Diversity, Opportunity, and Inclusion (DOI)

VMI’s strength is in its diversity of experiences, thought, abilities, and backgrounds.

To support the concept of One Corps, One VMI, the Office of Diversity, Opportunity, and Inclusion strives to ensure that every member of the VMI community, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or nationality, feels a part of the VMI legacy.

From cadet, to faculty member, to staff, to superintendent, all are connected in the common mission: 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.

Cadets with words honor, integrity, accountability, and respect.

Inclusive Excellence Committee

Virginia Military Institute (VMI) strives to explore, enhance, and respond to the diverse experience of cadets, staff, and faculty on the post. The Inclusive Excellence Committee will guide and hold the Institute accountable for maintaining a diverse and inclusive environment for learning and working.

We will support creating an inclusive, culturally competent, and supportive atmosphere by engaging individuals across post on matters of DOI and Inclusive Excellence and making recommendations to the superintendent via the chief diversity officer. The committee will have an average of 10 members, including, but not limited to, teaching and research faculty, professional faculty, administrative faculty, classified staff, and cadets.

Committee Members

Member Name Position at VMI
Gary Bissell Deputy Chief of Staff & Operations
Madison Cappellano  Cadet, VMI Class of 2024
Glenda Dudley Barber Shop Manager
Di Han Institutional Research Analyst, Office of Assessment and Institutional Research
Paul Moosman Professor, Biology
David Sigler Financial Analyst
Danielle Tolley, co-chair Customer Services Coordinator, Physical Plan
Briana Williams, co-chair Chief Diversity Officer


The DOI team facilitates a number of trainings throughout the year for cadets, faculty, and staff. This includes not only trainings developed in-house specific to the VMI experience, but also trainings used across the commonwealth and in the larger higher education and military communities around the nation.

These include:

  • collaborative Inclusive Excellence (IE) training with VMI & Lexington police departments
  • peer-led IE training for the Corps of Cadets
  • IE training for the VMI Board of Visitors
  • statewide DOI trainings for all VMI employees

Events & Partnerships

The DOI office works closely with stakeholders around post to provide trainings, cultural experiences, and opportunities for members of the VMI community to come together in an atmosphere of support and appreciation for the diversity found at the Institute.

Past events and programs have included:

Enoch “Woody” Woodhouse II, one of the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of predominately African-American fighter pilots who fought in World War II and paved the way for the integration of the armed forces in 1948, spoke at VMI in February 2022 in Gillis Theater in Marshall Hall.

Woodhouse came to Virginia Military Institute for the second time in a year and not only spoke to a full Gillis Theater, but also spent time with cadets, visiting barracks, having lunch in Crozet Hall, and spending a few hours in the VMI Museum. During his previous visit in May 2021, he attended the Memorial and Change of Command Parades.

The Color of Freedom - A traveling exhibit exploring the experiences and contributions of minority women in the US military.  The event is sponsored by the VMI Museum System, the Preston Library, and the Office of Diversity, Opportunity, & Inclusion. The exhibit is produced by the Military Women’s Memorial.

In recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, VMI participated in The Clothesline Project, a national campaign intended to raise awareness and foster solidarity around issues of sexual, domestic, and dating violence.  Using T-shirts hung on a clothesline, members of the VMI community have created a powerful visual, each signifying the dignity, strength, and experiences of survivors of interpersonal violence.  The event was sponsored by Project Horizon, a local organization dedicated to eradicating domestic, sexual, and dating violence through empowerment of survivors, and by being a sanctuary for victims. It was co-sponsored by the VMI Office of the Inspector General/Title IX and the VMI Office of Diversity, Opportunity, and Inclusion.

DOI co-sponsored events held on post to commemorate this milestone in the Institute's history. After the VMI Building BRIDGES Club, Sigma Delta Pi (The National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society), and the Preston Library held a viewing of On the Basis of Sex for their first Life, Culture and Society Film Series event, DOI co-sponsored  a presentation by Dr. Laura Brodie on her book Breaking Out: VMI and the Coming of Women

The VMI Gender & Diversity Inclusion Program in partnership with the Office of Diversity, Opportunity, and Inclusion was pleased to host a dinner with Maj. Gen. (ret.) Marti Bissell. In her 34-year military career, MG Bissell “has commanded a company, battalion, brigade, and NATO units, served at almost every organizational level and in all three components, Active, Guard and Reserve”. Attendees were able to hear some insights on her Journey to Success.

Michele Thornton Ghee is the CEO of 1145 Holdings which is the holding company of the Iconic Brands, EBONY and Jet. Ghee has worked for some of the most powerful companies in the world including WME, CNN, A&E, The History Channel and BET Networks. While at BET, Michele created and ran the first and only network for black women: BETHer.

Sponsored by the W&L Class of 1994 Office of Inclusion and Engagement and the VMI Office of Diversity, Opportunity, and Inclusion. Co-sponsored by Career and Professional Development and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program.

The office commemorated National Hispanic Heritage Month, partnering with Halestone Dance Studio to bring salsa and bachata line dancing to VMI. Cadets, faculty, and staff also had the chance to sample some Hispanic-inspired foods, play lotería, and make tissue paper dahlias.

The office hosted Kaleigh Pollak, who is a U.S. Army veteran and member of the Monacan Indian Nation, on November 8th from 1900-2100. This event was an opportunity to learn more about the Monacan Indian people and about the contributions of Native Americans to the U.S. military. The event takes place in the Nichols Engineering Building Auditorium. Native American-inspired hors d’oeuvres will be served at a reception afterward.

Three photos of smiling groups of diverse students at VMI, known as cadets, on post.

VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders