Volume XXXVII, Number 7
Undergraduate Research Highlight of Cadetship By Wendy Lovell
First-class Cadet Jacob Cox took second place in the science poster division of the recent Undergraduate Research Symposium at the Virginia Military Institute, but he conducted much of his research on film electrolytes and silicon nanowire anodes 3,000 miles away. Last summer, Cox was selected to participate in the National Science Foundation Solid State Chemistry Program with scientists at the University of California Los Angeles’ Nanosystems Chemistry and Engineering Research – NanoCER – program. NanoCER supports the NSF program by working in teams that develop new materials, devices and applications in nanotechnology. Cox’s team focused on developing an electrolyte that could be used in a three-dimensional battery. “The way batteries have been designed in the past simply doesn’t allow them to power tiny devices effectively,” said Cox. “As technology gets smaller and smaller, we’re losing our ability to actually power those devices, but a battery that has a 3-D architecture should work extremely well on a tiny scale. All batteries, regardless of
Cadet Jacob Cox discusses testing procedures with Maj. Daniel McCain. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.
their design, have an anode, a cathode, and a for the team at UCLA is to design a separating layer that works successfully with the anode and separating layer.” While the solution seems simple, the challenge cathode prototypes they’ve developed. Cox also Please see page 4
Cadet Club: We’re Making An App For That By George Abry
Several cadets in the math and computer science department have decided to take a realworld approach this semester to their senior research projects: they have developed a series of iPhone apps. They have also started a club so students and faculty members can learn how to develop computer apps and stay on top of the latest software developments. App is short for application, and it’s Apple’s term for the software programs that run on the iPhone. Most of the apps tend to be small, self-
contained programs that have a single purpose or use. Connor Ross ’10, a computer science major, is cadet in charge of the iPhone application club. For his senior project, Ross has been designing an app in the form of a downloadable Post tour that could be viewed on an iPhone anywhere in the world. Ross said his biggest difficulty so far has been calibrating the GPS, which is only accurate to within three or four buildings. Trent Gordon ’11, a computer science major, worked on an iCadre app – a simulation of
pre-recorded cadre commands that can be downloaded onto an iPhone. Gordon said the club has allowed him to focus some of his academic skills on fun, real-world projects. “Many of these apps may be sold through Apple some day, so this helps teach the importance of quality work and puts a definite time line on a project that has the potential to stretch on forever,” Gordon said. For his senior project, Nick Lizotte ’10, designed a home automation system that uses Please see page 6
Page 2, The Institute Report, April 2010
Governor Visits Barracks Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell visits a cadet room while touring Barracks during his April 7 visit to the VMI Post. McDonnell came to Post to give the keynote speech for the 21st annual Environment Virginia Symposium. He was accompanied by Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62, VMI superintendent, on the tour, which was led Col. Thomas Trumps ’79, commandant of cadets. On the day of the tour, the governor commended the Corps of Cadets for its service and expressed his appreciation by granting amnesty to the cadets, canceling penalty tours, confinements, and specials. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.
Society of Family & Friends Support Vital By Scott Belliveau ’83, VMI Foundation
Some alumni have observed that, often, their Brother Rats can be more than a little proprietary when it comes to the Institute. Having spent four years in Barracks – sometimes more, sometimes less – they see the Institute as something unfathomable to anyone who has not worn a cadet uniform and as something that truly belongs only to alumni. Such thinking is, of course, nonsense, said Terrie Conrad, the VMI Foundation’s vice president for constituent and planned giving. “Hundreds of people who have never spent a moment as a cadet love VMI,” said Conrad. “They appreciate the values it stands for, such as honor and service to community and country. They know VMI alumni as their friends, co-workers, and neighbors and admire them for their purposefulness and their leadership abilities. Parents are among the Institute’s biggest fans as they see the positive effects of a VMI education on their children – often before their cadets do.” In the past, the only organized way that VMI engaged this broadly based group of supporters was through the Parents Council, which meant that the outreach to it was extremely limited. That changed in 2006 when the VMI Foundation established the Society of VMI Family & Friends under the auspices of the Council. “The purpose of the Society is to engage the entire range of non-alumni supporters of VMI, not just parents and grandparents, but everyone who supports VMI and the extraordinary way that it educates young people,” said Conrad, who has been responsible for the Society’s operations
since its establishment. “We saw it as a great way to not only bring these people closer to VMI, but also to educate them on the roles that they can play in providing VMI the financial support that it needs to maintain excellence in all areas.” The Society has fulfilled that purpose admirably. Indeed, so successful was the Society at reaching out to its target audience and raising private support from its members that, last year, the Parents Council decided to rename its development committee the committee for the Society of VMI Family & Friends. At the end of fiscal year 2009, the Society had 1,250 members, and, in the same year, those members gave more than $2 million to funds managed by the VMI Foundation and the VMI Keydet Club. This success has prompted Conrad to develop a new recognition program for those members of the Society whose accumulated giving is $5,000 or more. Those donors will receive a new car decal that highlights their membership in the Society. “It’s a relatively small, but vital, way to let these people, these loyal supporters of VMI, know just how significant their support is to the Institute’s future,” said Conrad. “It is also an excellent way to highlight participation by non-alumni in the ongoing effort to support the Institute. It is interesting to note that a cadet parent provided the seed money for this recognition program.” Brian S. Crockett, chief executive officer of the VMI Foundation, praised the Society of VMI Family & Friends as “an organization that, thanks to the volunteer co-chairs of this committee,
Michael and Monica Simmers, two cadet parents, and the hard work of Terrie Conrad, has effectively engaged of a large segment of VMI’s stakeholders. “The success of the Society of VMI Family & Friends not only shows how much parents of cadets and admirers of VMI appreciate VMI and support its traditions and values,” added Crockett. “It also helps point out the direction that the Institute, the VMI Foundation, and the other alumni agencies must take in order to expand the Institute’s base of support, specifically to enlarge that special group of people we call ‘The VMI family.’”
Institute Report Office of Communications and Marketing Col. Stewart MacInnis – Director Sherri Tombarge – Editor Burton Floyd – Publications Coordinator Contributors: Wendy Lovell, George Abry, John Robertson IV, Scott Belliveau, and Kevin Remington. Printing – McClung Printing,Waynesboro, Va. Eight issues are printed during the academic year. Inquiries, suggestions, news items, or address changes should be directed to: Editor, The Institute Report, VMI Communications and Marketing, Lexington, Virginia 24450-0304, Telephone 540-464-7207, Fax 540-464-7443
The Institute Report, April 2010, Page 3
Daniels Award Recipient Named support humanitarian action on four continents and VMI alumnus and environmental engineer Paul in countries including Iran, Philippines, Nepal, Bosnia V. Hebert has been selected to receive the Daniels and Herzegovina, Serbia, Switzerland, Ethiopia and Humanitarian Award. Hebert, a member of the Class of Kenya. 1968 who has devoted his career to humanitarian work in many countries, will receive the award in a ceremony Hebert has worked with agencies including U.S. Army at VMI during the 2010-11 academic year. Medical Corps, the Near East Foundation, the World Bank, The Daniels Award was established by the VMI Board the United Nations and the World Health Organization. of Visitors in 1997 to honor Jonathan M. Daniels ’61, A resident of Kenya, Hebert is currently working as an who gave his life to save a young black girl during a independent consultant for Catholic Relief Services and voter registration drive in Alabama in 1965. The award other non-governmental organizations in East Africa in recognizes individuals who have made significant assessing success with community-based water resource personal sacrifices to protect or improve the lives of management, sanitation programs and humanitarian Paul V. Hebert others. funding. He is a member of the Advisory Board and “This has come as a complete surprise,” said Daniels organizing committee of the Dubai Humanitarian Aid in his letter of acceptance, “and I cannot adequately convey my emotion and Development Conference for 2009 and 2010 and a contributor and to have been so honored with this prestigious award.” speaker at the Conferences in 2009 and 2010. Hebert, who holds master’s and doctoral degrees from University of Prior recipients of the Daniels Award are President James Earl Carter in North Carolina-Chapel Hill, has worked to promote development and 2001 and Ambassador Andrew Young in 2006.
