Virginia Military Institute

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The Institute will be heard from today. ~ Stonewall Jackson

Virginia Military Institute (VMI) is a public senior military college in Lexington, Virginia. It was founded in 1839 and is the first public Senior Military College in the United States. In keeping with its founding principles and unlike any other Senior Military College in the United States, VMI enrolls cadets only and awards bachelor's degrees exclusively. VMI offers its students, all of whom are cadets, strict military discipline combined with a physically and academically demanding environment. The Institute grants degrees in 14 disciplines in engineering, science, and the liberal arts,[13] and all VMI students are required to participate in ROTC.

While VMI has been called "The West Point of the South", it differs from the federal military service academies. As of 2019, VMI had a total enrollment of 1,722 cadets. All cadets must participate in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) of the United States Armed Forces programs, but are afforded the flexibility of pursuing civilian endeavors or accepting an officer's commission in any of the active or reserve components of any of the U.S. military branches upon graduation, excluding the United States Coast Guard.

At VMI integrity subconsciously becomes a way of life. ~ Harry F. Byrd, Jr.
No college in America can match the record of the Institute in training the citizen-soldier. ~ John Otho Marsh, Jr.
There is no school anywhere remotely like the Virginia Military Institute. ~ Guy Friddell
Wood engraving of VMI in 1863
Bomb (1899) view of the Barracks
Cadets marching at Virginia Military Institute (VMI), located in Lexington, VA
Defense.gov photo essay 080516-D-7203C-001
The Virginia Military Institute's Barracks at Sunset
George Washington by Hubard after Houdon, VMI, Lexingon, VA
Cannons on display in front of barracks
2008-0831-VMI-ParadeGround
Foster Stadium VMI
Cameron Hall VMI
Defense.gov photo essay 080516-D-7203C-009
Defense.gov photo essay 080516-D-7203C-018

Arranged alphabetically by author or source:
A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z · See also · External links

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  • Oh clear the way V.M.I. is out today,
    We're here to win this game;
    Our team will bring us fame;
    In Alma Mater's name.
    For though the odds be against us we'll not care,
    You'll see us fight the same;
    Always the same old spirit and we'll triumph once again,
    And though defeat seems certain it's the same with V.M.I.;
    Our battle cry is 'Never never die!'
    • First stanza of "The VMI Spirit", lyrics by Benjamin Bowering, VMI Class of 1915, first printed in The Cadet, the VMI cadet newspaper, on 3 April 1916, as quoted by Thomas W. Davis, The Corps Roots the Loudest: A History of VMI Athletics (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1986), p. 44
  • For when our line starts to weaken, our backs fail to gain,
    Our ends are so crippled to win seems in vain,
    Then the Corps roots the loudest, we'll yet win the day;
    The team it will rally and Fight! Fight! Fight! Ray!
    We'll gain thru the line and we'll circle the ends,
    Old Red White and Yellow will triumph again,
    The 'Keydets' will fight 'em and never say die,
    That's the spirit of V.M.I.!
    • Chorus of "The VMI Spirit", lyrics by Benjamin Bowering, VMI Class of 1915, first printed in The Cadet, the VMI cadet newspaper, on 3 April 1916, as quoted by Thomas W. Davis, The Corps Roots the Loudest: A History of VMI Athletics (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1986), p. 44
  • My teaching environment is the Corps of Cadets. The Corps is an experience in living with and dealing with problems. Mostly people problems. In every respect these problems are real. By real, I mean real. Cadets may be hurt, physically or emotionally, or many relationships within the Corps may be affected and the cadets have to live with the consequences of their actions.
    • Colonel William J. Buchanan, VMI Class of 1950B, Commandant of Cadets from 1972 to 1977, and Director of Admissions from 1977 to 1987, in a working paper on the Institute written in 1973, as quoted by Henry A. Wise, Drawing Out the Man: The VMI Story (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1978), p. 411
  • Learning to bear the consequences of their actions is difficult for many young men but it is essential for the development of their character. Our founder, Gen. Francis H. Smith, mentioned this as the first lesson he had learned as a cadet at West Point. When addressing the VMI Corps upon the resumption of academic exercises in 1866, he said, "This, then, is the great lesson first impressed upon me on my entrance upon military life as a cadet... my personal responsibility as founded upon my own individual action."
    • Colonel William J. Buchanan, VMI Class of 1950B, in a working paper on the Institute written in 1973, as quoted by Henry A. Wise, Drawing Out the Man: The VMI Story (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1978), p. 412
  • I can tell a first class that the way they conduct their affairs in the first semester will determine how well the under classes cooperate as followers during the second semester: that they have to build respect in their subordinates. They must demonstrate character. If I tell them this in September, they'll nod in agreement, but it will be merely an acceptance of words. If I tell them this in April, they'll nod in understanding because they've been down that road and understand even if the principle wasn't articulated during their journey. The acceptance of responsibility of the Corps in barracks, in ranks, and in public encourages cadets, perhaps even compels some of them, to examine their personal qualities and to become the crowd of honorable youths we are so proud of.
    • Colonel William J. Buchanan, VMI Class of 1950B, in a working paper on the Institute written in 1973, as quoted by Henry A. Wise, Drawing Out the Man: The VMI Story (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1978), p. 413
  • Every new cadet, or "Rat" as he is known at the Virginia Military Institute, is required to learn the inscription on the parapet facing Cocke Hall. A portion of this inscription, in the words of its author, Colonel J. T. L. Preston, states that the mission of the Institute is to produce "fair specimens of citizen-soldiers, attached to their native state, proud of her fame and ready in every time of deepest peril to indicate her honor or defend her rights." The Corps of Cadets carried out this mission nobly during the Civil War by answering the call on several different occasions to operate in the field as a separate and distinct military unit, by serving as drill instructors, and by furnishing hundreds of officers and men for the armies of the Confederacy, especially for the famed Army of Northern Virginia.
    The late Douglas Southhall Freeman, the most famous historian of the Army of Northern Virginia, wrote: "I am convinced that the Army of Northern Virginia owed to the Institute such excellence of regimental command as it had." He even went so far as to say: "I do not believe the campaigns of 1862 could have been fought successfully without the VMI men."
    • John G. Burrett and Richard M. McMurry, "VMI in the Civil War", A Crowd of Honorable Youths: Historical Essays on the First 150 Years of the Virginia Military Institute (Lexington: VMI Sequicentennial Committee, 1988) by Thomas W. Davis (editor), p. 31
