Cadet Leadership and Development

Everyone is called to lead at some point in their life – to put others first, to take responsibility, to inspire action, to make tough decisions. Young men and women seeking leadership opportunities will find them in abundance at Virginia Military Institute, where cadets engage in leadership, integrity, honor, and discipline every day.  

The VMI experience is not easy. It's a carefully designed system that challenges, tests, and develops leaders of strong character during their four years at VMI and throughout their lives.

If you want to test and build your physical, mental, and emotional strength, your courage, integrity, perseverance, and competence, and find your unique path to serving and succeeding as a true leader, then join us at VMI.

From left to right: Cadets marching down to football stadium, drum major with baton, cadre training with sabres.

Leadership Training

Since 1839, VMI has helped young adults grow into confident military and professional leaders through its unique system of military, academic, and physical training.

Cadets are able to take advantage of leadership training and experiences across many facets of their daily life at the Institute. Within the VMI class system cadets are led by fellow members of the Corps through the General Committee (GC). The GC is a board of cadets voted into office by each class to oversee the Class system and student government of VMI. The 1st Class assumes leadership positions in the Cadet Government, Regiment of Cadets, clubs, ROTC units, and athletic teams.

The regimental system at VMI represents the military component of the Corps and  is organized to reflect an Army infantry regiment. Cadets become eligible to hold a number of different ranks within the Corps of Cadets based on their leadership abilities and strengths.

Each ROTC unit has its own leadership structure that not only prepares all cadets with the skills for military leadership after a commission, but also during their time at VMI. The Institute's NCAA athletic teams as well as academic and athletic clubs across post offer the chance for cadets to lead in roles similar to those found across most colleges and universities.

The VMI Center for Leadership and Ethics focuses on the leadership and character development of cadets in collaboration with the Dean, the Commandant’s staff, and the Superintendent. The Center's programming provides opportunities outside barracks for cadets to learn about leadership and ethics from theory to practice. The Center sponsors programs ranging from cadet-led small groups to participation in academic competitions and conferences, even travel.

VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders