Class of 2020 - - Virginia Military Institute


Hold on to the concept of honor – the very bedrock -– of VMI. People will hold you to a higher standard because you are a VMI graduate. This high expectation cannot be avoided…; it comes with the ring and with the diploma. Embrace it as the heritage that has now been passed on to you, and strive always to preserve and enhance it. The open road now awaits you… Godspeed! Warmest congratulations from all of the Institute family!

Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III '62
Superintendent, Virginia Military Institute

From the Rat Line, to Breakout, to parades, classes, travel, and training, the bond formed at VMI is one to be cherished, honored, and celebrated. Faculty, staff, alumni, and the extended VMI community are proud of our 331 hard-working cadets who this May have successfully completed their time at the Institute, and embark on adventures and challenges ahead. During these unprecedented times, as the Class of 2020 commemorates its momentous achievement in personal ceremonies across the Commonwealth, the nation, and the globe, Virginia Military Institute invites our graduates, their family, and their friends to take a fond look back at their journey of the last four years.

A challenge accepted

The path that they have chosen is not an easy one. It will challenge them. It will cause them to grow, and cause them to mature and strengthen their character.

Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III '62
Superintendent, Virginia Military Institute

The years at VMI are designed to instill in each cadet the lifelong values of integrity, devotion to duty, self-discipline, and self-reliance. VMI has shaped leaders, heroes, and individuals whose daily lives reflect the integrity, fairness, and appreciation for the value of work that is instilled here. This is the challenge you accepted, the goals for which you have strived, and the heights towards which you now soar.

A bond formed

Life as a cadet is not just a series of trials and tribulations. Classmates soon get to know each other, and as people say, they will bond. The brother rat spirit will eventually spread over the entire class. And individuals will begin to depend on others for friendship and help, and encouragement and guidance. Class unity will grow, and this bond with their brother rats will last a lifetime.

Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III '62
Superintendent, Virginia Military Institute

There is a closeness at VMI that is rare in American colleges. Much is shared among members of a class – the boredom of guard duty and penalty tours, intense preparation for parades and inspections, late-night study sessions, downtime in barracks. And when the celebrations come – the ceremony to receive your class ring, for instance – you’ll find that the people you’re celebrating with, your brother rats, are the ones closest to you, who know life as you know it, who share your values.

Honor & Service

...there is a debt that our country owes that goes back many, many decades, as you know, for a school that develops this sense of service before self, of putting others first... There’s an ethos that comes from living the way you’re living, by the code you’re living by today.

James N. Mattis
General, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)
26th Secretary of Defense

Honor, the very bedrock of VMI, undergirds each cadet’s daily life. Closely coupled with this is the idea of the citizen-solider. During their time at VMI, cadets are expected to serve others with regularity, with options ranging from blood drives to cadet clubs that offer opportunities to engage with the greater Lexington community. Graduates leave the Institute empowered to serve their communities, their nation, and the wider world.

History & Traditions

VMI is a forward-looking institution, dedicated to producing intelligent and useful citizens, but it is also steeped in history and tradition. We march into the future, but we are ever mindful of the rich legacy of our past.

Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III '62
Superintendent, Virginia Military Institute

Founded in 1839, when the United States had been in existence only 63 years, VMI helped to shape the young nation’s character by producing educated, honorable leaders in both military and civilian life—and it continues to do so today. Alumni include Gen. George C. Marshall, VMI Class of 1901, whose vision shaped the Marshall Plan that brought economic recovery to postwar Europe, and Jonathan Daniels, VMI Class of 1961, who gave his life to save that of a young African-American girl during the struggle for civil rights in Alabama during the 1960s. Special traditions like Breakout, parades, old yells, Ring Figure and marches to New Market become cherished memories for each class.

Cadets taking down the American flag on post
Cadets marching in the Mardi Gras Parade
Cadets on parade ground

Academic & Athletic Excellence

VMI has provided you with an exceptional education and with a superior foundation for the future. I’m not sure you realize how well prepared you are. This includes not only your academic credentials and knowledge, which are impeccable thanks in large measure to our teaching faculty, but the simple skills that are often unlearned by most college graduates today – an example of the kind of skills I am talking of are being at the right place, at the right time in the right “uniform”….. well prepared to do the task at hand. And you are no strangers to hard work so your work ethic, right out of the blocks is better than most. Perhaps the most important component of your foundation for future success lies in the fact that you are ladies and gentleman in word and deed. Honorable.

