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Volume XXXVI, Number 6

March 2009

Schneiter Named Deputy Superintendent and Dean By Wendy Lovell and Lt. Col. Stewart MacInnis Col. R. Wane Schneiter has been named Deputy Superintendent for Academics and Dean of the Faculty effective April 1, Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62, VMI’s superintendent, announced. Schneiter is currently head of the Institute’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and will be promoted to brigadier general. Col. Robert L. McDonald, who has been serving as acting dean since the death last month of Col. William J. Stockwell, will return to his position as associate dean for academic affairs. Institute officials are considering the process of naming a new head to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Peay emphasized the qualifications and service to the Institute that Schneiter brings to the position. Since joining the VMI faculty in 1990, Schneiter has impacted the academic program through his classroom teaching and also as

Col. R. Wane Schneiter chair of the Institute Merit Pay Committee, Institute Quality Enhancement Plan Steering Committee, and Institute Research and Awards Committees. He has also served on the Institute Faculty Development, Core Curriculum Oversight,

Institute Professorship, and Writing Across the Curriculum committees – experiences that give him a deep understanding of the Institute and its processes, and have helped prepare him well to lead the academic program. A specialist in the field of environmental and water resource engineering, Schneiter received the VMI Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1992, and he has been the Benjamin H. Powell Jr. ’36 Professor of Engineering since 2000. He served as acting head of his department from January to May 2005, and he has been department head since August 2007. “The academic program belongs to the faculty, and the dean’s responsibility is to enable and focus that ownership in ways that will encourage and empower members of the faculty to meet the ideals of VMI’s mission,” said Schneiter. “Part of my responsibilities as Please see page 6

Snow and Big South Keep Physical Plant Busy By Lori Stevens March blew in like a lion this year, blanketing Post with five inches of snow, but that just became another item on the Physical Plant’s “to do” list. “All weekend we had people on duty for snow fall recovery,” said Lt. Col. Jay Williams, post engineer. “A four-man crew was on duty between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. clearing roads, sidewalks, and entranceways.” Then it was on to preparations for the first round of the Big South Conference quarterfinal basketball tournament, for which VMI was host March 3. Close to 5,000 spectators attended the event. “With that size crowd you have to make sure things are ready and will run smoothly,” said Williams. “If something goes wrong, like the scoreboard doesn’t work, then every good thing we do can be negated by one oversight. It takes a concerted effort.” Several Physical Plant teams coordinated to make the event run smoothly. Robert Wade oversaw the facilities team, which checked Cameron Hall Please see page 15

Nearly 5,000 spectators descended on Post for the Big South Conference basketball tournament game March 3. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.


Page 2, The Institute Report, March 2009

Daniels Ceremony A bagpiper plays Amazing Grace following the placement of a wreath in Daniels Courtyard on March 10. Regimental Commander John Saunders and 1st Class President Benjamin Kimsey placed the wreath under the direction of Col. Thomas Trumps, commandant. The ceremony honors Jonathan Daniels ’61, who died during the Civil Rights movement. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.

2010 Rank Announcement Cadet Equity Association: President, Hugo Bustamante; vice president for investigations, Tanner Sewell; and vice president for education, Julie Markow. Cadet Publications: Editor of the Bomb, Racheal Toman; editor of the Cadet, Nicholas Weishaar; and editor of Sounding Brass, Jennifer Cook. Honor Court: President, Weston Whitcomb; vice president, Richard Hozik; vice president for education and defense, John Curtis; prosecutors, Ottie Allgood, Charles Crowder, and William Feldmann. Officer of the Guard Association: President, Neil Walker; vice president, Matthew Sinkez; secretary, Dominik Wermus; defense counsels, Joshua McPherson and Mathew Wright; and general committee secretary, Miles Treacy. Rat Disciplinary Committee: President, Michael Hutchings; vice president, David Padgett; operations, Daniel Perestock and William Rowcliffe; and secretary, John Piribek. Regimental Staff: Commander, Karsten Bloomstrom; executive officer, Bingley Squire; S-1 captain, Michael Kromm; S-2 captain, Daniel Welsh; S-3 captain, John Bowman; S-4 captain, Jonathan Winoker; S-5 captain, Elizabeth Dobbins; S-6 captain, Timothy Howard; S-7 captain, Even Rogers; S-1 lieutenant, Jonathan Fanelli; S-2 lieutenant, Kelly Vickery; S-3 lieutenant, Kevin Cox; S-4 lieutenant, Alexander Houser; S-5 lieutenant, Matthew Graham; S-6 lieutenant, David Lottman; and S-7 lieutenant, Brian Bopp. First Battalion Staff: Commander, Donte Brown; executive officer, Samuel Dobbins; S-1 captain, Paul Bailey; S-2 captain, Jacob Cox; S-3 captain, Arturo Harvey; S-4 captain, Virginia Taylor; S-5 captain, Bryan Cvengros; S-6 captain, Sean McCoy; and S-7 captain, Berley Rister. Second Battalion Staff: Commander, William Shannon; executive officer, Jason Morgan; S-1 captain, Andrew Baity; S-2 captain, Ericsson Davis; S-3 captain, John Keilty; S-4 captain, Shawn Wongkachonkitti; S-5 captain, Rory Alfree; S-6 captain, Jeffrey Hafkemeyer; and S-7 captain, Daniel Strausbaugh. Company A: Commander Johnathan Shirkey; executive officer, Carter Kunz; 1st lieutenant, James Williams; 2nd lieutenant, Davis Garrett; 3rd lieutenant, Charles Range; and 4th lieutenant, vacant. Company B: Commander: Alex Beckstrand; executive officer: Peter

Karonis; 1st lieutenant, Thomas Bond; 2nd lieutenant, Christopher Zarycki; 3rd lieutenant, Hunter Cantrell; and 4th lieutenant, Thomas Page. Company C: Commander, Mitchell Gardner; executive officer: Jacob Robertson; 1st lieutenant, Jacob Moore; 2nd lieutenant, Levi Swindell; 3rd lieutenant, Jorge Tellez; and 4th lieutenant, William Quarles. Company D: Commander, Robert Stockman; executive officer, Shawn Fox; 1st lieutenant, Julie Markow; 2nd lieutenant, Andrew Faulconer; 3rd lieutenant, Andrew Fleenor; and 4th lieutenant, Tanner Sewell. Band Company: Commander, David Phillips; executive officer, Caleb Dixon; 1st lieutenant, Jared Starin; 2nd lieutenant, Robert Allen; 3rd lieutenant, Matthew Mawyer; and 4th lieutenant, Erik Blum. Company E: Commander, Evan Farley; executive officer, Raymond Kirchner; 1st lieutenant, Daniel Frederick; 2nd lieutenant, Earl Ayaay; 3rd lieutenant, Connor Ross; and 4th lieutenant, Jeffrey Cooper. Office of Communications Company F: Commander, Joshua and Marketing Dixon; executive officer, Randolph Raine; 1st lieutenant, Jonathan Lt. Col. Stewart MacInnis Acting Director Buckland; 2nd lieutenant, Jonathan Price; 3rd lieutenant, Carter Brown; Sherri Tombarge and 4th lieutenant, Joshua Hughes. Editor Company G: Commander, Robert Burton Floyd McMullen; executive officer, David Publications Coordinator Lochart; 1st lieutenant, James Kerr; 2nd lieutenant, Dahn Nguyen; 3rd Contributors: lieutenant, Michael Louthan; and 4th Bob Holland, Wendy Lovell, Lori Stevens, and Kevin Remington. lieutenant, Leonard Weschler. Company H: Commander, Gerald Printing – McClung Printing,Waynesboro, Eight issues are printed during the Popko; executive officer, Jason Va. academic year. Inquiries, suggestions, Barnes; 1st lieutenant, Joseph news items, or address changes should be to: Editor, The Institute Report, Simmers; 2nd lieutenant, Juan-Chih directed VMI Communications and Marketing, Wang; 3rd lieutenant, Yu-Wei Chang; Lexington, Virginia 24450-0304, Telephone 540-464-7207, Fax 540-464-7443 and 4th lieutenant, Ahad Ahmed.

Institute Report


The Institute Report, March 2009, Page 3

Cadet Engineering Mentors Inspire Local Children

Col. David Livingston works with local schoolchildren during Robotics Day 2009 at VMI. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.

By Wendy Lovell Since last fall, VMI electrical and computer engineering students and professors have shared their knowledge of robotics with two area elementary schools and a high school through FIRST, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, a nonprofit organization founded to inspire young people’s interest in science and technology. “For students to develop an interest, and possibly pursue a career in engineering, we feel that it is important to introduce them to technology and engineering at an early age,” said Col. Shawn Addington, head of VMI’s electrical and computer engineering department. “The FIRST robotics program provides such an opportunity – continuously from age 6 through high school.” Addington and a group of cadets formed a FIRST Lego League team at Central Elementary School. Col. David Livingston, a professor in the ECE department, led a similar team at Buchanan Elementary School, as well as a FIRST Tech Challenge team at James River High School. The teams demonstrated their work to several hundred people on Post in late February during Robotics Day 2009. The event also featured project demonstrations by VMI cadets in the

electrical and computer engineering department and bomb disposal robot demonstrations from the Virginia State Police. “Mentoring the children at Central Elementary School was a rewarding experience for me and the students of Central,” said Cadet Racheal Toman ’10. “During the past semester I had the opportunity to introduce engineering to children who, without the involvement of the ECE department at VMI, might not have been exposed to the profession. This exposure creates an early interest in the profession which enriched the experience for me and the other cadets.” The cadets met with Central students once a week to help them design, build, and program their robots to perform various defined missions that met the FIRST Lego League theme of “Climate Connections.” “Teaching the children gave me insight into the difficulty that professors face while addressing students, as well as the advanced knowledge of technology that elementary school children are being exposed to these days,” said Toman, who was drawn to electrical and computer engineering by being part of a FIRST team in high school. According to Courtney Reach, Central’s guidance counselor, the program was quite a

success. “The FIRST Lego League provided an awesome opportunity for students to problem solve climate issues, such as global warming, and to experience a hands-on application of science discovery,” she said. “This experience was marked by constant challenge and allowed each student to focus on his interest in basic concepts of engineering in an innovative and fun way. However, it was not all about the realm of engineering and computer programming; it was about relationships.” Reach added that her students worked closely to understand one another’s strengths and used that insight to build roles for each player and to put them together successfully as a team. “Leadership is a key component of VMI’s vision for its graduates,” said Addington. “I feel very strongly about giving our students opportunities to take ownership of events such as this. Mentoring the elementary students, running event demonstrations, assisting with the event logistics all provide the cadets with great leadership experience in managing people and projects. “It also stresses the importance of public service in the engineering discipline – another key attribute of the VMI graduate.”


Page 4, The Institute Report, March 2009

Parents Council Seeks to Support Deployed Cadets By Bob Holland The Parents Council, which held its final meeting of the current academic year in February, is exploring ways it can help on a regular basis with efforts to stay in touch with and assist deployed cadets. VMI staffers have maintained such contacts, but the Council hopes to expand the program to include parents, said Ric and Cherry Tharp, Council co-presidents. “We want to be sure the deployed cadets continue to feel like a part of the VMI family,” said Ric Tharp. “We want to keep them plugged into the VMI community.” Meeting for the first time in the new Marshall Hall, the Council discussed another new venture, the creation of an online social network within the Council to coordinate planning for such activities as the popular tailgating tents at football games. Also, officers were selected for the next academic year. Co-presidents will be Parks and Mary Ann Taylor, parents of Virginia Taylor ’10, and co-vice presidents will be Gary and JoAnn Redmond, parents of Angela, Stephen, and Members of the Parents Council gather in the new Marshall Hall Thomas Redmond, all Class of 2011. for their February meeting – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington. Col. Walter F. Chalkley ’72, chief of staff, led discussion of the budgetary situation, including an expected decline in funds from the state and in the value of Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62, superintendent, thanked Parents Council the endowment. Additional topics were the strong admissions forecast, members for their strong support of the Institute via numerous activities occupancy of the recently completed Third Barracks and Lejeune Hall, throughout the year. The meeting concluded with presentations of and health and welfare issues affecting the Corps. certificates, signed by Peay, to the parents of the Class of 2009.

IRA Charitable ‘Rollover’ Extended By Scott Belliveau ’83, VMI Foundation Those alumni and friends who wish to use an individual retirement account to make a donation to VMI have until Dec. 31 to do so, according to Terrie Conrad, the vice president of constituent and planned giving for the VMI Foundation. This temporary change to the tax code is identical to one instituted in 2006 through the federal Pension Protection Act and then extended by Congress through 2007. It was not, however, until 2008 that the tax code was again adjusted to allow people to use their IRAs to give to charities without incurring any federal tax liability, starting on Oct. 1, 2008. As occurred previously, VMI’s alumni and friends were quick to take advantage of the law and used their appreciated IRAs to support VMI. “Between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, alumni and friends donated more than $319,000 to VMI using the ‘rollover,’” reported Conrad. “Already in 2009, I have been contacted by many others who are considering their IRAs to help VMI.” Although millions of Americans have IRAs, only those people who are 70.5 years old or older may take advantage of the rollover. Furthermore, the law limits the amount of donations that can be made in this manner to $100,000 per person.

Another temporary tweak in the rules governing IRAs – specifically the suspension of the mandatory required distribution – might cause some people to hesitate to use their accounts for charitable purposes, cautioned Conrad. “Congress has suspended the mandatory required distribution from IRAs during 2009; however, people still can gain important tax advantages for themselves and their heirs by donating a tax-exempt amount from their IRAs.” Alumni and friends can get more information on this opportunity to support VMI by contacting Conrad – by e-mail at tconrad@vmiaa. org or by telephone at (800) 444-1839, ext. 238 – or by visiting the VMI alumni agencies’ planned giving Web site. For the latter, visit the VMI alumni agencies’ main Web site, www.vmialumni.org; click on the heading “Supporting VMI” and then the link to “Planned Giving.” Those who find this method of giving attractive shouldn’t dawdle, said Conrad. “In all likelihood, Congress will not extend this exemption beyond 2009. Therefore, anyone who is thinking about using an IRA to make a donation to VMI should not delay in contacting the institution with which they have the IRA in order to start the process.”


The Institute Report, March 2009, Page 5

Equestrian Competition Again an Option at VMI

g guidin s e c i t c pra ump. Harris rse over a j her ho Cadet Becky Harris ’09 brushes her horse, Azizi. – VMI Photos by Kevin Remington.

By Bob Holland At the age of 8, Cadet Becky Harris ’09 stopped with her mother in Lexington en route to Connecticut to ride in a national competition called the American Saddlebred Horse Association pony finals. A show at the Virginia Horse Center had attracted the Harris’ attention. Little did Harris know that the college she eventually would attend, VMI, was only four miles away, or that one day she would be riding at the same complex representing VMI. Now Harris is the driving force behind the revival of the Equestrian Club at VMI. Although she is the only cadet participating so far in the sport’s complex competitions, a half-dozen other cadets are training. For the first time as a team, Cadet Michelle Lukenbill ’09 and Harris will compete April 10-12 in North Carolina at a rated horse show – the Fork Horse Trials. The rest of the team will debut April 18 in Charlottesville at the Toad Hollow Combined Test. The team currently includes Henry Baker ’11, Tyler Secrest ’11, James Lockett ’11, and Edward Surowiec ’12. Equestrian competition fits in well with VMI because its origins are military. For instance, dressage, which requires rider and horse to complete a prescribed series of patterns, evolved from a method used by the ancient

Greeks to teach horses precise movements in preparation for war. And three-day eventing, now also known as the horse triathlon, began as a test of stamina for cavalry horses. The club being started at VMI is an eventing team. Eventing combines dressage, stadium jumping, and cross-country. Harris likewise can trace her equestrian roots to early in her life in her native Florida, even earlier than age 8. “My mom [a former horseback riding instructor who still judges horse shows] tells me a story about how when she brought me home from the hospital she took me outside to her horse, Dezi, who at the time also had a baby. She wanted to introduce me to the family,” said Harris. “Dezi proceeded to run her nose from my feet all the way up to my nose. My mother said that I just sat there quietly and took it all in. So literally from the first days of my life to now I have dealt with or been around horses.” Sunrise Stables, a family-owned private facility just four miles from the horse center, houses the team’s horses, including Harris’ own Azizi, a Holsteiner, and Monty, a Quarter Horse. Gammon Castellvi-Nuckols, barn manager and riding instructor, trains the cadets in the intricacies of dressage and jumping.

“They have been a great help,” said Harris. “Without the people at Sunrise Stables, we wouldn’t have a team.” The Virginia Horse Trials held a collegiate division with some 15 institutions participating, among them the University of Kentucky, Virginia Tech, Georgetown University, Washington and Lee University, and VMI, at the Virginia Horse Center in 2008. Harris has competed there, as well as at other venues in the Mid-Atlantic. While representing VMI in the horse trials in November, Harris placed second, ½ point behind the leader, which led a joint VMI/W&L team to a seventh-place finish overall. What is so special about equestrian sport? “The first thing you need to know,” said Harris, “is that the true equestrian is driven by passion. That applies to most athletes, but athletes in other sports do not have to control a 1,500- to 2,000-pound animal. At least that is what I think separates horseback riding from other sports like soccer, swimming, and tennis. “It is also one of the rare Olympic sports that is co-ed. I believe that it is a sport that is not solely based on pure strength, but combines intelligence, hand and eye coordination, balance, strength, and, most importantly, patience.”


Page 6, The Institute Report, March 2009

Schneiter Named Deputy Superintendent and Dean Continued from page 1 dean will be to exhibit these qualities in myself and to encourage an atmosphere where they are evident in others.” In addition to teaching at VMI, Schneiter has remained involved in his discipline as a consultant, providing litigation support, technical guidance, and expert testimony for the National Environmental Law Center. He serves on the board of Capital U, a non-profit company that offers onsite seminars in Washington, D.C., and the Maury Service Authority, the agency responsible for water supply and wastewater treatment for the city of Lexington and Rockbridge County.

Following a four-year stint in the U.S. Navy, Schneiter earned his bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering in 1980 and a doctorate in environmental engineering in 1982 from Utah State University. Before joining the VMI faculty, he was a project engineer with Kennedy/Jenks Engineers in San Francisco before co-founding Aqua Terra Technologies Inc., a specialty engineering and science consulting firm in the San Francisco Bay area. Schneiter is married to Nancy Schneiter, and they have six grown daughters.

IS Professor Has Unique Knack for Sharing History By Wendy Lovell first African-American general in the U.S. Air By day, Dr. James Armstead teaches political Force, commanded the World War II Tuskegee philosophy at the Virginia Military Institute. By Airmen. night – or weekend – he portrays historical Armstead also portrays Davis’ father, Brig. figures such as James Beckwourth, Alexander Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Sr., the first AfricanPushkin, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and Gen. American general in the U.S. Army. Other Benjamin O. Davis Jr. characters include Col. Charles Young, the A visiting professor in the international first African-American U.S. national park studies department, Armstead has shared the superintendent; Mississippi Sen. Hiram lives of nine historical figures with audiences Revels, the first African-American to serve in nationwide through Chautauquas, programs the U.S. Senate; Dr. Percy Julian, a research of performers who represent figures from the chemist whose work laid the foundation for past. These storytellers of history methodically the production of cortisone and birth control research the people they portray and the pills; and Lemuel Haynes, a Revolutionary War costumes they wear, and they do their best not to minute man and Calvinist minister. break character during their performances. While learning the histories of the men he Last month, Armstead portrayed American portrays consumes much of his preparation educator, orator, and author Booker T. time, Armstead takes great care in finding the Washington for the VMI History Society. costumes he wears. Often, costume details draw Armstead developed Washington’s character several years ago when asked by the state of Authentically attired as Booker T. questions from members of his audiences. Arkansas to give a performance of him in its Washington, visiting international studies “The costumes are very important,” said state capitol building. professor James Armstead portrays the Armstead. “It has taken years to put together my “Performing Chautauqua is a lot like orator in a recent public presentation. – Beckwourth costume of buckskins. My costume for Henry Flipper, a Buffalo soldier, includes a preparing for class on a new subject, but the VMI Photo by Kevin Remington. post-Civil War Army coat and a sabre, but I had class is on someone’s life,” said Armstead. “You have to like the characters and find them interesting. Washington isn’t to have the boots made.” my favorite, but I’ve grown to understand him much better over the past Armstead currently is preparing to perform Revels at a Chautauqua in June in Winchester, and he is hoping to coordinate a mini Chautauqua three years.” Getting to know the characters he portrays is time consuming. at VMI in April. Armstead said he spends from three to six months researching historical The professor’s professional background is as interesting as the characters before he’s ready for a performance. His decision to perform characters he portrays. A specialist in international law, most recently Atatürk, first president of the Republic of Turkey, stemmed from his he held the Thomas Bahnson and Anne Bassett Stanley Professorship in dissertation on the battle of Gallipoli, but his characters don’t come Ethics and Integrity at VMI in 2007-08. He was also a visiting scholar at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Center for Russian, from the World War I era alone. A mountain man, Beckwourth earned notoriety in 1850 by discovering Eastern European and Eurasian Studies at Stanford University’s School a pass in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Colorado that bears his of Law, and he was a professor at the United States Naval War College. name. Pushkin, considered to be one of the greatest Russian poets and He’s practiced private law and served in the U.S. Army and the Army founder of modern Russian literature, died in 1837, and Davis, the Reserves.


The Institute Report, March 2009, Page 7

Mardi Gras

The VMI Regimental Band and Pipes and Drums march in the Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, Parade down Dauphin Street in Mobile, Ala., Feb. 24. The VMI unit was chosen as best band in the parade, which, attended by 143,000 people, was the biggest parade of the festival. The 120 cadets traveled Feb. 21 to Mobile on a C-17 aircraft flown by Lt. Col. Rob Sawyer ’88 and Maj. Ken Jambor ’95. The cadets marched three 2.6-mile parades within 18 hours and gave four concerts in and around Mobile. Dr. C.M.A. “Max” Rogers ’83 arranged billets, food and buses all over Mobile. The cadets returned on the C-17 to Roanoke Feb. 24. – Photo courtesy of Col. John Brodie.

VMI Foundation Sees Planned Giving Gains, But Drop in Gifts By Scott Belliveau ’83, VMI Foundation The current recession and the air of uncertainty that pervades the economy have led to a nationwide decline in charitable giving in the United States. Unfortunately, the VMI Foundation has not been immune to the downturn’s effect. Gifts and commitments received by the VMI Foundation and the VMI Development Board as of March 1 stood at $9.6 million, a decline of nearly 40 percent when compared to results through February last fiscal year. “When we reviewed these figures, we saw some things that were expected,” said Warren J. Bryan ’71, acting executive vice president of the VMI Foundation. “For example, endowment and restricted gifts dropped sharply, falling from $10.4 million to $2.9 million. This reflects the fact that, by this time last year, we had received two gifts of around $2 million each. We have no seven-figure contributions so far in 2009. “We also anticipated a decline in the Foundation Fund, which provides unrestricted money to VMI’s academic and co-curricular programs. The Foundation Fund totaled $1,465,000 at the first of March, down 14.8 percent, some $250,000, compared to last year.” While immediate gifts have declined, there are, Bryan said, three reasons for “guarded optimism.” The first is the gain experienced in commitments to the Foundation through planned giving and pledges. “Thanks to the hard work of Terrie Conrad, the Foundation’s vice president of planned and constituent giving, as well as Pat Webb, the vice president of alumni and reunion giving, more and more alumni and friends have become aware of the benefits of using planned-giving vehicles, such as gift annuities and charitable remainder trusts, to support VMI.” This increased awareness, coupled with the traditional generosity of donors to the Institute, helped planned-giving commitments climb 44 percent, from $3.4 million to nearly $5 million. The figures related to

pledges to the Foundation Fund also provide encouragement, showing an increase of 13 percent. “During the remaining months of fiscal year 2009, the Class of 1959 will celebrate its 50th reunion, which means that class’s 50th Reunion Fund will culminate, and that usually involves a lot of shake-a-leg activity,” explained Bryan. “Furthermore, although the FY 2009 figures for the Foundation Fund lag behind FY 2008’s, we’ve seen the gap steadily close over the past two months.” Further encouragement, said Bryan, also comes from the figures related to alumni participation. “Comparing the March 1 figures for this year and last shows that the number of donors to the Foundation Fund has dipped by only 1.53 percent, from 2,291 to 2,256,” said Bryan. “Moreover, the Keydet Club has enjoyed great success in drumming up new alumni donors through its 75th Anniversary Challenge, which will help improve our overall alumni participation rate.” All told, the number of alumni donors to all funds actually has increased by 350 to 3,646. “The Foundation takes encouragement from these figures,” Bryan continued, “because it shows that alumni and friends remain interested in VMI’s progress and are willing to engage in supporting it.” “The VMI Foundation is immensely grateful to those who already have rallied to VMI during fiscal year 2009. In the remaining four months of the current fiscal year, a time which traditionally shows increased participation, we will press home to alumni and friends the message that the progress VMI has made in all aspects of its education is imperiled by cuts in public funding and a decline in the value of its endowment. “The only way to ensure that VMI keeps moving forward is an immediate increase in giving to the Institute through the continued assistance of our loyal donors and the addition of new ones,” he concluded.


Page 8, The Institute Report, March 2009

VMI Takes Second in Track Championships By Brad Salois, VMI Sports Information all told, he directly contributed or was part The VMI men finished second at the of 32 of VMI’s 115 points. 2009 New Balance Big South Indoor Track and Field Championships, held Feb. 26 and Also winning honors after the event was 27 at Clemson University. Donnie Cowart VMI coach Darrin Webb, who was named earned 22 individual points and the Most the Coach of the Year, marking VMI’s Outstanding Track Performer award. second-such honor from the Big South this Cowart’s meet included three top-three year and the first for the track program finishes. The mile saw the Rustburg, Va., since 2005. native place second, as his 4:10.31 time Overall, VMI placed 15 points ahead of the earned his team eight critical points. The High Point University Panthers, who finished fifth-year senior, and team co-captain, also third. Charleston Southern University finished second in the 800 meters, losing VMI Coach Darrin Webb was named Big South Coach finished with 83 points, while Gardner-Webb out to teammate Felix Kitur by under one- of the Year. – Photo courtesy of VMI Sports Information. and Radford universities slid into the fifth tenth of a second. Finally, Cowart came and sixth spots with 71 and 68 markers home third in the 5,000 meters, the second-to-last event contested, on respectively. Winthrop University and the University of North Carolinathe strength of a 15:01.55 time. Asheville brought up the rear. Liberty University won the meet for the 12th He also participated in the victorious distance medley relay effort, as, consecutive season.

Post Briefs Distinguished Speakers Series Resumes in April Susan Eisenhower, who counsels some of the nation’s largest companies on energy issues, will address the Corps of Cadets at 11 a.m. on Monday, April 27, in Cameron Hall as part of VMI’s Distinguished Speakers Series. President of the Eisenhower Group Inc., Eisenhower began her career in business and is a specialist on foreign policy issues, especially on U.S.-Russian relations, international security and energy. She is founder and chairman of the Eisenhower Institute, a think tank named for her grandfather, former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and has written extensively on nuclear and space issues. During her visit, Eisenhower will be presented with the Distinguished Diplomat Award by the Department of International Studies, co-sponsor of the talk. The event is free and open to the public. Hentz Awarded Leave to Pursue Book Col. James Hentz, professor and head of the department of international studies, has been awarded a faculty development leave of absence next spring to serve as a fellow at Wolfson College at Cambridge and to work on a book tentatively titled “Wars Across States in Africa: A Systemic Explanation of War in Africa.” The book will examine Africa’s complex and numerous wars and will serve as an original contribution to international relations theory. Turner Evaluates Undergraduate Research at Norwich Col. James E. Turner ’65, professor of biology and director of undergraduate research, visited the campus of Norwich University in Northfield, Vt., in February to evaluate its undergraduate research and faculty development programs. He was joined by Dr. Ron Dotterer, professor of English at Salisbury University. They visited facilities and interviewed members of the administration, deans of the colleges, members of the undergraduate research and faculty development committees, faculty, and students. Norwich University is in the beginning stages of establishing its undergraduate research program, and Turner and Dotterer were charged with evaluating progress and how this

initiative should relate to faculty development. Both Turner and Dotterer are members of the National Conference of Undergraduate Research Board of Governors. Exteriors Cleaned for May Dedication In preparation for the May 1 dedication of Marshall Hall, which houses the Leadership and Ethics Center, Physical Plant staff gave the adjoining buildings a spring face lift. Moody and Smith halls and the Marshall Foundation were pressure washed under the direction of the Physical Plant’s John Camper. Light poles and handrails are also being repainted and new mulch put down. Weather permitting, the work will continue through April. Communications Efforts Win Awards The Office of Communications and Marketing won one gold and two silver awards for communications products it developed. The awards competition was coordinated by Admissions Marketing Report, and involved the judging of entries from more than a thousand colleges and universities. The gold award recognized the excellence of the office’s contribution to a direct mail advertising campaign as part of the Institute’s recruiting effort. A silver award was presented for a family of publications supporting recruiting. Both awards built on the campaign theme of “Don’t do ordinary.” A second silver award was presented to the office for the Institute Report. Cadet to Intern with German Parliament Cadet Andrew Rademaker ’09, an international studies and politics major, has been selected to intern this summer with the Foreign Relations Committee of the German Parliament. He will experience the inner workings of the German Parliament from the committee hearings to voting on the floor of the Reichstag. Following his summer internship, Rademaker will return to VMI and will graduate in December. He hopes to pursue a master’s degree in peace and security studies at a German university.


The Institute Report, March 2009, Page 9

VMI Host for Second Annual Poetry Symposium By Wendy Lovell

From left, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, lyric poet Julia Kasdorf, and Washington and Lee English Department Head Lesley Wheeler discuss the Poetry Symposium during lunch with cadets Kyle Nweeia ’10 and Gregory Lippiatt ’09. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.

“Translating poetry from one language to another demands a delicate balance.” This observation was offered by Cadet Jackie Briski during VMI’s Poetry Symposium March 6-7, after she presented her paper, “A Tale of Two Languages: Translations in Poetry,” about her first experience translating “La vida va y viene,” or “Life Goes and Comes,” a poem by Rosa Amelia Alvarado Roca of Ecuador. Students and faculty from nine area colleges gathered for the second annual symposium, highlighted by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa and lyric poet Julia Kasdorf, who kicked off the event with a public reading of their poetry. “Translating poetry from one language to another demands a delicate balance,” said Briski. “If you translate word for word, you can lose a lot of the poet’s original meaning, but if you aren’t careful, you’ll end up writing your own poem under the guise of translating someone else’s work. Briski added that she enjoyed the chance to interact with students from other colleges and universities in an informal academic setting. “The main thing I learned through discussing my paper with other symposium attendees was that the translator’s biggest challenge is not in translating words or ideas, but in translating culture.”

“We built on the success of last year’s inaugural poetry symposium to host this year’s event,” said Col. Gordon Ball, professor of English and organizer of the event. “There’s nothing like it in the state or the region, and there is considerable interest in poetry here at VMI and in the larger community. Our creative writing classes are filled, and there is much

Cadet Jackie Briski ’09 interest in the Sounding Brass, too.” Cadets and their fellow poetry students from Hollins, Washington and Lee, and Southern Virginia universities, as well as the University of Virginia and the colleges of Bridgewater,

Roanoke, Lynchburg, and Randolph presented their own poems and papers on poetry during the symposium. “The poetry symposium is a very unique opportunity available to cadets, regardless of major,” Briski said. “Higher education is all about academic inquiry and being exposed to new ideas. I’ve never taken a class on poetry, so participating in the poetry symposium allowed me to broaden my academic experience while having fun taking on a new intellectual challenge.” In addition to Briski, Cadet Gregory Hersh presented a paper entitled “Tear Down the Wall: Similarities Between William Blake and Pink Floyd,” and Cadet Jessica Rende presented “William Carlos Williams: The Uniquely American Poem.” Original poems were presented by cadets Christian Cortes, Eric Jackson, Joshua Kenny, Laura Resetar, Becky Harris, Jed Miller, and Gregory Lippiatt. Harris and Lt. Col. Kurt Ayau also presented a roundtable discussion, “Writing/ Teaching Poetry: The Creative Writing Class 2009.” The symposium was sponsored by the dean’s office, office of undergraduate research, Institute Writing Program, the VMI Department of English and Fine Arts, Sigma Tau Delta, and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.


Page 10, The Institute Report, March 2009

Cadets Make Strong Showing in Richmond By Wendy Lovell Despite VMI’s recent notable with Gov. Tim Kaine, who expressed participation in the presidential his pride in their performance in the inaugural parade, it doesn’t take inaugural parade. the whole Corps to make a good “VMI’s visit was a great opportunity impression. About 20 cadets made to honor Cadet Lippiatt and to highlight another strong showing when they academic excellence at the Institute,” visited the General Assembly and said Del. Scott Lingamfelter, who some of their delegates in Richmond received his bachelor’s degree from on Feb. 11, with Superintendent VMI in 1973. “Many of my colleagues Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62 and in the General Assembly were so the Institute’s government relations impressed by the Corps’ recent team. performance in the inaugural parade, The annual visit gives as was the first family. Combine that representatives of the Institute with Cadet Lippiatt’s honor, and it is the opportunity to express their a wonderful composite image of the appreciation for the General Virginia Military Institute.” Assembly’s support of higher Cadet Even Rogers ’10 talks with Del. Bill Janis ’84 during the Lippiatt said he was honored by the education in Virginia and to legislative reception in February. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington. recognition, as well as Lingamfelter’s promote the Institute’s needs and efforts to call attention to his funding requests. achievements. Following the presentation in the company of Lingamfelter, “The cadet visit to Richmond is a significant complement to VMI’s Peay and Del. Bill Janis ’84, Lippiatt was introduced in the Senate by Sen. government relations efforts,” said Maj. Kimberly Parker, government Thomas Norment ’68. relations director. “Interaction with cadets gives the members an “I think VMI’s presence at the General Assembly helped remind the opportunity to experience firsthand the quality of education provided at the legislators of the Institute’s importance not only to Virginia but to the Institute, and the respect state policymakers have for the VMI experience country as a whole,” said Lippiatt. “I think it helped to demonstrate both certainly contributes to our efforts to obtain support for new initiatives the relevance of VMI to their own districts and the return on the state’s and projects.” investments in the Institute. I hope that the legislators’ exposure to the Parker said a highlight of the visit was the center-aisle presentation in group of cadets confirmed their support for the mission of VMI and its the House of Delegates honoring Cadet Gregory Lippiatt ’09 as a Rhodes role in raising up responsible citizen-soldiers from Virginia and other Scholar. A native of York, Pa., and VMI’s 11th Rhodes Scholar, Lippiatt is states.” double majoring in history and English with a concentration in military In addition to meeting with legislators, the delegation from Lexington history and intends to pursue a doctorate in medieval studies following attended a reception to honor members of the General Assembly at the his study at Oxford and his service as an Army officer. The cadets also met Library of Virginia for which the VMI Alumni Association was host.

In Opposition Together Players on the VMI and Washington and Lee University rugby teams gather after a joint practice on the VMI Parade Ground. Though the two teams have enjoyed a spirited rivalry over the years, they have been practicing together about once a week this semester in order to assist each other in improving their games, said Wayne Howe, VMI coach. The two teams have also been sharing a meal together once a week and, said Howe, are becoming more aware that though the two schools pursue the education process quite differently, they still have much in common. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.


The Institute Report, March 2009, Page 11

Survey Confirms Quality of VMI Student-Faculty Interaction By Wendy Lovell and Col. Elizabeth Sechler, Assistant Dean of Assessment and Academic Support Long recognized as one of the hallmarks of the VMI educational experience, the quality of student-faculty interaction at the Institute, both inside and outside the classroom, was confirmed by findings of the 2008 National Survey of Student Engagement. The survey also documented VMI’s success in the areas of enriching educational experiences and supportive academic climate. “NSSE’s report affirms the value of a VMI education both academically and as a distinctive college experience,” said Col. Rob McDonald, acting deputy superintendent for academics and dean of the faculty. “It also demonstrates the strength of our faculty and staff, their commitment to teaching and learning, and the importance of interaction between our cadets and faculty and staff on Post.” “VMI uses the results of the NSSE on an ongoing basis to help inform decisions about all aspects of its educational experience: academic co-curricular, and extracurricular,” said McDonald. “The Institute uses the results pertaining to individual items on the survey as well as the benchmark scores to help satisfy accountability requirements of external agencies, including the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the State Council on Higher Education

in Virginia, and disciplinary accrediting bodies such as AACSB and ABET.” In addition, McDonald said the NSSE plays an important role in assessment of the new core curriculum. As outlined in the Institute’s Quality Enhancement Plan, the Institute expects the new core curriculum to elevate the Institute’s standing even more in the areas of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, and enriching educational experiences. VMI was among 769 colleges and universities that participated in the 2008 survey. When the average benchmark score of 224 4th Class cadets at VMI, a 53 percent response rate, was compared to the average score of more than 590,000 freshmen at all other institutions, with a 31 percent response rate, VMI’s score was found to be significantly higher in areas of student-faculty interaction and supportive campus environment. When the average benchmark score of 1st Class cadets at VMI, a 56 percent response rate, was compared to the average score of 560,000 seniors in the NSSE national sample, VMI’s score was found to be significantly higher in the areas of student-faculty interaction and enriching educational experiences.

NSSE Explained Since 2003 the Institute has turned to the survey as one means for gathering information about its educational effectiveness. Administered annually to first- and fourth-year students enrolled in bachelor degree programs by the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, the survey asks students to report their educational experiences including classroom participation, interaction with faculty, and time spent in enriching activities. Students are engaged to the extent that they participate frequently and with effort in a broad spectrum of activities that promote learning and development. To capture an institution’s profile of student engagement, the NSSE calculates scores for five benchmark categories of engagement: Level of Academic Challenge. The institution as a whole assigns a high priority to study and academic achievement; the courses tend to emphasize writing, reading, and advanced forms of reasoning or problem-solving; and the students experience a high level of effort when attempting to meet the institution’s expectations. Active and Collaborative Learning. Students collaborate with others in solving problems or mastering difficult material, demonstrate their knowledge in formal discussions and presentations, investigate ideas

and bring their newly acquired knowledge to bear upon activities and interactions outside of class. Student-Faculty Interaction. Students and faculty interact inside and outside the classroom in ways that encourage reflection upon the ideas presented in courses and the aspirations of students, provide opportunities to apply course material to the solution of practical problems and enable faculty to serve as mentors and role models outside the classroom. Enriching Educational Experiences. Students converse with other students of different ethnicities, beliefs and values; learn about different groups and cultures; hold volunteer or service roles that foster skills in collaboration and offer new real-world experiences; and complete major academic projects that require integrating material from various academic and practical experiences. Supportive Campus Environment. Students experience supportive relationships with other students, faculty members and administrative personnel and regard their educational environment as supportive of their academic success, non-academic obligations, and social and emotional well being.


Page 12, The Institute Report, March 2009

Cadets Explore Coast Guard Commissioning Opportunity By Bob Holland As Andueza noted, the program In addition to the Army, Navy, Air is tailor-made for those who have Force, and Marines, VMI cadets lived the military lifestyle throughout now have a fifth branch of service college. VMI is one of only six as a commissioning opportunity: colleges in the nation that qualify for the U.S. Coast Guard. DCSS as a result of the high-quality On Feb. 23, two Coast Guard military training offered by their representatives visited the Career ROTC programs. The key advantage Services Office after Lt. Col. Gary for graduates of VMI and the other Bissell, associate registrar, had five schools is that the DCSS training e-mailed an open invitation to last only four weeks, as opposed to interested cadets. Sixteen showed the 17 weeks of the regular Officer up, and others have expressed Candidate School. interest. There will be follow-up “Until last month,” commented visits. Cadet Alexa Tarbona ’09, “I really Petty Officer Luke D’Lima noted that the cadets “seemed extremely Coast Guard representatives counsel a cadet on the procedure to didn’t know what I wanted to do after graduation. I didn’t have a job interested in this program and had earn a Coast Guard commission. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington. lined up, nor had I ever considered some excellent questions regarding commissioning. Lieutenant Colonel Bissell’s e-mail caught my attention the DCSS [Direct Commission Selected School] graduate program.” “The great thing,” he added, “is that a majority of the students were and something clicked. graduating in May and December of 2010, which gives them the time to “At this point, I can only say that I am extremely excited to have such research and get more information about DCSS and see whether this might a tremendous opportunity placed at my feet and am very thankful for the flexibility and ease of this new program with the Coast Guard.” be something they would be interested in.” Although their decision-making must be on a faster track, some 1st In 2003, administrative control of the Coast Guard shifted from the Department of Transportation to the newly created Department of Class cadets were also looking into what the Coast Guard offers. “I think that this is a great opportunity for cadets who have not been Homeland Security. Bissell said the commissioning opportunity provides on a commissioning track while at the Institute, but are now seriously cadets “another option for serving their country.” considering it,” said Cadet Jose Andueza’ 09. “As of right now, I am highly In addition to completing four years of ROTC, a cadet must have considering this program and will probably go through the application a minimum GPA of 2.5 at graduation and pass a physical in order to qualify. process.”

Competition Stiff in VMI’s Third RecycleMania By Lori Stevens to collect the largest amount of recyclables “Competition is getting fierce,” said Maj. per capita, and is currently ranked first out Paul J. Ackerman, deputy post engineer of 15 participating Virginia schools. about this year’s RecycleMania competition, On the national level, VMI is ranked VMI’s third. seventh in recycling cardboard and 33rd for “Last year about 300 schools participated. weight recycled per capita. This year it is over 500. Only 10 schools in Vince Abruzzese, cadet in charge, and his Virginia took part last year; this year that team have grown the program in Barracks number more than doubled. The program and are now planning to assist faculty and is really beginning to grow,” he added. staff with recycling plastic and aluminum RecycleMania takes place over 10 weeks, containers. Abruzzese, with the help of Col. ending March 28. Thomas Trumps ’79, commandant of cadets, This year, for the first time, VMI has entered and the Physical Plant, has placed eight new the RecycleMania Waste Minimization competition, which measures the amount Vince Abruzzese, cadet in charge of VMI’s recycling containers in Barracks. VMI recycles against the amount of trash RecycleMania program, shows off two recycling The Physical Plant also has approximately 50 paper recycling stations across Post. The VMI generates. As part of its strategy for receptacles. – Photo courtesy of the Physical Plant. Physical Plant’s Roger Sours collects all the this category, VMI has pledged to implement recycling and delivers it to the Rockbridge Recycling Center. waste reduction practices on Post. As in past years, VMI is also competing in the Per Capita Classic, the event More information may be found at www.recyclemania.org.


The Institute Report, March 2009, Page 13

Grant Strengthens VMI’s Arabic Program By Wendy Lovell Learning a foreign language in three class periods a week can be a challenge for most college students. However, those who are able to regularly converse in the language and study abroad have quite an advantage in developing fluency and the ability to speak, understand, read, and write in it. Thanks to a recent grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, VMI’s Arabic students are getting that edge. “Arabic is not a language students can learn on the fly,” said Col. Kathleen Bulger-Barnett, head of the Department Of Modern Languages And Cultures. “It isn’t taught in most high schools, so our students begin learning Arabic from scratch. They’re learning an alphabet they’ve never seen before and to read and write in a new direction. It’s really amazing how much they can learn in four years.” Last spring, VMI received a three-year, $665,000 grant from the DoD through the ROTC Language and Culture Project, which is designed to provide ROTC students with the opportunity to study languages and cultures of world regions critical to national security. It is sponsored by the DoD’s National Security Education Program, a federal initiative designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills. According to Bulger-Barnett, the ability to offer commissioning VMI Arabic students $5,000 grants has removed the top obstacle to summer study abroad – the cost. “Funding study abroad is a tough issue, and the DoD grant provides relief for that during the summer with the grants for commissioning cadets to study Arabic abroad,” she said. “Cadets who major in science and engineering often cannot study abroad during a semester because their curricula do not provide enough flexibility for them to leave VMI for a semester. A summer program like VMI’s Passage to Morocco enables them to study Arabic, gain regional exposure, and still stay on track to graduate in four years.” Last summer, nine VMI cadets received DoD scholarships to study Arabic abroad and two received $6,000 to study Arabic in an intensive program at Dartmouth College. This summer, VMI will offer at least 20 $5,000

Arabic tutor Soufia Ezzaki works with Cadet Matthew Sinkez ’10 as part of VMI’s expanded Arabic program. – Photo courtesy of the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures.

scholarships for cadets to study Arabic abroad – 11 made possible due to the DoD grant – and two $6,000 scholarships for commissioning cadets to study Arabic in the United States. “The Department of Defense grant has made all the difference in the world in terms of getting cadets abroad,” said Cmdr. Tim McElhannon, director of international programs. “In addition to being immersed in the Arabic language, these cadets will benefit from the cultural aspect of the countries in which they study. They will learn that people in foreign countries sometimes think differently and use different decisionmaking processes than Americans, and that’s invaluable information for commissioning cadets who may be stationed in foreign countries.” The DoD grant also has enabled VMI to establish an Arabic Center to encourage out-of-class growth in speaking, writing, and reading the language. Soufia Ezzaki, a Moroccan national who recently joined the Please see page 14

Cadet Founds Forum in Morocco By Wendy Lovell Cadet Adam Green is the poster child for study abroad-programs. The 3rd Class cadet spent fall term at Moulay Ismail University in Meknes, Morocco, not only increasing his command of the Arabic language but more importantly completely immersing himself in the culture. During his stay, Green partnered with Moroccan student Mouhsin Boukharsa to organize the first Moroccan-American Forum, an open dialog between Moulay Ismail students of both nationalities to compare university life in their respective countries. “I was truly amazed at the response the forum idea received,” said Green, whose major is international studies. “Nearly all of

the American students were willing and ready to participate, and the Moroccan students were in high spirits about finally getting a chance to ask Americans about their views and perceptions of the world, in particular the Middle East.” The forum attracted more than 100 people curious to learn about one another’s culture, and it has spurred a newsletter on the same topic that is written by American and Moroccan students at Moulay Ismail University. With an interest in a career in the CIA, National Security Agency or Foreign Service, Green thinks his study of Arabic will serve him well, not to mention his experience as an international student in Morocco.

“As an IS major, obviously studying abroad has its advantages,” said Green. “In Morocco, I took classes on the Arabic language, Arab business, the history of Morocco, and a class that delved into religion, politics, and society in the Arab world. Studying abroad immerses you into the culture so quickly and in depth, but only if you are willing to participate and learn.” Green’s advice to those who study a foreign language is to try their best. “The harder you work at learning the language and culture, the more you will learn and the greater you will benefit from the opportunity to study abroad in a foreign country,” he said.


Page 14, The Institute Report, March 2009

Maj. Gen. Jackman Addresses Army ROTC By 2nd Lt. Chad Tobin ’08, Army ROTC Retired Maj. Gen. Galen B. Jackman, whose son, Patrick Jackman, is a 4th Class Army ROTC scholarship cadet, was guest speaker at the department’s annual Dining In Feb. 19. Maj. Gen. Jackman is probably most well known for his performance of escort duties for former First Lady Nancy Reagan during the funerary events of former President Ronald Reagan. The traditional Dining In ceremony honors the Marshall New Market Battalion’s achievements and helps build and maintain esprit de corps. Second Class Army ROTC cadets are working their way through an eightweek rotation of STX lanes, serving in a variety of leadership positions as they prepare for camp. They conducted land navigation exercises at Fort Pickett in Blackstone, Va., Feb. 20 and 21. This skill is crucial to their success at this summer’s Leader Development and Assessment Course and to their futures as commissioned officers. First Class Army ROTC cadets are waiting to hear their first duty stations as the department prepares to commission the cadets of 2009.

Cadet Zachary Youngsma ’09 greets retired Maj. Gen. Galen B. Jackman, guest speaker during the ROTC’s annual Dining In event. – Photo courtesy of Army ROTC.

VMI’s Arabic Program Continued from page 13 staff at VMI, tutors Arabic students in small groups or individually, and from class.” eventually she will be joined by another Arabic-speaking tutor. Bulger-Barnett said Ezzaki’s availability to work with cadets is particularly Cadet Lauren McKinley ’09 received a DoD scholarship to study in helpful as the number of Arabic students has grown each year. Currently Morocco last summer. She is a chemistry major who will commission in there are 29 cadets majoring in Arabic, six minoring, and 277 taking the U.S. Navy this spring, and she meets with Ezzaki three times a week to Arabic classes. converse in Arabic. “Being able to enhance our Arabic program through this grant has been “I decided to study Arabic language as a means to broaden my education quite an asset,” she added. “Many who commission in the military are and open up new horizons on a culture and people that the United States expected to learn foreign languages, and our program provides a head military has a vested interest in,” said McKinley. “Ms. Ezzaki and I talk start for those who are commissioning not only by giving them knowledge about things related to VMI and some things about my personal life. I of a critical language but exposure to the culture. For VMI, the grant has feel more confident speaking the language because the interactions are increased our visibility in this area and is of benefit in attracting students spontaneous, and the language center also helps me study my assignments with an interest in learning Arabic.”

Air Force ROTC Cadets Reach Out to Veterans By Cadet Conard Knight ’10, Air Force ROTC Cadets and staff members from Air Force ROTC Detachment 880 visited the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Salem, Va., Medical Center to share Valentines for Vets with veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. They brought bags filled with cookies and candy, a tray of Valentine cookies, and a thank-you poster signed by students from Kling Elementary School in Buena Vista to give to the veterans. The group spoke with about 25 veterans, learning about their military heritage by listening to stories from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Cadets and staff members called it a “humbling” experience. Also in February, on the 19th, Retired Lt. Col. James R. Berger ’61 spoke with the detachment about his experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He was shot down on Dec. 2, 1966, by a surface-to-air missile and spent the next 2,271 days as a prisoner of war. Berger gave insight on his daily routines and the harshness of being a POW for six years. Cadets asked questions about how his time at the Institute helped

him through his imprisonment and throughout his career. He said the Institute made him tough both physically and mentally. The detachment is also using its time with the cadets to gear up for Spring Field Training Exercise. Second Class cadets are taking a major role in FTX planning and execution, with 1st Class cadets providing close support. Seventeen cadets received news of training assignments Feb. 19: Erik Blum, Conard Knight, Carter Kunz, and Justin Ong received pilot slots; Hugo Bustamante, Michael Hozik, and Tyler Tucker received navigator slots, with Hozik being named a pilot alternate; Conard Knight was selected to attend Air Force Free Fall at the Air Force Academy; Ryan Crean was selected to attend the National Reconnaissance Office program; and Randolph Baird, Aaron Bradley, Aaron Trujillo, and David Wagner were selected to attend Operations Air Force at active duty bases across the country. Also receiving assignments were cadets from the VWIL program at Mary Baldwin College.


The Institute Report, March 2009, Page 15

Cadets Attend Surface Navy Association Symposium By Lt. Ted Achimasi, Naval ROTC They were also greeted by other Rubbing elbows with flag officers surface warfare officers who are VMI on all sides, midshipmen from the alumni. VMI Naval ROTC unit received a First Class cadet John Alexander warm introduction to the surface met the secretary of the Navy, Donald warfare community at the Surface Winter. Navy Association national symposium “I just went up to him and told him Jan. 15. The symposium is a threewho I was and that it was an honor to day convention held annually in meet him,” said Alexander. Winter Arlington, Va., and is designed to returned Alexander’s gesture and expand the communication and gave him a challenge coin. education goals of the association. The highlight of the symposium for This year’s theme was “Surface the cadets was clearly the banquet Warfare: Core Capabilities to Meet and pre-banquet reception. In the Nation’s Strategy.” addition to meeting key surface Departing from Lexington in the fleet leaders, they viewed exhibits early morning, the midshipmen arrived at the symposium at 8:30 First Class cadet Ben Kyler minds his helm on a shipboard on the latest technology in surface a.m. and attended four information simulator while a Northrop Grumman representative gives warfare from defense industry firms seminars. In the first, Rear Adm. instruction at a recent Surface Navy Association national such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and General Electric. Some tested Brad Hicks discussed the Navy’s symposium. – Photo courtesy of Naval ROTC. the shipboard bridge simulator on continuous integration of the surface display from Northrop Grumman, ballistic missile defense initiative. Afternoon presentations included a brief from the Navy’s director of and all tested another simulator from Angle Inc. that is used for studying expeditionary warfare, U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Thomas Benes; a brief navigation. on manpower and training from the deputy chief of naval personnel, Vice The evening was capped by a film presentation honoring the newest Adm. Mark Ferguson; and closing remarks from the Navy’s director of inductees into the Surface Warfare Hall of Fame and a keynote address by Secretary Winter. The cadets departed from the symposium with tote surface warfare, Rear Adm. Vic Guillory. The cadets had the opportunity to meet extensively with Guillory during bags filled with items given to them by the exhibitors including pens, the pre-banquet reception. He was delighted to learn that all seven of them calculators, timepieces, posters, books, key chains, flashlights, and recently selected surface warfare as their community of service after they information pamphlets. The SNA was incorporated in 1985 to promote greater coordination commission as Naval officers later this spring. The cadets encountered other admirals, active and retired, who and communication among those in the military, business, and academic were eager to ask them about their career aspirations as well as share communities who share a common interest in naval surface warfare and to support the activities of surface Naval forces. experiences of their own.

Snow and Big South Keep Physical Plant Busy Continued from page 1 from the top to the bottom, including electrical, plumbing, and lighting, to make sure it was ready to go. “They do a comprehensive sweep of the site,” said Williams. “We have had a Facilities Maintenance Program in place since 2005, so all the buildings are regularly checked several times a year. Since everything is maintained in good working order, for an event like this, we just have to do some fine tuning,” continued Williams. The team also checked the score board, making sure the clocks were running properly and were synchronized with the score board and that the PA system was operational. The ground shop was in charge of setting up for the game, including the scores table, the press row, the visitor and home team benches, and the goals. “For this particular event we had to do some rearranging and establish a media room to support the Big South officials,” said Williams.

Housekeeping had to make sure 5,000 guests were taken care of and the facility was cleaned up after. They cleaned and prepped the entire facility before the game, making sure trash cans were in place and rest rooms, stands, and seating areas were sparkling. “They also had to clean the floor for the game, using a special process, so that it had good traction for the athletes,” said Williams. The day after the game 10 to 15 housekeepers spent a few hours removing trash, sweeping, and cleaning to be ready for the next event. “Ninety-five percent of the events on the Post calendar require Physical Plant support,” said Williams. The same day of the Big South game the Physical Plant also supported a lacrosse game at Foster Stadium, followed by a baseball game the next day. That weekend they supported an Admissions Open House. “We are coming into our busy time of year,” concluded Williams.


Page 16, The Institute Report, March 2009

Record-Breaking Basketball Season Wins National Exposure By Wade Branner, VMI Sports Information VMI basketball’s ultimate goal of three-point field goals made per game, reaching the NCAA tournament fell just at 13.8. short as the Keydets dropped a 108-94 VMI, picked seventh in the Big South decision to Radford March 7 at the pre-season poll, finished as the No. 2 Highlanders’ home court. The game was seed with a 13-5 conference mark. The televised nationally on ESPN2. Keydets posted the first back-to-back The setback dampened VMI’s hopes 20-point wins in Big South tournament for a return to the Big Dance for the first history, running up victories over Coastal time since 1977, but at press time the Carolina and Liberty before gaining its program awaited a possible invitation to second Big South Championship game one of three other college post-season final appearance over the last three tournaments: the National Invitational years. Tournament, the College Basketball Notable individual accomplishments Invitational, and the newly created include fourth-year head coach Duggar Collegeinsider.com tournament. VMI players celebrate during the win over Liberty in the Baucom being named a finalist for Hugh Whether the Keydets play on or not, Big South tournament semifinals. – Photo courtesy of Sports Durham Award, given to the nation’s top it has been a remarkable run for the Information. mid-major coach. program, which saw national acclaim Senior twin guards Chavis and Travis throughout the season with feature articles appearing in such publications Holmes reaped many accolades during the year. The twins earned the top as Sports Illustrated and the New York Times. spot as No. 1 scoring twins in NCAA Division I history with 3,798 points. VMI posted 24 wins, second most in school history, and 13 conference Chavis Holmes currently leads NCAA Division I in steals, at 3.4, and Travis wins, most in school history. The 24-8 record was the the first winning Holmes ranks third, at 3.2, and is only the ninth player in Division I history season since 1997-98, and the 13 home wins ranked as the second most with 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 300 assists, and 300 steals. in school history. VMI won 10 times away from Cameron Hall this season, Chavis Holmes, ranked 15th in the country in scoring, is the only player the most road wins in the team’s history. in Big South history with 2,000 points, 300 rebounds, 300 three-pointers VMI currently ranks first in the country in scoring, at 93.8; three-point and 300 assists. He was named First Team All-Big South Conference and field goals made, 13.8; steals, 14.2; and turnover margin, +9.5. The NABC All-District 3 while Travis was tabbed Second Team All-Big South Institute is on pace to become only the third school to lead the nation Conference. in scoring three straight seasons, joining Furman (1953-55) and Loyola In the Big South Championship game, sophomore Austin Kenon scored Marymount (1988-90). a tournament final record 34 points and hit a tourney record eight three The Keydets are also on pace to break their own NCAA record for pointers. Virginia military institute communications & marketing office Lexington, VA 24450-0304

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