VMI Employee Retires After Five Decades
LEXINGTON, Va., May 2, 2022—“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” When Steve Jobs made that oft repeated quote, he could have been referring to Vergie Moore, who for nearly 56 years, has loved her job. Moore is finally retiring from Virginia Military Institute, the only place she has ever worked.
After graduating from Amherst County High School in 1965, she quickly attained her secretarial certificate from a local business college, and was hired at VMI on September 16 of that year. “When I was hired, there were only 700 cadets. I was told, ‘There’s one reason you got this job, and that one reason is those 700 cadets.’ That stuck with me throughout the years, and that has motivated me to encourage the cadets to meet their goals,” Moore stated tenderly.
Moore’s first position on post was secretary in the biology department. “I worked for Doc Carroll,” stated Moore, referring to Col. Robert P. “Doc” Carroll, for which Carroll Hall was named. “I was 18 years old and had always lived in rural areas. When Doc Carroll introduced me to people, he’d tease, ‘She’s a green country kid that I pulled out of the mountains and put shoes on her feet.’ He was so kind and taught me so much. I loved working in the biology department,” reminisced Moore.
She continued in the biology department for 23 years. “During those 23 years, I started out as a sister figure for the cadets, then became a mother figure, now I’m their grandmother,” Moore laughed. She has watched the cadets who came through the biology program become great achievers. “There are so many who have gone on to do great things. I really am proud of each one of them.” Moore went on to describe how VMI employees and staff at that time were like family. “Everyone knew each other in those days. We would have picnics with our families on the Parade Ground on weekends.”
In 1987, looking for a new challenge, Moore accepted a position with Col. Leroy D. Hammond, executive assistant to the superintendent. “I adored working in that office,” said Moore.
Three years later she transferred to the dean’s office where she worked for 15 years, under three different deans: Brig. Gen. Lee D. Badgett ’61, Brig. Gen. Alan Farrell, and Brig. Gen. Charles F. Brower IV. “I enjoyed interacting with the academic board and the Board of Visitors, and of course the cadets,” said Moore
Moore first retired in 2005 to care for her ailing mother, who sadly passed away the following year. “I was getting bored staying at home. My kids accused me of vacuuming the grass, so when I got a call offering me a part-time job in the commandant’s office, I gladly accepted. I’ve come full circle you might say. I started working directly with the cadets in the biology department, and now with the commandant’s office in barracks, I interact with cadets all day every day.”
According to Col. Adrian T. Bogart III ’81, Commandant of Cadets, Moore has been a gift to the Institute for decades. “She was here when I was at the Institute, there when I left and here when I returned. When I came into the Commandant's assignment and Ms. Moore was here, I knew I was home. But I am like the thousand others she has helped and supported. It was our honor to stand in her ranks,” said Bogart.
Since 1978, Moore and her husband Danny have served as host parents for cadets. “My family grew up with that experience and we have loved treating the cadets like family, and siblings to our children. Most of the cadets we have hosted have been from out of state, so on long weekends when they had nowhere else to go, we were happy to have them stay with us. We still correspond with many of those alumni and their families,” stated Moore.
She has seen many changes during her tenure on post. The size of the Corps of Cadets more than doubled, new buildings have been erected and new courses added to the curriculum. “The one thing that hasn’t changed is the parking problem,” Moore joked. When asked if she would take the same career path if she had to do it over again. Moore reflected, “VMI has been home. It is such a special place and I’m proud of my work here.”
Moore plans to spend her retirement gardening, implementing “dirt therapy” as she calls it, and traveling with her husband, Danny around the country. “We love to go to national parks, and I adore the ocean,” Moore exclaimed, “and of course we will visit family.” She and Danny have two children, four grandchildren, and five great grandchildren.
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