Cadet Fieldwork and Research

As part of their academic work, cadets are able to utilize the vast collection of the VMI Archives to conduct research on the Institute's history. Below are some of the projects that cadets have researched and prepared for addition to the Archives’ digitized resources.


Cadet Life Over Time

Fieldwork Spring 2022

Field Work projects allow cadets to apply their classroom learning in a professional or service learning environment and showcase their skills in research, analysis, and communication. As their final project for the spring 2022 section of ERH411, taught by Lt. Col. Penne Ticen (from the Department of English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies), and in partnership with Maj. Jeff Kozak (head of the VMI Archives), cadets researched the history of the Institute with a focus on cadet life and the changing face of post. During their research, Maj. Kozak worked with cadets to identify appropriate primary sources from the Archives collection. Each pair of cadets organized their research into a web page, found below. Special thanks go to Ms. Mary Laura Kludy for her help with this project.

This is a drawing of VMI barracks by Seth Eastman from 1849. In the foreground. It appears that there are some cadets performing rifle drill led by another high-ranking cadet, with the barracks visible in the background.

Early Years

Research conducted by Joshua Farr '23 and Michael Lawrence '23.

VMI Cadet secret society, the Molly Maguires. Skull and cross-bone banner in background. Includes Frank G. Doggett, Class of 1892; John B. Nicholson, Class of 1893.

Post-Civil War

Research conducted by Emma Faust '23 and Jonathan Ballesteros '24.

Three cadets standing within barracks wearing a long white sash, pants tucked into their socks, and wide brimmed hats

Turn of the Century

Research conducted by Kolton Dobson '23 and Keenan Orr '23.

Cadet Amory’s first class history and first class photo, detailing the activities he participated in during his time at VMI.

World War I

Research conducted by Michael Tempesta '22 and Lancelot Wiemann '22.

Side of the 1935 class ring with red stone and prominent eagle image

Great Depression

Research conducted by Justine Curcio '22 and Francis Ripley '23.

VMI cadet reads the Richmond Times Dispatch front page regarding Japanese declaration of war.

World War II

Research conducted by James Mills '23 and Thomas Owen '23.

VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders