia 24450
 
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Burton Bacheller II and Ramona Hazera

Cadets’ parents are among the Institute’s most ardent supporters. They share its goals, believe in its methods, and, often, become generous financial supporters.
Two such people are the parents of Burton Bacheller III ’11: Burton Bacheller II and Ramona Hazera. They highly value the education their son received as a cadet, and they began donating to VMI while their son was still in Barracks. In October 2012, they established a permanent legacy of support by creating the Burton Bacheller III 2011 Scholarship.
The family had no connection to the Institute, save a family friend, John Duke Anthony ’62. In late 1990s, Ambassador Anthony, a widely recognized expert on Near East and North Africa, invited Mr. Bacheller and his son to accompany him to a foreign policy conference at VMI.
It was Mr. Bacheller’s first visit to VMI and its surrounding area, and he—and later his wife—fell in love with them. In 2003, Mr. Bacheller retired and moved to Lexington, while his wife stayed in northern Virginia with their son while he completed high school.
“We admired the school, of course,” said Ms. Hazera, “and we suggested he apply to VMI, Washington and Lee, and other schools, which he did. However, we never pushed VMI.” So, they were somewhat surprised when, in 2007, their son applied to VMI as an early decision candidate. “To us, it was an excellent choice,” said Mr. Bacheller. “We knew it was strong academically, and the low student-to-faculty ratio was encouraging. Yet, even more than the academic program, we thought that our son would get a lot from the Rat Line and the Honor System.”
With a house in Lexington, Mr. Bacheller and Ms. Hazera were able to see the development of their son and his Brother Rats during their time in Barracks in a way that few parents do. Mr. Bacheller recalled, “I distinctly remember General Peay telling parents on Matriculation Day that ‘You will not recognize your child when you next see him or her.’ He was right but the transformation doesn’t end with the Cadre period or Rat Year. These young people continue to grow throughout their years in Barracks. It’s truly remarkable.”
As to their decision to start contributing to their son was a cadet, Ms. Hazera said, “We believed in the mission of VMI, and we were deeply committed to help it from the very beginning.”
As why they continue their philanthropy, their reason is at once simple and profound. “VMI gave so much to our son,” explained Mr. Bacheller, “that we wanted to give back.”
Asked what they would say to parents of alumni who asked why they should start giving to VMI, Ms. Hazera responded, “Considering the education your child has received, how could you not give to this school?”