Vision 2039

Vision 2039 - Focus on Leadership

Vision 2039’s master plan aims at improving the academic, military, and athletic programs and the infrastructure of the Institute to enhance cadet leadership development and the environment in which it takes place. The Institute’s time-tested, hands-on environment develops leaders by combining education, experience, and training. Vision 2039 advances and enhances that environment.

But there is much more to that environment than courses, training programs, and physical facilities. For leadership is more than a skill. It has moral and ethical dimensions. It is a question of character. The character of the individual cadet is directly influenced by the prevailing culture of the Institute, and Vision 2039 addresses this important aspect of VMI. The way cadets – men and women – live together and work together while at VMI lays the foundation for the way they will live and work throughout their lives. The culture of VMI develops in cadets the highest standards of honor, respect, civility, self-discipline, and professionalism.

From Vision 2039 spring many initiatives and specific plans – from architects’ drawings for new buildings, to refinements in the academic curriculum, to increased technology, to a Post on display that resonates with history and a Corps of proud, disciplined, and civil cadets. In the end, it will have positioned VMI in today’s world to continue to fulfill its mission into the future.

The Virginia Military Institute believes that the measure of a college lies in the quality and performance of its graduates and their contributions to society.

Therefore, it is the mission of Virginia Military Institute to produce educated, honorable men and women, prepared for the varied work of civil life, imbued with love of learning, confident in the functions and attitudes of leadership, possessing a high sense of public service, advocates of the American democracy and free enterprise system, and ready as citizen-soldiers to defend their country in time of national peril.

To accomplish this result, the Virginia Military Institute shall provide to qualified young men and women undergraduate education of highest quality – embracing engineering, science, and the arts – conducted in and facilitated by the unique VMI system of military discipline.

To fulfill the mission far into the 21st century, VMI has developed 14 points upon which to deliver excellence. These are the broad goals that directed a close self-examination of all aspects of the Institute. This work included the efforts of the Board of Visitors, faculty, staff, alumni, and cadets and focused on four principal areas: the academic, the military, the athletic, and the cultural/physical environment at the Institute.

From that effort flow scores of large and small undertakings that are moving VMI into the future. Themes of commonality of purpose, synchronization, and integration guide those undertakings. When taken together, the focus areas and themes create a synergy that provides a remarkable education for life.

VMI is first and foremost a college. Vision 2039’s distinctive educational goals and strategies guide VMI in its journey to be the premier undergraduate college in America.

A reformed core curriculum provides the educational foundation upon which to build the essential characteristics of the citizen-soldier. Focusing on a limited number of high-quality majors, minors, and interdisciplinary programs ensures the overall excellence of programs. The Institute will continue its tradition of educating to meet the needs of a changing nation by establishing a more balanced distribution between engineering, science, and the arts, with more than half the degrees awarded in engineering and the sciences.

Vision 2039 promotes opportunities to broaden the perspectives of cadets. A dynamic Distinguished Lecturer Series challenges and informs the Corps. The Institute’s global engagement through its international programs is directed to regions and cultures that are most important to the future of our country. Our focus on interdisciplinary problems with immediate real-world application further develops critical and creative thinking skills.

The heart of the Institute’s academic program – indeed, infusing the VMI education in its broadest sense – is leadership development. Vision 2039 helps ensure that VMI’s graduates will be broadly educated, adaptive leaders of character who con tribute substantially to their communities, their nation, and the world. A major academic goal is to ensure that every VMI cadet, regardless of academic major, is properly prepared for leadership and citizenship in the 21st century.

Innovative programs, small classes with talented and engaging faculty members, and partnerships with the best graduate schools in America promote open-ended inquiry as a central element of the VMI curriculum. Vision 2039 builds upon and incorporates the improved and innovative academic programs supported by the Jackson-Hope effort.


A structured military environment that places responsibilities on cadets and offers numerous leadership opportunities adds value to the VMI diploma. Vision 2039 reinforces the system of immersing young men and women in a military culture that includes the barracks, the parade ground, and four years of ROTC participation. That culture emphasizes teamwork, engenders civility and respect for others, develops commitment to service, and produces the selflessness and sense of honor that are the hallmarks of the citizen soldier.

A key goal of Vision 2039 is to increase the percentage of graduates accepting commissions in the Armed Forces, whether active duty or reserve. Accepting a commission is not required of graduates, but VMI prepares its graduates for successful military service. Based on VMI’s tradition of educating citizen-soldiers, the Institute will encourage cadets to pursue commissions in the National Guard and other Reserve components of the U.S. military, an option that will allow them to serve their country while pursuing their chosen professions.

Service life broadens a young graduate through travel and exposure to foreign cultures. It grows leaders by placing in their hands responsibility for the welfare of other young Americans as well as the care and readiness of major pieces of materiel.

Cadets who participate in varsity sports expect to make the commitment in time and effort that competing at the varsity level entails. At the same time, they must participate fully in the uncompromising educational and military components of the Institute. Cadets who do not participate in varsity athletics are expected to participate in club or intramural athletic programs. Athletic competition is a means of developing individual physical skills and team skills that will benefit every cadet throughout his or her life. In addition, it is a highly effective means of developing leadership skills.

Vision 2039 continues VMI’s traditional emphasis on athletics as a key cadet development tool and recognizes that athletic competition is an integral component of the VMI educational experience. It does so by expanding the athletic opportunities at all levels to meet the needs and interests of cadets with a massive increase in structured club sports, NCAA sports, and intramurals; it creates new athletic facilities and upgrades older facilities; and it provides the resources to make those opportunities effective.

A large field house on North Main Street with Olympic indoor track capabilities will provide an all-weather sports facility for cadets.

The spartan conditions of life at VMI and the requirement to live among peers in a close environment combine with the Institute’s rigid military structure to mold cadets of character. For generations of alumni, this is perhaps the most valuable gift – and the heaviest responsibility – bestowed by a VMI education.

Vision 2039 is not a construction plan; it is a leadership plan. However, construction of new facilities and the renovations of older buildings on Post are essential components of Vision 2039 all the same. They provide a foundation for excellent programs. They encourage pride and set standards that impact the thinking and attitudes of cadets.

Just as the proud traditions and history of VMI influence the culture of the Corps of Cadets, so too do the physical facilities in which the Corps lives, learns, trains, and competes. Indeed, the unique architectural flavor of the VMI Post helps set the tone for all that happens on it and communicates the extraordinary expectations that the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation have for cadets and for the Institute itself. The facilities necessary to provide an education that thoroughly prepares cadets to meet the challenges of the 21st century are far more complex than they were in 1839. In fact, they are more complex than they were in 1989, when the Institute opened the newest academic building on Post. Vision 2039 aims to maintain the historic atmosphere of the Post as it develops the modern, technologically advanced facilities VMI needs to prepare cadets for lives of success, service, and leadership.

The Corps will expand to 1,500 cadets with the addition of a new barracks, giving VMI the flexibility to fully modernize the existing structures.

A new Leadership and Ethics Center will allow the Institute to become a leader in issues of the day by providing a venue for conferences and events of statewide and national prominence. A formal leadership program emanating from this facility will enhance cadet learning, civility, and ethics. New athletic facilities, including a new field house and aquatics center, will allow VMI to proudly host significant athletic and training events while also providing resources that will enhance the facilities available to citizens in Lexington and Rockbridge County. Integrating more thoroughly at the state and national levels on one hand and the local community on the other are vital to enhance and secure VMI’s reputation as a valued public asset.

As part of Vision 2039, new construction and modernization of existing facilities accommodate a larger Corps of Cadets and expanded VMI capabilities.

A new Leadership and Ethics Center provides facilities for major conferences, Post functions, and a concentration on leadership programs synchronized across four years of a cadetship.

Modern facilities at the Gray-Minor Stadium anchor expansion of athletic facilities in the North Post area.

The traditional appearance of Crozet Hall will be retained in an expanded and modernized mess hall that accommodates 1,500 cadets at a single seating and features an expanded kitchen and an air-conditioned dining area.