  • By the end of the war 1,796 cadets and former cadets had served the Confederacy. This was ninety-four percent of the Institute's living matriculates. In the sizable group of Institute men in the Confederate service were three distinguished major generals- Robert E. Rodes (Class of 1848, hereafter cited by year only), William Mahone (1847), and William Y.C. Humes (1851). General Rodes' leadership at Chancellorsville won for him "the nearest approach the Army had known to promotion on the field of valor," and he was the first non-West Point graduate to command a division in Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.
    • John G. Burrett and Richard M. McMurry, "VMI in the Civil War", A Crowd of Honorable Youths: Historical Essays on the First 150 Years of the Virginia Military Institute (Lexington: VMI Sequicentennial Committee, 1988) by Thomas W. Davis (editor), p. 32
  • At Chancellorsville when Jackson stated in the presence of three of his former colleagues on the VMI faculty that the Institute would be heard from that day, he was fully aware of the large number of VMI men present. In this battle one corps, two divisions, four brigades, numerous regiments, and most of the cavalry were commanded by Institute alumni. In the Second Virginia Cavalry alone twenty-one officers had formerly worn the uniform of a VMI cadet. And had "Stonewall" Jackson been alive at the time of Gettysburg he could have made a similar statement about the school's performance on the battlefield. For one thing, thirteen of Major General George Pickett's fifteen regiments were at some point during the great charge on the afternoon of 3 July 1863 led by men of the Institute. Tragically, only two of these officers survived unscathed in that heroic but suicidal assault. Three of Pickett's colonels- Lewis B. Williams, W. Tazewell Patton, and Robert C. Allen- were not only in the same VMI class (1855) but also had been roommates in school and had become lawyers after graduation. All three were killed in the charge.
    • John G. Burrett and Richard M. McMurry, "VMI in the Civil War", A Crowd of Honorable Youths: Historical Essays on the First 150 Years of the Virginia Military Institute (Lexington: VMI Sequicentennial Committee, 1988) by Thomas W. Davis (editor), p. 33-34
  • During the war, as was to be expected, several VMI men voluntarily cast their lot with the North. Twelve served as officers in the Union army: one brigadier general, three colonels, one lieutenant colonel, three majors, three captains, and one lieutenant. One alumnus remained a private, and another was a surgeon in the United States Navy. Even though VMI had been in existence only twenty-one years when the Civil War started, it had experienced, fortunately for the Confederacy, a period of expansion and vigor during the decade of the fifties, and the doors of the school were opened for the first time to students from outside of the Commonwealth. Also, Major William Gilham in early 1861, upon instructions from the governor of the state, began work on a drill manual for the militia. During the war this excellent book of instruction was used, at one time, by both the Confederate and Union armies.
    Another significant development pertaining to the military prior to the outbreak of hostilities was the successful firing on the VMI range of a new rifled piece known as the Parrott Gun. The tests, which ultimately led to the adoption of the gun by both the North and the South, were primarily conducted under the supervision of Major T.J. Jackson, instructor in artillery at VMI. This moody, deeply religious, eccentric figure had joined the Institute's faculty in 1851 as professor of natural philosophy- physics as we know it today. He remained in Lexington until April 1861, when he left to become one of the great commanders in American military history.
    • John G. Burrett and Richard M. McMurry, "VMI in the Civil War", A Crowd of Honorable Youths: Historical Essays on the First 150 Years of the Virginia Military Institute (Lexington: VMI Sequicentennial Committee, 1988) by Thomas W. Davis (editor), p. 34-35
  • At VMI integrity subconsciously becomes a way of life.
    • Harry F. Byrd, Jr., Foreword to Drawing Out the Man: The VMI Story (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1978) by Henry A. Wise, p. xiii
  • VMI has a long and enviable tradition, of which the intrepid charge of its cadets at New Market is one of the most glorious chapters. Although only about 15 percent of the graduates pursue military careers, the mass of them have served well- many with great distinction- as citizen-soldiers in every conflict in which their country has been involved, beginning with the Mexican War. Foremost among them was General of the Army George C. Marshall, the chief of staff throughout World War II, who late served in two cabinet posts and became the one military figure ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Each of the diverse curricula in engineering, the physical sciences, and the liberal arts has prepared its cadet-students well to follow civil callings in peacetime, which most alumni do.
    • Harry F. Byrd, Jr., Foreword to Drawing Out the Man: The VMI Story (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1978) by Henry A. Wise, p. xiii

