Northam to Address VMI Graduates in May

Then Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam ’81 addresses cadets and faculty during Academic Convocation in September 2014.—VMI File Photo by Maj. John Robertson IV.

Then Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam ’81 addresses cadets and faculty during Academic Convocation in September 2014.—VMI File Photo by Maj. John Robertson IV.

LEXINGTON, Va., Dec. 11, 2018—Gov. Ralph Northam '81 will address the Virginia Military Institute Corps of Cadets at graduation exercises, to be held Thursday, May 16, 2019, in Cameron Hall.

Northam, who is the second VMI alumnus to serve as Virginia’s governor, made his first official visit to the Institute in April when he addressed the Environment Virginia Symposium. He was also VMI’s convocation speaker in September 2014, while he was serving as lieutenant governor.

“We are pleased to have Governor Northam as our graduation speaker,” said Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62, superintendent. “As a VMI alumnus who lived the VMI experience as a cadet and who put what he learned here into practice during a highly successful career, I am sure our graduates will find his remarks inspiring.”

A native of Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Northam graduated from VMI with distinction, earning a bachelor of science degree in biology. During his 1st Class year at VMI, he was president of the Honor Court.

At graduation, Northam was commissioned into the U.S. Army, earned his medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School, and served eight years as a doctor in the Army, including treating battlefield casualties from Operation Desert Storm at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. After his military service, he began a practice as a pediatric neurologist. For 18 years, he volunteered as medical director for the Edmarc Hospice for Children in Portsmouth. 

He was elected to the Virginia State Senate in 2007, won his first statewide election to become the Commonwealth’s lieutenant governor in 2013, and won election as governor in 2017. He was inaugurated 100 years after the inauguration of Westmoreland Davis, the only previous VMI graduate to serve as governor.

Northam will be the first sitting Virginia governor to deliver VMI’s commencement address since Governor Robert “Bob” McDonnell in 2013.

-VMI-

 

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