2022 Year-End Message from the Superintendent
To the VMI Community:
It is hard to believe that in a few short weeks, we will close the books on 2022. This year has not been without its challenges, but, stepping back, we have accomplished a great deal.
This year was a milestone in many respects. It was the year that COVID-19 no longer dominated the VMI experience. This year also marked the 25th anniversary of women at VMI. Scott Shipp Hall with its addition and renovation was dedicated and a new aquatic center is set to be open before the winter furlough begins. VMI continued to be highly ranked by many of the most prominent college rankings including No. 5 overall on Money magazine’s 2022 Best Colleges list.
Most importantly, our cadets continued to embrace the time-honored and proven VMI experience which helps them achieve at the highest levels. Guided by our expert faculty and dedicated staff, the Corps of Cadets achieved in every aspect of the three-legged stool: academic, military, and athletic. Here are just a few highlights from 2022:
- Eric Munro ’21 was selected as a Gates Cambridge Scholar as he pursues his Ph.D. in engineering.
- Cadet Christopher Hulburt’s research into the contributions of 19th Century African Americans at VMI was featured on RadioIQ, Virginia’s National Public Radio affiliate.
- A team of 26 mechanical engineering cadets competed in the Baja Society of Automotive Engineers vehicle design competition.
- Twelve cadets in an English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies researched, digitized, and curated a website for Preston Library called, Cadet Life Over Time.
- 318 degrees were conferred to the Class of 2022 in May.
- Eight VMI cadets spent 16 days in Israel meeting with that nation’s top leaders, including the prime minister, alongside counterparts from West Point, the Air Force Academy, and the Royal Military College Saint-Jean in Canada.
- Several cadets conducted research in chemistry, intelligence analysis, biology, and human performance and wellness with VMI faculty as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Institute.
- Lt. Col. Steven Knepper, associate professor in English, rhetoric, and humanistic studies, published a book on philosopher William Desmond.
- Cadet Chris Kushner’s research on soybeans earned recognition from the Virtual Soy 2022 conference.
- Col. Spencer Bakich, professor of international studies, discussed U.S. and China tensions and Maj. Michael LaRocca, assistant professor of psychology, discussed transformational leadership on separate episodes of the radio program, With Good Reason.
- The VMI Ethics and Debate team qualified for next year’s national ethics bowl by earning a 4th place finish at the Mid-Atlantic regional qualifier.
- Lt. Col. Catharine Ingersoll, associate professor of art history in the Department of English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies, was called upon by the Reading Public Museum to identify the artist of two 16th century stained-glass panels discovered in storage.
- Research on fire ants by Col. Tappey Jones ’70, professor of chemistry, was published in the journal Nature: Communications Biology.
- Cadets Jeffry Jay Stober ’24 and David Diaz ‘23 with Lt. Col. Daniel Harrison ’05 presented research at the American Chemical Society Southeastern Regional Meeting in Puerto Rico.
Military / Cadet Life
- The Corps of Cadets honored Virginia’s 74th governor and commander-in-chief as they marched in the inaugural parade.
- One VMI cadet was called upon to use his VMI training while on furlough to help in an emergency situation.
- The VMI Glee Club represented the Institute at seven performances in Puerto Rico.
- Cadets interested in pursuing a commission in the Coast Guard after graduation held their first ever spring field training exercises.
- Cadets volunteer as EMTs in the local community.
- The VMI Pipe Band marched in the Tartan Day Parade in New York City.
- The VMI Combat Shooting Club placed 4th overall at the Relentless Warrior Competition in New Hampshire.
- Cadet Matthew Ehret ’22 did 4,046 pull-ups in 24 hours to raise nearly $2,000 for Warriors Heart Foundation.
- Nearly 200 VMI graduates commissioned into armed services at the annual ROTC Joint Commissioning Ceremony in May.
- Cadet Tommy Lees ’24 graduated from Army Combat Diver Qualification Course.
- Cadet Carter Hugate ’24 successfully completed Army Airborne School.
- After much anticipation, the Class of 2024 earned the right to wear their VMI class rings at a Ring Figure ceremony held just before Thanksgiving furlough.
- Cadets earn SoCon athlete of the month honors in baseball, basketball, and rifle, respectively.
- Three Keydets are named to the SoCon baseball pre-season team.
- The VMI Boxing Club, the Regulators, won the Intercollegiate Boxing Association National Championship in Atlanta.
- The VMI men’s club rugby team competed at the 2022 Collegiate Rugby Championship.
- Six cadet-athletes were named to the 2021-22 VaSID Academic All-State Team.
- 37 cadet-athletes were named to the Southern Conference Spring Academic All-Conference team.
- Three football cadet-athletes are named to the HERO Sports FCS Preseason All-American team and two were named to the Stats FCS Preseason All-America First Team.
- VMI water polo player, Makenna Moore ’22, and lacrosse player, Scout Ripley ’23, received the three-legged stool award.
- Seven cadet-athletes representing four sports were named SoCon players of the week 10 different times.
The very foundation of the VMI experience continues to be rooted in the Honor Code, the Rat Line, and the class and regimental systems. I am proud of the way that the Class of 2023 has implemented a professional approach to these systems. Though the Rat Mass of 2023+3 is smaller, these first-year cadets are a dedicated group of individuals as evidenced by the lowest rate of attrition since at least 1990. Additionally, the Honor Court continues to function at a high level with a clear commitment to enforce the standards of our Honor Code as they spend a great deal of time on education and awareness.
Of course, no institution of higher education can operate effectively without the hard work and dedication of its faculty and staff. We are proud to continue this demonstrated commitment to taking care of our workforce and have worked hard this year to recognize our employee’s commitment to our mission. Consequently, we were pleased to partner with the Commonwealth of Virginia to provide our employees with a 5% pay increase as well as a year-end $1,000 bonus. The VMI Alumni Agencies and the dean of the faculty coordinated a very generous gift from the Herndon Foundation to provide $1 million per year to support faculty salaries in perpetuity. Additionally, we have worked to raise the minimum pay for our wage employees to $15 per hour.
It has been a very busy, but productive year. As we close out this semester, I hope everyone’s winter furlough is filled with time spent with loved ones and some rest and relaxation. Thank you all for your continued dedication to VMI.
Major General Cedric T. Wins ‘85
U.S. Army (Retired)
Virginia Military Institute