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  • With the Institute in sight, I let down so that I came over Alumni Hall at about 200 feet. I kept the speed down to about 450 knots so that we did not go by the Institute too quickly. As we passed Alumni Hall I continued letting down in altitude over the Parade Ground and then lit both afterburners. I would like to say that we flew between the flagpoles, but that is not possible; you cannot clear the barracks if you get that low. I will say that we were low and- being in afterburner- noisy, now doing around 500-550 knots. As we passed over the barracks I pulled up into a vertical rolling climb. The Institute was well and truly buzzed! We proceeded on to Byrd Field at Richmond and landed there. We got absolutely wonderful treatment from the Air National Guard people there. We went to Howard Moss' parents' home, borrowed a car from them, and drove on to Lexington. And that is how I got to my 20th class reunion, the first one for me, and how the Institute got buzzed.
    • Tom Colvin, VMI Class of 1953, "How the Institute Got Buzzed", Memories of VMI: Volume II (New York: iUniverse, Inc., 2003) by Ursula Maria Mandel, p. 36

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  • The challenges of civilian or military life after VMI are often laughable compared to what they have been through. They are ready for what the world has to throw at them- and the world is badly in need of them. The highest accolade one can pay is that in this state and country, and the world, is a better place to live in because of this little fortress-like barracks in Lexington. Would that we had a hundred like it!
    • Daily Advance, newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, as quoted by Beverly M. Read, "Sculpture at VMI", A Crowd of Honorable Youths: Historical Essays on the First 150 Years of the Virginia Military Institute (Lexington: VMI Sequicentennial Committee, 1988) by Thomas W. Davis (editor), p. 151
  • The Virginia Military Institute was founded by gentlemen in the nineteenth century who believed strongly in the importance of physical fitness as part of educating the whole man. Francis H. Smith, superintendent from 1839 to 1889, stated unequivocally in an address to the Corps that "physical education constitutes the beginning of the cadet life." Claudius Crozet, first president of the Board of Visitors, had been educated at the Ecole Polytechnique in France, where physical fitness was a prerequisite for admission and a part of each student's curriculum. John Thomas Lewis Preston, a lexington lawyer who gave the school its name and served on the faculty for fifty years, wrote in an address prepared for the college's semicentennial in 1889 that exercise had been a part of a cadet's daily regimen from the start. Perhaps General Smith best captured the assumptions of VMI's founders when he explained to the Corps of Cadets, "If you would mark the perfect man, you must not look for him in the circus, the university, or the church, exclusively, but you must look for one who has 'mens sana in corpore sano,' a healthful mind in a healthful body. The being in whom you find this union is the only one worthy to be called educated. To make all men is such is the object of education."
    • Thomas W. Davis, VMI Class of 1964, The Corps Roots the Loudest: A History of VMI Athletics (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1986), p. 1
  • Although documented references to sporting activity at VMI before the Civil War are rare, we can infer several points. Water played a large part in the life of cadets, as they occasionally reached and departed Lexington by canalboat and used the North (later Maury) River for swimming, fishing, and bathing. By virtue of being enrolled in a southern military college, young men at VMI often engaged in fencing, rifle firing, and horseback riding. In 1857 a report mentioned increasing the use of horses for artillery and cavalry instruction, and thirty first and second classmen were reportedly interested in maintaining horses on a permanent basis at the Institute. In addition to participating in improvised, high-spirited games on the Parade Ground, one can also imagine cadets hiking across streams and through the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. All of this physical activity contributed, along with a proper diet, sufficient sleep, and invigorating fresh air, to the robust health and mental vigor of cadets. These were positive attractions that the Institute's founders pointed to with pride.
    • Thomas W. Davis, VMI Class of 1964, The Corps Roots the Loudest: A History of VMI Athletics (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1986), p. 1
  • Thus ended VMI's seemingly brief affiliation with horses. The memories are still strong, I suppose, because of the thrill that riding brought to cadets at the Institute, or maybe as a welcome diversion from the strict regimentation at VMI. The horse offered a taste of the Old South that drew crowds to VMI, and the VMI cadet is at his best when there is a crowd.
    • James F. Dittrich, "Horses At VMI", A Crowd of Honorable Youths: Historical Essays on the First 150 Years of the Virginia Military Institute (Lexington: VMI Sequicentennial Committee, 1988) by Thomas W. Davis (editor), p. 167
  • The war, when it came, broke in rudely on the routine of the Institute and the ambitious plans of Colonel Smith. It is a testimony to him, the faculty, and the cadets that this basically academic institution was ready to march when the drums sounded assembly. The war gave meaning to the untested military mission of VMI: as former professor "stonewall" Jackson had predicted, the Institute was heard from during the Civil War. The conflict also provided the Institute its most heroic chapter at the Battle of New Market, but the price was staggering and the war left the school in ruins.
    • Edwin L. Dooley, Jr., "Smith & VMI on the Eve of the Civil War", A Crowd of Honorable Youths: Historical Essays on the First 150 Years of the Virginia Military Institute (Lexington: VMI Sequicentennial Committee, 1988) by Thomas W. Davis (editor), p. 26

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  • There is no school anywhere remotely like the Virginia Military Institute. It is a special place, with battlements mustard-colored in the setting sun on a bluff above the Maury River, within sight of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Its athletic teams perform prodigies of valor out of all proportion to the student body of 1,300. A military maxim says that morale is to physical as three to one, and opponents of VMI have an uneasy sense, when they take the field, that whatever the betting odds may be in a game, the 3-to-1 ratio for morale always attends the Flying Squadron. The cadets are apt to play to their utmost potential.
    • Guy Friddell, Foreword to The Corps Roots the Loudest (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1986) by Thomas W. Davis, p. viii

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  • Another bomb story (I'm not really a pyromaniac, I just remember these events): Gargantua. Think this was also a '59 story. Notes appeared daily on the Bulletin Boards for about a week advising that "Gargantua was coming," the largest bomb to be set off in Barracks. Ever! The Corps was looking forward to this, but the Commandant, Col. Glover Johns, was not about to let Barracks be destroyed. He published memos requiring the parties to come forth. No response. More memos, this time promising amnesty. No response. Finally, Col. Johns said he would cancel drill, and with proper supervision, allow Gargantua to be detonated on the Parade Ground, and no penalties would be assessed anyone. An Agreement was reached, and on the appropriate day, the perpetrators assembled at the far end of the Parade Ground, an order was given to open all windows on the West side of Barracks, and Gargantua was ignited.
    Much to the delight of the Corps, only a small cloud of black smoke rose into the air, and a very weak bomb sound was heard in Barracks. At least, we got out of drill! However, late that night the familiar "Bomb in the Courtyard! Bomb in the Courtyard! Sentinel, get out of the box!" was heard. Shortly thereafter, Gargantua went off, waking all, and breaking several Courtyard windows. A Class of '59 success.
    • Jim Greathead, VMI Class of 1960, "Gargantua", as quoted in Memories of VMI: Volume I (2001, re-published 2013) by Ursula Maria Mandel, p. 16-17