Col. James P. Inman '86
Chief of Staff, Virginia Military Institute

VMI's academic program offers a rigorous education that includes a broad, four-year core curriculum with carefully selected majors in engineering, science, liberal arts, and social sciences. More than perhaps any other graduating class, the Class of 2020 experienced how learning at VMI can take many forms, whether that is in the classroom, traveling to exotic locations for Jungle Operations Training, studying overseas, or becoming the first-ever graduates to complete a semester online.

VMI believes that all cadets are athletes and all athletes are cadets. Athletics at VMI form an integral part of the school's aim to educate the whole person. The athletic program, managed honorably over many years, is critical to VMI's determination to encourage "the sound mind and sound body."

A journey complete

Though you may not realize it right now, you are well armed for the future, come what may. Of all the great gifts of Virginia Military Institute, the greatest of all is that you’ve experienced 'true north'. You’ve calibrated your personal moral compass—the values which you’ve developed as graduates of this Institute, and which, whether you realize it or not, now define you as a person. In a world that is changing all around us, this magnificent Institute has set the headings for your moral compass -- patriotism, discipline, courage, integrity, resilience, and of course, trust.

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey
18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Congratulatory banner graphic with text Congratulations Class of 2020. One goal, one mission, one family.

Clickable thumbnail of Graduate List

Forging a new path

We are also looking at you to maintain that long fighting tradition because it’s going to be your attention to duty, your example of self-discipline, your coaching ability and your force of personality that’s going to animate and draw your young troops to look to you when the chips are down. You are going to be tested. Those of you going into the military, you are going to be tested in ways that others of your generation will never know, and you will come to know someday and to understand what a privilege it is to be given such tests.

James N. Mattis
General, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)
26th Secretary of Defense

The discipline, teamwork, and physical and mental exertion of ROTC training imbues cadets with skills and attitudes that will serve them well throughout their lives. From the high ropes course in the Corps Physical Training Facility to long runs and nights spent bivouacked outdoors during field training exercise, ROTC is a crucible in which cadets learn to face their fears, persist in the face of adversity, and come out with leadership skills and the ability to adapt to any challenge.

Livestream videos of May 2020 Commissioning Ceremonies are available on the VMI YouTube channel.

Congratulatory banner announcing officers commissioned from the ROTC Class of 2020


Clickable thumbnail of Army Commissioning List


Clickable thumbnail of Navy Commissioning List

U.S. Air Force

Clickable thumbnail of Air Force Commissioning List

U.S. Marine Corps

Clickable thumbnail of Marine Corps Commissioning List

A lifelong brotherhood

VMI Alumni Agencies logo

At this special time, the VMI Alumni Agencies extend their warmest congratulations to the Class of 2020. Like many alumni before you, you are graduating at a challenging time in our nation’s history. Like all alumni in its history, however, VMI’s remarkable education has prepared you for honorable success and selfless service. You will do so confidently because you have received an extraordinary education that has prepared you to take on the challenges that you will face.

As you move forward in your lives, please remember that the VMI Alumni Agencies are here for you. They will help you maintain your ties with your Brother Rats and the Institute and forge new relationships with your fellow alumni and other members of the VMI Family. It is through the Agencies that you can remain involved in the life of the Institute whether by assisting in new cadet recruiting, helping to build a local alumni chapter, or providing important financial support to VMI and its cadets.

Click to see a special message from the AlumniWe encourage you to take the first step by clicking here to find your local chapter. This is a great way to network with alumni in your area and create new connections. In a joint venture with career services, we will be building a series of webinars catered to young alumni. Please contact Alumni Association COO, Thom Brashears ’95 at for more information.

We are ready to help you, and we look forward to serving you.

Rah Va Mil!

Steve Maconi
Chief Executive Officer
VMI Alumni Agencies

The open road now awaits you

So as you begin this next chapter in your lives, I trust that the memories, the friendship, the experiences, and the lessons learned at VMI will carry forward to whatever profession you are serving in terms of your life work. My charge to each of you… as you move forward is to be leaders in your community and in the nation. I hope that you will hold true to those values that were instilled in you at the Institute.

Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III '62
Superintendent, Virginia Military Institute

Wall outside Center for Leadership and ethics with a quote from George C. Marshall

We invite you to download and enjoy a commemorative video for the Class of 2020 and encourage you to visit our Flickr site for even more photos.

Thank you to VMI Athletics and the VMI Alumni Agencies for their contributions to this site.

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