H[edit]

  • I think it real strongly that athletics is more important at a school like VMI than it is anywhere else. It's almost a necessity to have a good program- one that's competitive with our adversaries and not just participatory. We need competing teams, whatever the season is, in order to keep the morale up in Barracks. We don't have to win all the time, but we need to go with the expectation that we have a chance to win. VMI can compete with almost anybody; most VMI people deep down really believe that.
    • Sterling M. Heflin, VMI Class of 1916, in July 1981, as quoted in The Corps Roots the Loudest: A History of VMI Athletics (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1986), p. 281
  • In early 1861, Professor Thomas Jonathan Jackson was an unhappy, unpopular professor of artillery, optics, mathematics and astronomy at the Virginia Military Institute. Remarried after the death of his first wife, the deeply religious Jackson believed in predestination: Everything that happened to him was intended to happen. Conversely, one of his frequently stated maxims was, "You can be whatever you will." Guided by these two contradictory ideas, he became a fearless commander. If the Civil War had not happened, Jackson likely would have passed the rest of his life as a teacher, spending his spare time boning up on unfamiliar subjects, practicing his lectures, and spending time with his daughter. Instead, he was thrust into leadership positions. The Civil War changed his life forever, and his death changed the course of the war.
    • Emilee Hines, It Happened In Virginia (2010), second edition, p. 73

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  • The Institute will be heard from today.
    • Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, referring to the number of Virginia Military Institute alumni and former students among his officers; to Colonel Thomas T. Munford at the Battle of Chancellorsville (2 May 1863), as quoted in Chancellorsville (1996) by Stephen W. Sears, p. 242

K[edit]

  • The class of 1953 returned to Lexington for its 50th reunion in April 2003. It was the first time that my three roommates and I had been together since our graduation day. We had pictures taken in our room on the first stoop during graduation week in June 1953. Therefore, we thought it would be nice to have our picture taken again in our old room. After the old yell for our class in the courtyard of barracks, we went over to our room to have our picture taken. A change had occurred to our room, since it was now a women's bathroom. As Doc Caroll always said, "It's not like the old corps, but it never was."
    • Warren Koontz, VMI Class of 1953, "Room Change," Memories of VMI: Volume II (New York: iUniverse, Inc., 2003) by Ursula Maria Mandel, p. 86

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  • I have always felt that track fit naturally with the VMI system. Ability, self-discipline, and determination are overriding factors, and dependence on weight and size is minimized. Individual performance is the foundation, but team spirit is critical too, and that is what VMI tries to teach us.
    • Frank A. Liddell, Jr., VMI Class of 1949B, at the Track Appreciation Banquet at VMI in 1981, as quoted by Thomas W. Davis in The Corps Roots the Loudest: A History of VMI Athletics (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1986), p. 159

M[edit]

  • You have something most people can only dream of- you belong to a beautiful place, a beautiful history, a beautiful people. You were and are so lucky.
    • Ursula Maria Mandel, editor, Memories of VMI (2003, republished 2013)
  • No college in America can match the record of the Institute in training the citizen-soldier.
    • John Otho Marsh, Jr., 14th United States Secretary of the Army (1981-1989), in 1982, as quoted by Beverly M. Read, "Sculpture at VMI", A Crowd of Honorable Youths: Historical Essays on the First 150 Years of the Virginia Military Institute (Lexington: VMI Sequicentennial Committee, 1988) by Thomas W. Davis (editor), p. 150

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  • One thing we had been constantly told in the week leading up to matriculation was, "Don't lose your Rat Bible." (Note: The Rat Bible is a little book every rat carries containing all of the information about VMI a rat is supposed to know. A rat is supposed to memorize every word in it.) Over and over, we heard, "Whatever you do, don't lose your Rat Bible."
    Of course, I was determined that I would not commit this grievous sin. On matriculation day, after we had received our Rat Bibles along with a lecture as to its importance, we were led to our rooms to change into "idiot dyke." (This was the rat uniform consisting of white shirt, utility trousers, low quarters, and utility cover.) Upon entering my room, I put my Rat Bible on my desk and started to change. I no sooner had done this than a sergeant walked in, scooped up my Rat Bible, and walked out. I couldn't believe it! I hadn't had my Rat Bible five minutes, and I'd already lost it! The one thing we were warned not to let happen, and I'd already done it! I was crestfallen! I was also thinking that this was not a very good start to my cadetship and did not bode well for my future. Luckily, the sergeant brought it right back along with a few choice words about taking care of my Rat Bible. I did learn my lesson though. I never lost my Rat Bible again. In fact, I still have it today.
    One final note on matriculation day: it was the only time in my life when I was actually looking forward to football practice.
    • Lance Pickering, VMI Class of 1988, "Matriculation Day", Memories of VMI: Volume II (New York: iUniverse, Inc., 2003) by Ursula Maria Mandel, p. 64-65

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  • VMI has many notable works of art. Some of these fine pieces memorialize national heroes, VMI professors, world leaders; others are symbolic of great events and themes in world history. Many are by great sculptors such as Sir Moses Ezekiel and Benjamen Clinedinst. These works are on display throughout the VMI post, not just on the parade ground or in Memorial Garden. A tour of VMI and its historical buildings is an exciting cultural experience to be treasured, in part because of the diversity and richness of its fine arts.
    • Beverly M. Read, "Sculpture at VMI", A Crowd of Honorable Youths: Historical Essays on the First 150 Years of the Virginia Military Institute (Lexington: VMI Sequicentennial Committee, 1988) by Thomas W. Davis (editor), p. 151
  • The whole history of VMI is a triumphant chronicle of the part which the citizen-soldier can play in a democracy.
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, as quoted by Beverly M. Read, "Sculpture at VMI", A Crowd of Honorable Youths: Historical Essays on the First 150 Years of the Virginia Military Institute (Lexington: VMI Sequicentennial Committee, 1988) by Thomas W. Davis (editor), p. 150

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  • I do not pretend to be without bias. Who ever tried to write a history of a college unless it meant much to him? Every effort, nevertheless, has been made to be accurate.
    • Henry A. Wise, VMI Class of 1927, on February 12, 1977, Preface to Drawing Out the Man: The VMI Story (Charlottesville, The University Press of Virginia, 1978), p. xvi
  • There have been misfortunes, mistakes, missed opportunities, disruptions, near disasters, and always problems. These as well as the happier aspects should be treated in anything purporting to be a history. Here is at least one institution that holds fast to values proved sound over five generations. Refusal to throw out what is demonstrably good simply in favor of novelty or caprice has led some, who disdain the meaning of education in its historic sense, to dub VMI an anachronism. If that word means that the school serves no cogent purpose or is moribund, the characterization is wrong. Growth in the academic area, in physical plant, in almost every facet has been admirable, especially considering the obstacles. Yet nowhere is more apt the phrase, "the more things change, the more they remain the same."... Almost two hundred years before the Virginia Military Institute was thought of, John Milton succinctly defined its mission: "I call a complete and generous education that which fits a man to perform justly, skillfully, and magnanimously all of the offices both private and public of peace and war."
    In pace decus, in bello praesidium
    • Henry A. Wise, VMI Class of 1927, Drawing Out the Man: The VMI Story (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1978), p. 4-5
  • An uncompromising code of honor sets the school apart. It belongs to the cadets and is enforced by them. Not a device for the convenience of the Institute administration, it is for the protection of the cadets. In the face of permissiveness in education today the Institute is convinced that a twenty-four-hour daily military regimen nurtures growth of the whole man and that intellect is more apt to be sharpened than not in such a regimen because much teaching, though informal, goes on all day. In this day of do-your-own-thing, some professors and college-age youth reject the idea that learning can be achieved in such an atmosphere. The military turns some so far off that they simply close their eyes to the possibility that this approach may produce something worthwhile, not robots. The most ardent supporters of the VMI way do not now, nor did they ever in more tranquil times, claim that it is for every young man. And it is relevant in this context to point out that those who associate with VMI men would be quick to say that they, whether cadets or alumni, are highly individualistic persons- anything but automatons.
    • Henry A. Wise, VMI Class of 1927, Drawing Out the Man: The VMI Story (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1978), p. 5

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External links[edit]

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