VMI Foundation Notes By Scott Belliveau ’83, VMI Foundation
Foundation Board Meets The Board of Trustees of the VMI Foundation held its annual spring meeting March 25-27. Responsible for the overall governance of the VMI Foundation, the trustees gather twice a year on Post, in the fall around Founders Day and in the spring. During the meeting, the VMI Superintendent Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62 and other VMI leaders gave the trustees a briefing on the current state and future plans of the Institute. The trustees also attended the VMI Foundation’s annual stewardship luncheon. The rest of the two days was taken up with subcommittee meetings and a meeting of the full Board Saturday morning. Stewardship Lunch Recognizes Donors The Hall of Valor in Marshall Hall was the location of the VMI Foundation’s eighth annual stewardship lunch. The primary purpose of the event is to recognize those people and organizations, such as classes, who established the endowments that support scholarships for cadets and provide support to faculty members. It also provides an opportunity for these donors and their representatives to meet the cadets and faculty members they support and to see firsthand the positive effects that their endowments are having on Post. Retired U.S. Navy Capt. Susan J. Rabern, acting director of the Center for Leadership and Ethics, spoke at this year’s event. In her remarks, she described the Center’s work and how it already is helping to improve cadets’ overall education. Approximately 150 guests – including members of the VMI Foundation’s Board of Trustees – were in attendance, along with members of VMI’s faculty and staff and more than 100 cadets. Class Agents Gather for Conference Forty-six of VMI’s class agents were on Post for the annual class agents conference April 16-17. Drawn from classes from the 1930s to this decade,
these alumni are charged with strengthening the bonds among Brother Rats and bringing them ever closer to the Institute. They also play an important role in fundraising, informing their Brother Rats of VMI’s needs and urging them to participate in the ongoing effort to raise money for VMI. “Truly, a class agent is the glue that holds a class together,” said Patrick F. Webb, who, as the VMI Foundation’s vice president for alumni and reunion giving, is responsible for the class agents program. “They also are some of the best salesmen for VMI that anyone will ever encounter.” The conference began with a workshop for the class agents from younger classes, an opportunity for them to hear from more experienced class agents. During the remainder of the conference, the class agents heard from various VMI officials, including Peay, who made the presentation “VMI Today” and took questions from the agents, and Brig. Gen. R. Wane Schneiter, deputy superintendent for academics and the dean of the faculty, who discussed the academic program and its many recent advances. They also learned about the Institute’s financial situation and intercollegiate athletic program from Col. Eric Hutchings ’77 and Greg Cavallaro’84, the chief of staff of the athletic department and the chief executive officer of the VMI Keydet Club, respectively. Presentations by Brian S. Crockett, chief executive officer of the VMI Foundation, and Matt Schwarzmann ’90, VMI Alumni Association chief information officer, occurred on the morning of the 17th, followed by breakout sessions and discussion of the challenges ahead in the coming budget year. “The spirit and enthusiasm of the class agents is something wonderful to behold,” said Crockett. “Their devotion to their classes and to the Institute is impressive. These alumni are totally dedicated to VMI and to ensuring that it enjoys continued success. I thank all of them for their ceaseless work on behalf of VMI and their Brother Rats.”
Page 4, The Institute Report, April 2010
Torch Run Thirty-six residents and cadets leave the start line during the 5K Torch Run fundraiser March 28 during Spring FTX. Eighty-eight cadets helped with the event, setting up and breaking down, running the torch over the course, and giving directions. The event raised $600 for Special Olympics. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.
Undergraduate Research Highlight of Cadetship worked on a second project that involved etching a silicon wafer with hydrofluoric acid and silver nitrate to form an array of silicon nanowires. “It was rough doing two projects at once, but it was really rewarding, and I made a ton of progress,” said Cox. “Actually, I found myself spending more time in the lab than the grad students. Thanks to the NSF Solid State Chemistry Program, I now have a much better feel for how cutting-edge research is conducted at large research labs, a much better understanding of what grad school is like, and insight into what a career in research might look like. “Also, the research Dr. Joe Nemanick and I conducted [on the silicon wafer] should be published sometime within the next year.” Throughout the eight-week experience, Cox presented his work four times; the last was an hourlong presentation to his research group, which was comprised of three other undergraduate students and 15 graduate students and post-doctoral researchers. That was good preparation for the recent URS poster session and a presentation he made at the Southeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society last October. Maj. Daniel McCain, Cox’s mentor at VMI, is pleased with what he has accomplished during his cadetship and that he was able to participate in such a rewarding experience off Post. In fact, the NSF stipend didn’t cover all of Cox’s expenses, so VMI’s chemistry department supported part of his housing costs so he could participate in the program. “I did the NSF Solid State Chemistry Program
Continued from page 1 when I was in college, and I know that it helped me decide that I wanted a career in chemistry,” said McCain. “Jacob is an exceptional student and could go anywhere and achieve anything he desires. The chemistry department has always placed a high value on research as one of the best ways of educating cadets, and most of our chemistry majors do research with a faculty member on Post at some point during their cadetship, but Jacob took the initiative in seeking this unique off-Post opportunity, and we wanted to facilitate that.” With URS behind him, Cox is finalizing his Institute Honors thesis on enzyme kinetics. Since last spring, he and McCain have been studying an enzyme in humans called PP2C, which is involved in a large number of signaling sequences in the body. They hope the data collected in this project will lead to a better understanding of cellular processes and eventually drug treatments for a variety of diseases. While such a project complements Cox’s interest in going to medical school and pursuing research professionally, the time demands of the project have been difficult for a cadet who also is involved in many extracurricular activities. He’s held rank for the past three years and is an Institute EMT and volunteers once a week with the Lexington Rescue Squad. He spent a semester at Oxford the summer after his 4th Class year and the spring semester of the next at the Auckland University of Technology. He also is a member of the English Honors Society and has written poetry for the Sounding Brass and the VMI Poetry
Symposium. Cox said participating in undergraduate research has made things harder at times – he recently logged approximately four hours each day in the lab finalizing work for his Honors thesis while juggling his extracurricular commitments and preparing for graduation, but the work is paying off. If he can secure funding for his travel and living expenses, he plans to spend a year after graduation with a research team at the University of Yaounde in Cameroon, Africa, that is working to develop new drugs to treat African sleeping sickness. This life-threatening disease is endemic to 36 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and, according to the World Health Organization, threatens an estimated 60 million people. “Despite the time commitment, undergraduate research has really enhanced my education and given me some opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise,” said Cox. “I wouldn’t have been accepted into the NSF program last summer, and Dr. [Barthelemy] Nyasse probably wouldn’t be so open to letting me work in his lab next year if I didn’t have these research experiences. Also, it’s allowed me to get much closer to my professors than I otherwise would have, and Maj. McCain and I have become good friends.” Most importantly, Cox said, his research has enhanced his understanding of science. “Science isn’t done by reading through a book and working the problems at the end of each chapter,” he said. “It’s done in the lab. It’s all about research and publications, and my work here has taught me that.”
The Institute Report, April 2010, Page 5
Lehrer Promotes Service in Speech at VMI By Wendy Lovell
Veteran journalist Jim Lehrer addressed cadets March 22. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.
Veteran journalist Jim Lehrer said he felt at home at the Virginia Military Institute when he came to Post on March 22 to give a lecture in the Distinguished Speakers Series. Having served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the 1950s, Lehrer said he had a clear view of what life is like at VMI. “I know about you all; I know VMI,” said the executive editor and anchor of the PBS NewsHour. “I know that your motto is ‘In Peace a Glorious Asset, In War a Tower of Strength’; I know that you have an Honor Code; I know your mascot is Mo the kangaroo; I know what a rat is and the Rat Line; I even know what it means to strain.” Lehrer knows about VMI in part because his great nephew is a cadet, but the journalist’s understanding of VMI’s citizen-soldier model comes from a deeply held belief in the importance of serving one’s country. Lehrer told cadets both in his public talk and in an informal gathering with a select group of Institute Honors students that service is something all young people should pursue. “I think service should be mandatory,” Lehrer told the cadets. “I’m not talking about a draft, but mandatory service, whether it’s in the military, the Peace Corps or some other form. I favor a system that facilitates a shared experience, and right now there’s enormous opportunity to do great things voluntarily but also to do bad.” Lehrer told the small group of cadets that he never would have become a Marine if it hadn’t
been for the draft, but he credits the three years he spent in the military for shaping the person he has become both personally and professionally. “One of the many things I learned in these three years was to remove all the clichés about people,” said Lehrer. “I learned not to judge people. When you serve your country, you spend time with people who are different from you, and that’s an important experience.” That understanding of people has served Lehrer well in a long and successful career that began in 1959 at The Dallas Morning News and blossomed in public television where his partnership with Robert MacNeil in 1975 grew into what is today the PBS NewsHour. He said it’s also come in handy in the many debates he’s moderated over the years, including 11 nationally televised debates in the last six presidential elections. Lehrer gave his viewpoint on the current climate in journalism created by advances in technology and a downturn in the economy. The expansion of media outlets and opportunities on the Internet has created a plethora of information that is difficult to sort out. Lehrer sees the need for credible gatekeepers to help manage the flow of information for consumers who don’t have time to digest it all. “Not long ago, the news was a shared experience,” said Lehrer. “You had your daily newspapers, three television networks, Time and Newsweek. It’s great that we have more outlets, but the problem is most people don’t have time to
review it all. There’s a creeping need for someone to do this for you, and this is a new place yet to be created for people to put it all together.” Lehrer added that such a gatekeeper needs to be credible. No matter what form a gatekeeper takes, he added that the news itself will remain at the heart of all communication and that consumers need to recognize what is news and what is not. Bloggers, twitters, comedians, and talk show hosts don’t provide the news, but they all need it to thrive. When asked for career advice by a cadet interested in broadcast journalism, Lehrer advised him to focus on writing and to look for an internship at a small newspaper where he would get exposure to a variety of beats and experiences. “It’s no longer good enough to have a surface knowledge to be a journalist,” said Lehrer. “You’ve got to know your history, and you can’t cover the news today without a knowledge of economics. You also better be a good writer, and if you’re not, become one.” In addition to his work at PBS, Lehrer has written 19 novels, two memoirs, and three plays. He has been honored with numerous awards for journalism, including the 1999 National Humanities Medal, two Emmys, the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award, the George Foster Peabody Broadcast Award, and the University of Missouri School of Journalism’s Medal of Honor.
Page 6, The Institute Report, April 2010
We’re Making An App For That Continued from page 1 puzzle, which is sort of like a jigsaw puzzle, is a two-dimensional game with pieces that are manipulated to form a picture – in this case the VMI logo. Another app features a countdown to graduation; cadets can punch in a graduation date and then track the time remaining till graduation, down to the final minutes.
Twitter as a means of communication. One of the key components of the project is remote accessibility. “The iPhone/iPod application was used to remotely access the Twitter account and send messages to the home automation account,” Lizotte said. Lizotte said the process of creating apps is similar to other types of Geographical User Interface – GUI – programming. “Anybody with any sort of GUI programming experience will pick up the widgets fairly quickly,” Lizotte said. “The language used for the programming is Objective C, which is simple to pick up for anybody with a C/Java programming background.” The club can use the help of cadets in a range of disciplines. “Even cadets with no technical background at all would be helpful for generating project ideas and user interface testing,” said Lizotte. Col. James “Mac” Baker Jr., professor of mathematics and computer science, said interdisciplinary involvement across Post is ICadre (left) and a VMI slider puzzle are among needed for the iPhone application project’s the iPhone apps being developed by cadets. – Photo long-term success. courtesy of the math and computer science department. “My participation has mainly been with ideas for apps,” said Maj. George “Merce” Brooke Perhaps the most fun will be had with the IV, an assistant professor in the department of iCadre app. Voices, still in a “BETA” version physics and astronomy. “We meet about once recorded by cadets, yell out cadre commands, a month to listen to what the cadets have done including “Duty jackets on!” and “Fly away to and then give input,” Brooke said. “It is really a whatever hole you came from!” Baker is a faculty advisor on the iPhone great club.” Thus far, cadets have created three application project. He said the cadets’ apps are models for future applications the department applications. One of the completed apps is a simple “slider hopes to create and place on the Apple App Store. puzzle” with the VMI spider logo on it. A slider Apple’s App Store is a service that lets people
browse and download thousands of applications via iTunes, an online digital media store operated by Apple. “We are currently looking into the process for putting the apps on the Apple Store and looking into the complications of free versus paid apps and intellectual property issues,” said Baker. “We would like to put them on the store so that cadets and alumni can download them, and we think this will help with the recruitment and retention of computer science majors.” Lt. Col. Troy Siemers, associate professor and head of VMI’s mathematics and computer science department, is working with Baker on the application project. “We have figured out quite a bit of information about how to create applications for iPhone and IPod touches,” Siemers said. “We are working on marketing and distribution issues – and others, right now.” “Some of the challenges involved in writing apps include the small size of the display, the limited battery life, and the unusual input mechanisms – the touchscreen, the accelerometer, which can tell you how the iPhone is tilted or moved – and the GPS capabilities,” Baker said. “Ultimately we would like to teach a class in this,” Baker said. “Not just on iPhones and iPods, but mobile computing in general and the issues involved in mobile computing.” The software tools to develop these apps were provided to VMI at no cost by Apple. The mathematics and computer science department is participating in Apple’s iPhone Developer University Program, a free program that encourages colleges to introduce iPhone app development into their curriculums.
VMI Brass in Ireland
A brass ensemble of VMI cadet musicians perform on a float before 650,000 people in the Dublin, Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day parade, which was televised across the Europe and on “Good Morning America” in the United States. The cadets, who spent six days in Ireland, gave six performances, including concerts at a St. Patrick’s Day festival, a U.S. Embassy gala, a high school in Cork, the Cork College School of Music and at St. Multouse in Kinsale, an eighth-century Episcopal church. The cadets were billeted by the Irish Defense Forces in army barracks in Dublin and Cork, courtesy of Capt. Brian Prendergast and the IDF School of Music. – Photo courtesy of Col. John Brodie.
The Institute Report, April 2010, Page 7
Undergraduate Research Symposium Continues Growth By Wendy Lovell
Third-place liberal arts poster winner Adam Green ’11, discusses his project, “Unrest in the Holy Land: A Strategic Analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” with Cadet Chiesopher Gyamfuaa ’11. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.
Helping coordinate the Undergraduate Research Symposium for several years has been all in a day’s work for Patricia Hardin, but this year, her role as acting director of the Undergraduate Research Initiative gave her a new perspective on an event that continues to grow in size and scope. Around 140 cadets presented their research at URS on April 1; some even shared their artistic talents in the second annual VMI Exhibition of the Arts held in conjunction with the traditional poster and paper presentations. “I’m extremely pleased with the success of URS this year,” said Hardin. “We had cadets presenting their work in just about every discipline. We even had a poster on Cadet Johnny Alerding’s Air Force ROTC experience last summer.” Hardin explained that for the first time the URS Steering Committee invited participation from the ROTC departments in an effort to bring that aspect of cadet life into the Symposium. She said their involvement will be encouraged at next year’s URS, and she hopes participation in this area will increase over time. “Serving as acting director of URI has given me a new appreciation for
the work our cadets do to prepare for URS despite the hectic nature of spring at VMI,” said Hardin. “I’ve also enjoyed the opportunity to work more closely with the members of the URS Steering Committee and to see firsthand just how committed our faculty is to undergraduate research.” Another aspect of Hardin’s role as acting director has been to look beyond URS to the future, which includes strategic planning. An external team of reviewers recently visited Post to assess the state of VMI’s undergraduate research program, information that will help the Institute shape its future. Hardin said that she has had to look at additional avenues to generate external support for the Symposium and the URI that will add to the Jackson-Hope Fund’s generous and long-time support of URI. “Being part of the undergraduate research experience at VMI in a stronger capacity has been quite rewarding,” said Hardin. “I believe that when students get involved in an undergraduate research experience, they get to see the whole process from start to finish. They also get the opportunity to work one-on-one with faculty mentors, and a bond is formed that is quite invaluable to both student and teacher.”
2010 URS Awards Announced URS projects were evaluated by judges, and the following cadets received prizes for their projects: Liberal arts poster presentations: Matthew Sinkez, mentored by Col. Wade Bell and Col. R.E. Burnett, first; Logan Swanson, mentored by Bell and Dr. Pringle, second; and Adam Green, mentored by Maj. Dennis Foster, third. Science posters: Timothy Johnson, mentored by Col. Henry Schreiber, first; Jacob Cox, mentored by Maj. Dan McCain, second; and Ottie Allgood Jr., mentored by Col. Jim Turner, third. Engineering oral presentations: Ericsson Davis, mentored by Maj.
David Johnstone, first; David Padgett, mentored by Cmdr. Robert McMasters, second; and Sloan Burns, Carter Kunz and Matthew Satterwhite, mentored by Col. Matt Hyre, third. Liberal arts oral presentations: Even Rogers, mentored by Col. Rob McDonald, first; Fredy Jurkowitsch, mentored by Patricia Hardin, second; and Timothy Graziano, mentored by Col. Jim Squire, third. Science oral presentations: Alex Houser, mentored by Turner, first; Michael Kromm, mentored by Col. Lee Dewald, second; and Kathleen Underwood, mentored by Col. Vonda Walsh, third.
Page 8, The Institute Report, April 2010
A Cappella Group To Release CD By George Abry
The Men in Grey perform in February during the legislative reception in Richmond. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.
Two years ago Cadet David Perry was just a Rat who thought he had a good idea. This month VMI’s a cappella group Men in Grey are releasing their first CD. The CD is called “Inside the Walls.” Its 12 tracks feature innovative arrangements of traditionals like “Shenandoah” and “Coney Island Baby.” Readers who came up in the ’80s will appreciate the group’s sprightly treatment of Rick Springfield’s 1981 hit “Jessie’s Girl.” “We are just doing this to have fun and show off our work, not to make a lot of money,” Perry said. “We always try to give a performance, not just a recital, and that’s what we wanted to do here.” Perry, a history major in the Class of 2011, is Men in Grey’s music director. As a high school student in Midlothian, Va., Perry had formed a six-man a cappella group. He wanted to do the same thing at VMI. During his Rat year in 2007 Perry was a member of VMI’s Glee Club. “I liked the Glee Club, but I wanted to branch out, sing other things, and so did a few of the other guys.” Men in Grey became an official VMI group during 2008-09, and what started with eight guys, now sounds more like 16 guys singing in harmony with one soloist – who changes with every song – and a beat boxer. “The group, relatively, is still pretty young; we have a great time singing together,” said baritone singer Barker Squire ’10, who serves as regimental executive officer in the Corps of Cadets. “This CD project is something we tried to do for the last few years, but we always encountered obstacles – primarily funding.” Things really took off after a performance before the VMI Board of Visitors last fall. Several board members, along with the VMI Alumni
Association and VMI’s communications and marketing office, helped the group find the money to book some studio time. “We were initially just going to do the recording ourselves,” Perry said. Instead, the guys recorded the CD over three weekends in the Music Lab facility at the Jefferson Center in Roanoke, Va. “It was long, sometimes painful; it was a new experience for everyone,” Perry said. Jake Dempsey, the recording technician on “Inside the Walls,” said the group basically recorded everything together live, although occasional vocal parts were done separately. Dempsey said the hard part was getting the sound of the group balanced in the studio. “I think they are used to playing together, so overdubbing kind of threw them off a bit,” Dempsey said. Perry was the acting producer of the CD. Dempsey said his own input throughout the project was minimal. “I really like the traditional stuff they do; all of that is really strong,” Dempsey said. “They do a great version of ‘Jessie’s Girl,’ and all the material is great, but I really like the more traditional stuff they do.” “This CD has been a long time coming,” Squire said. Perry is proud of how far Men in Grey have come in the past couple of years, but he said it’s time to step down as the group’s music director and hand the baton to someone else. Paul Lingamfelter ’12, an international studies major, will take over for Perry next semester. “My main goal for the next year is to establish an all-new repertoire,” Lingamfelter said. “To learn new, original music that is unique to our group.” Men in Grey will perform April 30 at 8 p.m. in Gillis Theater in Marshall Hall.
The Institute Report, April 2010, Page 9
VMI Welcomes First Leader-in-Residence By Wendy Lovell
Lt. Col. Greg Gadson has long had a reputation for being a natural leader, but a life-changing injury suffered in Iraq has made his life a portrait of courage in the face of great adversity. Because this decorated Army commander knows well the role that hard work and determination can play in overcoming life’s challenges, the Virginia Military Institute named him its first leader-inresidence. A standout football player at West Point, Gadson fully embraced his role as an officer in the U.S. Army. He served in every conflict of the past two decades – in Kuwait, BosniaHerzegovina, Afghanistan, and Iraq. In May 2007, he was severely wounded by an improvised explosive device, which cost him both legs and normal use of his right arm and hand, but not his dedication to serving his country. A senior fellow at the Army War College, Gadson visited Post for a week in March and again in April to spend time with cadets, staff, and faculty discussing the meaning of leadership and sharing his insights on what he’s learned as an Army officer. He will be followed by other current or former leaders in government, the military, or business who will spend several weeks on Post interacting with cadets and sharing insights on ethical leadership formed during their careers. During Gadson’s visit, he gave several lectures, met with Honors classes and athletic teams, and held informal discussions with cadets over meals and during fireside chats in Barracks. “When I see VMI cadets, I see the future,” said Gadson, who graduated from West Point in 1989. “All I want to do is see them become successful, and if there’s anything I can do to help by being here, I will.” According to Cadet Will Shannon ’10, Gadson did quite a lot during his time on Post to motivate the Corps of Cadets. The leader-in-residence visited Shannon’s Honors forum class in March to lead an informal discussion on leadership. “It was very clear that Lt. Col. Gadson wanted to learn as much from us as we would learn from him,” said Shannon. “He brought a real-world application of the leadership models we are taught about in class and practice in Barracks and on Post. Real-world examples, talking to real leaders, and receiving advice on how we, too, will someday lead is invaluable information that cannot be [gained] through PowerPoint slides.” Shannon added that Gadson’s positive attitude is something he will never forget and that he appreciates the way the Leader-in-Residence Program is structured to give cadets the
Lt. Col. Gregory Gadson talks with cadets during a “fireside chat” in Barracks. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.
opportunity to meet with an inspirational person like Gadson in a small-group setting. Retired U.S. Navy Capt. Susan Rabern, acting director of the Center for Leadership and Ethics which sponsors the program, said she was thrilled by the impact Gadson made on everyone who came in contact with him.
“He will be a tough act to follow because he’s authentic – a real soldier who comes fresh from the battlefield,” she said. “The program was a success, and the cadets have already given the Center for Leadership and Ethics a long list of leaders they would like to be considered as guest Please see page 12
Gadson Meets Physical Plant Employees at Special Reception By George Abry
During Lt. Col. Gregory Gadson’s visit to Post, he took some time to address VMI’s physical plant employees and afterward shared refreshments with them in a separate reception. That’s when Scott Schulke recognized him. Schulke, a VMI waterproofer and maintenance employee, strode on over and sat down next to Gadson, and the two enjoyed a one-on-one conversation about everything from the New York Giants and teamwork to the importance of never giving up. Schulke, who spent about 20 minutes talking with Gadson, asked him how hard it had been for him to endure so much and find the will to get back on his feet again. “He said being in the hospital was the darkest point in his life,” Schulke said. “He didn’t know what was going to happen from there, but something woke him up, made him want to continue, and that was the biggest thing I got from him – a lot of people don’t make it through things like that.” Gadson’s table was soon occupied by a cast of VMI employees who stopped by to congratulate Gadson on his lecture; soon they were talking football with Gadson, who discussed the importance of looking out for one another and taking pride in a job well done. Gadson reminded the group that it’s possible for anyone to make a difference, even in a job or position you don’t like or wouldn’t choose to be in under different circumstances. “I think he’s a guy who mentally knew what he needed to do, and it helped him physically,” Schulke said. “He taught me that if you are down about something you can pick yourself up; you’ve got to try, anyway.”
Page 10, The Institute Report, April 2010
Artist Mort Kunstler will unveil a print of his painting “Last Tribute of Respect” in the VMI Museum May 15. – Photo courtesy of Mort Kunstler ©2009.
Artist Mort Kunstler to Unveil Print at VMI By George Abry
Historical artist Mort Kunstler doesn’t remember the last time he was at VMI, which is one reason he is looking forward to visiting Post. Kunstler will be at the VMI Museum on May 15 to unveil the print of his new painting, “Last Tribute of Respect.” The painting captures the scene on May 15, 1863, when Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s casket was carried out of the Barracks – where Jackson’s body had lain in state the night before in his old classroom – through Washington Arch, then loaded onto a caisson bound for services at Lexington Presbyterian Church. “It was a day of somber pageantry, the day of the funeral and burial,” Kunstler said. Kunstler has chronicled Jackson’s military career in many of his paintings, which are prized for their historical accuracy and attention to factual detail. This latest painting is an extension of Kunstler’s longtime fascination with Jackson, a “colorful character who is fun to paint.” “Here was this powerful general who was dressed more shabbily most of the time than a private,” Kunstler said. “He had dress uniforms of course, but he was always in campaign attire in the field.” The painting was commissioned by Donald McKenzie, who sells Kunstler paintings through King James Galleries. McKenzie approached Kunstler last year with the idea of painting the initial moments of Jackson’s funeral procession, and Kunstler agreed that this was an unsung episode in American history that should be celebrated. Both men also thought this painting was a missing piece in a series of scenes Kunstler has painted over the years of Jackson at various points in his military career. In an earlier painting titled “Road to Glory,” Kunstler depicted Maj. Thomas Jackson on horseback leading the Corps of Cadets from VMI on April 21, 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War. Kunstler said he wanted his new painting to serve as a prequel to another
earlier work, “Final Visit,” which has Robert E. Lee visiting Jackson’s grave in Lexington sometime around 1870. The focal point of “The Last Tribute of Respect” is Jackson’s casket, which is covered with the second national flag, which is also known as the “Stainless Banner” of the Confederate States of America. Kunstler said the flags in the painting tell a story. The Virginia flag and the first national flag of the Confederacy are visible on the left, while the VMI flag with its color guard is on the right; Confederate battle flags fly in the background. The procession that followed the caisson through Lexington included thousands of people: members of the Stonewall Brigade, Confederate officers, wounded soldiers, honorary pallbearers, the entire Corps of Cadets, and officials from every level of government. The people in the painting represent a cross-section of the civilians who came to Lexington for the ceremonies that day: women, children, and old men. Among the mourners are the widowed Mary Anna Jackson and Virginia Governor John Letcher. All eyes are on the casket. How long did it take to paint? “It took a lifetime to learn how to do it, but it took several months [to paint]; it was a very difficult picture,” Kunstler said. “I have always tried to paint pictures that no one else has ever painted before.” Kunstler’s emphasis on the Civil War in his art began in the 1980s. In 1992 the U.S. Postal Service commissioned him to do a painting of the Buffalo Soldiers, which was issued as a stamp in 1994. In 2001 Kunstler was named the official artist of the motion picture Gods and Generals. Limited Edition prints of “The Last Tribute of Respect” will be sold at the VMI Museum. Kunstler will sign prints at the museum from 9 a.m. till 2 p.m. Print orders can be placed before May 15 by calling King James Galleries at (888) 217-1865.
The Institute Report, April 2010, Page 11
Reception Room Opens in Former Subs Mess By John Robertson IV and Sherri Tombarge
Faculty, staff, cadets, and alumni now have one more place on Post to hold formal gatherings. The former Subaltern’s Mess – or Subs’ Mess – located in the lower level of Crozet Hall, has been renovated and redecorated as a reception room. Sixteen archival photos documenting the history and tradition of VMI’s mess hall from circa 1880 through 1960 are displayed on the walls of the room. “Forming up and marching down to the mess hall three times a day for meals has always been a part of VMI tradition,” said Col. Keith Gibson, ’77, executive director of the VMI Museum, who selected the photos. The photos show cadets marching in formation to three different incarnations of the mess hall. The original mess hall, designed by Alexander Jackson Davis, was built in 1868 and destroyed by fire in 1905. The site was intentionally located away from Barracks because of the constant threat of fire in a mess hall. The second mess hall was constructed with a similar design and stood from 1906 until 1934, when a larger building was needed, prompting the construction of the present Crozet Hall.
Cherry captains chairs and historic photos furnish the recently renovated reception room in Crozet Hall. – VMI Photo by John Robertson IV.
Cadets take a meal around 1904 in the original mess hall designed by Alexander Jackson Davis. – Photo courtesy of the VMI Archives.
A meal in 1915 takes place in VMI’s second mess hall, after the first was destroyed by fire in 1905. – Photo courtesy of the VMI Archives.
Photos on display chronicle the history of the three buildings, all located in approximately the same location as today’s Crozet Hall. Photos of the interiors of the mess halls show how cadets of different eras ate their meals together, being served family style by waiters and passing dishes around the tables. “Eating is socially a bonding experience,” said Gibson. “It is a proclamation of trusting.” That camaraderie is captured in photos of cadets forming up, marching down, and eating together. The furnishings, which were installed earlier this month after renovation of the room, resonate with this sense of history. “We have done it with an eye toward the past to make sure we’ve captured the spirit of Crozet Hall,” said Col. Jim Joyner, director of auxiliary services. The furnishings include cherry captain’s chairs, lamps bearing the VMI seal, and a flag stand. A podium and built-in sound system make the room suitable for a variety of occasions. Though plans for Crozet Hall called for a reception room in the basement, the renovation was postponed while the room was used for storage during the demolition of the former and construction of the current Lejeune Hall, when both the bookstore and the PX were housed in Crozet. The reception room now boasts an outdoor area and pull off for dropping off and picking up people attending gatherings within. When not in use by the VMI community, the room will be available for use by outside parties.
Page 12, The Institute Report, April 2010
Olmsted Program Offers Abroad Experiences By Wendy Lovell
Four years into his career it also is a great opportunity for with the Army, Col. Lee Dewald your entire family.” While the cadets in began studying German through attendance aren’t yet eligible a program he says changed his for the scholarship program, life. Dewald said he likes to plant Then a battery commander at the seed for future opportunity Fort Hood, Texas, Dewald was and to introduce them to selected as an Olmsted Scholar, Marsh and Stratton, who have which provided full funding for visited VMI for the past several language training at the Defense years. To be eligible for the Language Institute and two years Olmsted Scholarship, active of study at the University of duty officers in the U.S. Armed Göettingen. Forces must have at least three “The Olmsted program really and no more than 11 years changed my whole career,” said of commissioned service, Dewald, who has taught in VMI’s outstanding professional mathematics and computer science department since 2002. Retired Navy Rear Adm. Larry Marsh, president and CEO of the Olmsted performance and demonstrated “I thought I’d be an Army officer Foundation, talks to cadets about abroad opportunities for active duty officers. scholastic achievement. Olmsted Scholars are all my life, but following my – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington placed in countries all over the program I was offered several opportunities thanks to my affiliation with Olmsted that changed my path world, including Indonesia, a first placement this year for the program. VMI alumnus William Short ’82 studied at the University of Jordan in and brought me to the classroom.” Established in 1956 by Maj. Gen. George H. Olmsted and his wife, Carol Amman from 1982 to 1984, and alumnus Nathan Pierpoint ’98 studied Olmsted, the Olmsted Foundation promotes its founders’ belief that the at Corvinus University in Budapest, Hungary, from 2004 to 2007. greatest leaders must be educated broadly. To that end, the Olmsted Scholar The Olmsted Foundation has supported VMI through its Overseas Travel Program gives young military leaders the opportunity to achieve fluency and Cultural Immersion Program for undergraduate students, as well. To in a foreign language and to become immersed in a foreign culture by date, 35 VMI cadets have received scholarships to travel abroad during their cadetships. pursuing graduate study at an overseas university. To date, 525 scholars comprising 52 Olmsted Scholar classes have been “The Olmsted Foundation benefits cadets because it provides selected, and they have been assigned to 177 universities in 58 foreign opportunities to travel abroad for commissioning cadets who might not otherwise get an international experience at VMI,” said Cmdr. Tim non-English speaking countries, studying in 37 foreign languages. As a former Olmsted Scholar, Dewald has supported the foundation over McElhannon, director of international programs. “It is important for the years by participating in annual reunions of scholars and by spreading us to get international experience for as many cadets as possible so that the word about the foundation’s benefits. On April 13, he was host for an when they leave VMI they are able to understand cultures and perspectives information session for a select group of more than 50 1st and 2nd class different than their own. cadets, including presentations by retired Navy Rear Adm. Larry Marsh, “Regardless of whether they are going into the military and deploying president and CEO of the foundation, and retired Air Force Col. Bob abroad or working in a U.S. government agency or company here in the States, they need to be able have a global perspective and an Stratton, vice president for special programs. “This is a program for your future,” Marsh told the cadets. “This is a life- understanding of foreign cultures to be competitive and effective in their changing, leadership experience of personal and professional growth, and professions.”
Leader-in-Residence speakers or as the next leader-in-residence.” The VMI community is not alone in its appreciation of Gadson’s gift of a positive attitude. Former West Point football teammate Mike Sullivan was so impressed by the way Gadson interacted with his fellow patients Walter Reed Army Medical Center during his recovery that he enlisted his help motivating the New York Giants football team, where he serves as quarterback coach. Three months after his visit with Gadson at Walter Reed, Sullivan sent him tickets to a game
Continued from page 9 and requested that he speak to the team before they took the field. The Giants had lost the first two games of the season and were playing with no heart. The wounded warrior’s pep talk worked well, so well that the head coach named Gadson honorary co-captain at the NFC championship game and the team ended the season with its first Super Bowl victory in more than a decade. Whether he’s talking to an NFL football team or a classroom full of cadets, Gadson’s message focuses on service, duty, perseverance, and adversity. While he doesn’t claim to be able to
inspire everyone he comes in contact with, he does hope to help put things into perspective. Cadet Barker Squire ’10 attended a small-group luncheon with Gadson and enjoyed hearing about his experience as an Army officer, especially how he has dealt with his injuries in Iraq. “I only talked with Lt. Col. Gadson for about 40 minutes, but by the end of that time, I felt like I could have asked him anything,” said Squire. “I think the benefit of the CLE’s new program is that it definitely makes leadership much more real.”
The Institute Report, April 2010, Page 13
Spring FTX Reinforces Company Unity By George Abry
As in years past, 1st and 2nd class noncommissioning cadets had a full slate of activities to keep busy with during Spring FTX. This year they did things a little differently. Instead of cadets volunteering individually for projects, cadet companies were assigned to a particular event, then given certain responsibilities to carry out. Why the change? “To give company CIC’s more of a leadership role,” said Even Rogers ’10, who served as cadet in charge of Spring FTX. “It reinforced company unity and chain of command.” Rogers and his staff were responsible for executing all Spring FTX activities. “I basically ran the staff and made sure everyone was where they needed to be,” said Rogers. “But it was my staff who executed to the detail, and they did an excellent job.” First class cadet Marshall Cox was in charge of the Regimental Operations Center, the hub of FTX operations, while Alex Houser ’10 oversaw transportation. This year cadet companies worked on a number of community service projects. The VMI Timber Framers built a house for Project Horizon while cadet companies worked with Habitat for Humanity. One of the biggest projects this year involved clearing huge rocks from a drainage ditch in Buena Vista. Cadet companies also had an opportunity to take classes in investing and self defense. A.J. Pannebianco, VMI grappling coach, led cadets through a program called “Take
Cadets participate in a self-defense class during Spring FTX. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.
Control,” a self-defense course designed for law enforcement and military personnel. Pannebianco, who is chief of police for the city of Buena Vista, is also a self-defense expert. He said the Internet has made it easier than ever for would-be assailants to pick up martial arts techniques that can be used against police or civilians. “Take Control is basically a recognition course; it allows people to see some of the chokes people will try to put on them and learn
to defend against them,” Pannebianco said. “Today what is happening is people are watching YouTube in every country, learning one or two Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu moves, and then trying them out on people.” About 83 cadets were involved in Special Olympics activities on Post, where athletes participated in power lifting, bocce ball, track and field competitions, basketball, and swimming. Cadets also organized the VMI 5K Torch Run for Special Olympics.
Post Briefs Gibson Invited to Write Encyclopedia Article Col. Keith Gibson ’77, director of VMI Museum operations, has been selected by the editors of Oxford University Press to submit an essay on the work of Moses Ezekiel for the Grove Encyclopedia of Art. Grove Encyclopedia is considered the foremost scholarly resource for western art. Gibson co-wrote a biography on the artist in 2007 titled Moses Ezekiel: Civil War Soldier, Renowned Sculptor. Ezekiel, the first Jewish cadet to attend VMI, fought as a cadet in the Battle of New Market and graduated in 1866. Two of his heroic bronze statues are located on the VMI Parade Ground: Virginia Mourning Her Dead and “Stonewall” Jackson. 2010-11 Department Heads Announced Seven of the 14 department head terms will expire at the end of the current academic year. The following faculty have been reappointed to five-year terms: Col. Floyd Duncan, economics and business; Col. Shawn Addington, electrical and computer engineering; Col. Jim Hentz, international studies and politics; Col. Kathleen Bulger-Barnett, modern languages and cultures; and Col. James Gire, psychology and philosophy. Col. Mark Wilson has been appointed to a five-year term as head of the history department, and Col. Michael Hardin, mechanical engineering.
First Cadet-Led Book Club to Begin in Fall The Center for Leadership and Ethics is supporting the Virginia Military Institute’s first cadet-led book club, which will begin meeting next fall. The purpose is to encourage reading within the Corps of Cadets and to serve as a forum for discussion on current and sometimes controversial issues. The club will be led by cadets Sharif Gray ’11, Brandon Griffith ’11 and Zac Hartless ’11 with Capt. Susan Rabern, acting director of the CLE, serving as its faculty adviser. Plans are for club readers to discuss eight books over the course of the next academic year. Cadets and faculty members interested in participating can contact Cadet Sharif Gray at graysl@vmi. edu or Rabern at email@example.com. Gray Finalist for Prestigious Scholarship Cadet Sharif Gray ’11 was selected as a finalist for the prestigious 2010 Truman Scholarship, which provides financial support for graduate study, leadership training, and fellowship with other students who are committed to making a difference through public service. Gray was among 200 students selected as finalists from an applicant pool of 576 students from 254 colleges and universities. Sixty students were chosen to receive fellowships.
Page 14, The Institute Report, April 2010
Attorney General on Post Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II talks with Cadet Johnathan Shirkey, Alpha Company commander, during his April 6 visit to the VMI Post. Accompanying Cuccinelli are Gen. J.H. Binford Peay ’62 (left), VMI superintendent, and Col. Thomas Trumps ’79, commandant of cadets. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.
Parker and Team Embrace Order in Chaotic Legislative Process By George Abry
State funding for higher education doesn’t happen by accident, especially not in tough economic times. So Lt. Col. Kimberly C. Parker leaves nothing to chance. “Typically, because most legislators don’t know how higher education operates; they may introduce a very well-intended piece of legislation, but there may be some unintended consequences,” Parker said. “So we work with them on the ground in Richmond.” As VMI’s government relations director, Parker is the primary resource officer and go-between for members of the Virginia General Assembly and VMI’s government relations team, led by Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62. The team also includes Brig. Gen. Robert L. Green, who is deputy superintendent of finance, administration, and support. In Richmond, Parker fields questions from lawmakers about VMI’s funding needs, coordinates and schedules the superintendent’s visits to the capitol, tracks higher education legislation, attends committee meetings, and relays intelligence. Lt. Col. Dallas Clark, Institute planning officer, said one of Parker’s strengths is her ability to develop relationships with legislators, which allows the Institute to play an active role in shaping legislation. “So as bills come forward, we are able to work with the patrons of a bill to ensure that they understand the impact it would have on higher education,” Clark said. “VMI enjoys a great deal of credibility among the legislators; that is a result of the person who is down there day-in and day-out.
Lt. Col. Kim Parker
Since Virginia works from a two-year budget, the focal point of the legislative session this year was the 2010-2012 budget that was presented last December by then-Governor Tim Kaine. Incoming Gov. Bob McDonnell and lawmakers spent the bulk of the 60-day session – which ran Jan. 13-March 14 – refining that budget. The state provides approximately 25 percent of the Institute’s annual budget. “I spend a lot of time looking at legislation and sending those bills back to the post,” so members of various departments can study a bill’s language to gauge its impact on VMI, Parker said. Parker downplays the significance of her individual efforts; she said VMI’s ability to secure funding is an enormous team effort. Parker said it’s impossible to overstate the importance of Peay’s own interaction with legislators. Peay typically meets with lawmakers numerous times before and during the legislative session. “I am really down there representing VMI as a resource officer,” Parker said. “But when legislators want to see someone, they want to see
the superintendent. So it is really his efforts in Richmond, his office calls with legislators, their respect for him, and his credibility that really make the difference for VMI.” Clark said it also helps that several lawmakers in Richmond are VMI alumni who have held leadership positions in the General Assembly and have sat on key committees. They include Del. William R. Janis ’84, Del. Scott L. Lingamfelter ’73, Sen. Thomas K. Norment Jr. ’68, and Sen. Ralph S. Northam ’81. “We rely on all of them because a lot of this involves understanding the appetite for a particular issue or initiative,” Clark said. “And they can provide sound counsel to the Institute.” “I think one of the things Kim brings is a quiet, professional, deliberate approach to an otherwise chaotic and unmanageable legislative process,” Norment said. “In a very short period of time she has earned the respect of her peers and legislators, and I think she has become a very effective advocate and face for VMI in the General Assembly.” Norment cited Parker’s efforts to stave off further cuts to higher education during the recent session. “It really could have been devastating to VMI, and I think Kim was very effective in advocating what the potential impact would have been on VMI,” Norment said. Before coming to VMI in December 2007, Parker spent six years at Liberty University, serving as associate dean for administration and student affairs in the law school. Parker also has worked for several special interest groups in Washington, D.C.
The Institute Report, April 2010, Page 15
Visiting Professor Enlightens Young Minds By Wendy Lovell
Dr. Harrison Pemberton describes philosophic concepts with a cadet in his class. -- VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.
Dr. Harrison Pemberton taught philosophy in Lexington for nearly 50 years, but not at the Virginia Military Institute. That changed in December when he joined the faculty as the Eugenio Lopez Visiting Chair for Asian Studies. In that capacity, he is teaching an Honors course in philosophy, as well as leading an Honors forum. Next fall, he will teach another Honors course on courage and existence. “Topics in Philosophy: The Buddah Meets Socrates” has been well received by the 12 cadets in Pemberton’s class. His students are investigating the philosophical traditions of Western and Eastern philosophy and will put the two together in a final paper. For many of his students, the class offers an initial study of concepts such as existence, knowledge, values, and reason. For Pemberton, it’s his first opportunity to teach a group of students in such a unique and structured atmosphere. “I had been out of the classroom for a year and discovered I really missed it,” said Pemberton, who retired from W&L in 2004 but continued teaching occasionally. “The students keep you alive, and you’ve got to keep the gray cells busy. My cadets are asking startling questions I haven’t heard before, and I’m really enjoying it.” While VMI cadets differ somewhat from W&L undergraduates, Pemberton said that good students are good students no matter where they attend school. He’s found the biggest difference to be in the way cadets manage their time and are attentive to doing what’s asked of them. According to his students, the subject matter requires that they do a lot, but they find the challenge exciting and enlightening. “Being an economics and business major, I don’t get too many chances to think on such deep topics, but there are a lot of personal benefits from doing so,” said Cadet Kippur Taylor ’12. “I’ve learned a lot about philosophy, and I’ve learned even more about myself. The most important
thing I will take away from this class is not a particular answer, but rather a multitude of questions as it is through questioning that assumptions can be refuted and the truth can be revealed.” Cadet Hisham Yousif ’11 is an Arabic and international studies and politics major who was drawn to the course by its title and the way it is structured to bring together two very different philosophical branches for comparison. “Dr. Pemberton’s style is very unique; he is not rigid in structure or methodology,” said Yousif. “His class is truly a seminar in which he rarely lectures but sparks discussion, and it is absolutely enlightening in the sense that it has introduced an absolutely foreign perspective on philosophy – Eastern thought is not at all similar to anything Western or Judeo-Christian. He has expanded our realm of knowledge to a new world seldom given any serious examination in universities or schools.” Pemberton’s unique way of teaching is born of an experience he had in 2004 when he traveled to Kalimpong, India, to teach Western philosophy to young Buddhist monks at the Advanced School of Buddhist Studies. Among those students was His Holiness the 17th Gyalwant Karmpa, the head of one branch of Buddhism. In 2008 Pemberton published The Buddha Meets Socrates, an account of his experience as the private tutor of one the highest lamas in Tibetan Buddhism. “When we learned of Dr. Pemberton’s interest in teaching a course at VMI, and we discovered that he wanted to develop and offer the Buddha Meets Socrates seminar based on his book, we thought immediately of nominating him for the Lopez Chair,” said Col. Rob McDonald, associate dean for academic affairs. “He has done extraordinary things for the cadets, and the course already has a reputation – a good one. “As we prepare for pre-registration, I’ve had some asking whether it will be available next year, and that’s quite a compliment for a professor who’s been with us only since December.”
Page 16, The Institute Report, April 2010
New Facilities Reap Substantial Water Savings By Sherri Tombarge
Between 2007 and 2009 VMI increased its square footage through new buildings and additions by more than 15 percent. Between 2007 and 2009, the VMI Corps of Cadets grew from about 1,300 to close to 1,500. And during that same time period, VMI used 25 percent less water, achieving $96,000 in savings. VMI’s water conservation measures have significantly exceeded growth and other water demand factors. So concludes Lt. Col. Paul Ackerman ’93, deputy post engineer. “We’ve gained a lot of efficiency with the current construction schedule,” said Ackerman, noting that all new buildings and all renovated buildings have low-flow faucets and low-flush toilets. “The old toilets were 3 to 3 1/2 gallons per flush; we’ve replaced the majority of those with [toilets using] 1.6 gallons per flush,” he said. The new faucets have aerators that build up pressure before the water comes out. “It makes it feel like you have good water pressure, but it is low flow. People don’t realize they’re using less water,” said Ackerman. The new faucets use about half the amount of water
as the old. The Barracks is a good example of water savings from the new fixtures. In 2005, VMI was using approximately 760,000 gallons of water a month in Barracks. Since then, Barracks water usage has dropped to approximately 229,000 gallons a month. The toilets and faucets are, said Ackerman, “in every building touched by Vision 2039,” approximately 17 of the 30 large buildings on Post: new construction of Hinty Hall, Marshall Hall, and Third Barracks and renovation of Mallory Hall, Nichols Engineering Building, Jackson Memorial Hall, Crozet Hall, Kilbourne Hall, Old and New barracks, Paulette Hall (formerly Patchin Field House), Morgan Hall (the Nichols annex), King Hall (the Cocke Hall annex), and Foster and Gray-Minor stadiums. These buildings also feature low-flow or waterless urinals. Low-flow urinals use 1 gallon per flush instead of 2 or 3 gallons, and waterless urinals in the stadiums save “hundreds to thousands of gallons” during each sporting event, said Ackerman. The savings extend outdoors, as well. Patchin Field, Foster Stadium, the Third and Old Barracks courtyards, and the Parade Ground now have irrigation systems on programmable timers.
The timers are set to water lawns at the most efficient time of day, typically in the evening or early morning, and they have rain sensors so the sprinklers do not run if the lawn has received sufficient rain. “We’re using less water because we’re smarter about when we apply water to the grass,” said Ackerman. The installation of artificial turf at Delaney Field has significantly reduced water use there, said Ackerman. The water used in the summer to cool the artificial turf is a fraction of the amount that used to be used for irrigation. Three new fields will come on line next year with the completion of the Military Leadership Field Training Grounds, but one of those may be artificial, said Ackerman. “We love it,” he said. “You don’t have to cut it, and you don’t have to water it. In bad weather, you can use it.” The DeLaney Field was actually plowed during last winter’s snow events. The water savings has been a nice bonus. “We have primarily focused on energy [savings],” said Ackerman. “We know we have been conserving water, but with current renovations we have not had to focus on water savings. We’ve gotten a lot of return on less effort than if we had attacked it separately.”
Keydets Achieve National Ranking By Brad Salois, VMI Sports Information
which occurred in 2007 (22-8). VMI baseball achieved its third national ranking in program history The Keydets have been sparked by March 15, when the Keydets were their offense, including freshman Cory ranked 30th in the country by Spangenburg, who has hits in 25 of Collegiate Baseball. 30 games this year and is currently In the ensuing weeks’ polls, VMI batting .378. First Class Cadet Jordan briefly moved up to No. 28 before Ballard leads the Big South in home sliding to No. 29 in the March 30 runs (12), and has hits in 16 of his and April 6 tabulations. past 17 games. Additionally, only one Also on April 6, the Keydets full-time Keydet starter has a batting received votes in both the National average under .329, while all but two Collegiate Baseball Writers VMI players to get a start in the field Association Writers’ Poll and ESPN/ have hit a home run. USA Today Coaches’ Poll for the Upcoming key games for VMI fourth consecutive week. Jordan Ballard has helped power VMI baseball to its best-ever start. – include April 23-25, when perennial VMI has been helped by a two- Photo courtesy of VMI Sports Information. Big South power Coastal Carolina game sweep of The Citadel, as visits Gray-Minor Stadium for a threewell as an ACC win over Maryland en route to achieving the national game weekend series. Virginia Tech, Winthrop and Virginia are all on the recognition. remaining schedule as well. At 25-5, the Keydets are off to the best start in school history. This year’s Note: All statistics are current as of April 8. team is a full three games ahead of the previous best beginning to a season,
The Institute Report, April 2010, Page 17
VMI Cadets Help Run Model U.N. Conference By Col. Rick Kilroy, International Studies
Three VMI cadets, Charles Crowder ’10, Ryan Schmidt ’12, and Alex Wade ’10, joined with Washington and Lee University students last month to run this year’s High School Model United Nations Conference. The two-day event at the W&L Law School brought together students from five high schools, Rockbridge County, Stuarts Draft, James River, Parry McCluer, and Roanoke Catholic, to discuss both current and historical international political events. The conference included simulations of the United Nations Security Council, its Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee, the Economic and Social Council, an ad hoc Crisis Council, the Disarmament and International Security Committee, and a historic Security Council on the Rwandan Genocide in 1994. Crowder and Schmidt, both international studies majors, served as co-chairs of the UNSC and DISEC, respectively. Wade, a history major, co-chaired the historic Security Council. The VMI cadets and W&L students helped VMI cadets (from left) Charles Crowder ’10, Ryan Schmidt ’12, and Alex Wade ’10 joined with lead debates and fostered discussions in their students of Washington and Lee University to run the Model United Nations event. – Photo committees on issues such as nuclear proliferation, courtesy of Col. Rick Kilroy. humanitarian intervention, missile defense, environmental refugees and climate change, a challenge to constitutional democracy, and the global financial crisis. The high school students prepared their specific country position papers with the assistance of background papers from last fall’s American Foreign Policy courses written by other VMI cadets: David Grey ’10, Michael Herron ’11, George Statzell ’12, Jared Hendee ’10, Logan Swanson ’10, Christopher Carr ’12, Kelly Vickery ’10, and Ermin Mujezinovic ’11. The papers provided the high school students with information on each of their assigned committees and topics. While the students were busy debating global issues, Maj. Howard Sanborn, assistant professor of international studies, gave a talk on U.S.Chinese relations to the high school faculty sponsors. Sanborn, who has lived and taught in China, is working with Col. Mark Wilkerson, professor of history, to develop a study-abroad program for VMI cadets this summer at East China Normal University in Shanghai. During lunch on Saturday in Crozet Hall, Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62, VMI superintendent, offered students his views on the importance of international diplomacy and encouraged their desire to learn more about the world and the role of the United States and other countries in international politics. Crowder, Schmidt, and Wade were able to participate in this year’s conference due to a schedule change that moved the event up one week so that it did not conflict with VMI’s spring furlough. The three are taking a new course, PO 470 International Organization, which focuses on the role of inter-governmental, non-government, regional, and other actors in international politics. In February, they traveled to the University of Maj. Howard Sanborn gives a talk on U.S.-Chinese relations to high North Carolina-Chapel Hill to attend a United Nations Peacekeeping school faculty sponsors during the Model U.N. event. – Photo courtesy Conference. of Col. Rick Kilroy.
Page 18, The Institute Report, April 2010
Cadets Further Military Education at Fort Pickett By 2nd Lt. R. Hubbell McGeorge ’09, Army ROTC
VMI’s Marshall-New Market Battalion conducted its Spring Field Training Exercise March 26-30 at the Army National Guard Maneuver Training Site Fort Pickett near Blackstone. The exercise was planned and executed by 1st Class cadets, who will receive their commission as second lieutenants in May. The 4th and 3rd class training mainly focused on basic soldiering skills, such as land navigation, rifle and machine gun marksmanship, and fire team-level military operations on urban terrain training. “The FTX was a great opportunity to get exposure to true military training,” said Justin Dwight ’12. Training was both vigorous and exciting and focused on cadets’ skill development, he said. The 2nd Class cadets spent most of the FTX in the field, conducting advanced land navigation and squad and platoon field exercises. These training events consisted of tactically moving through rough terrain while engaging simulated opposing forces. For 2nd Class cadets, this training is the final exercise prior to the summer Leadership Development and Assessment Course, where they will be involved in a six-week course designed to Members of the Class of 2012 prepare to clear a building during military operations evaluate leadership ability. This course is the apex of Army on urban terrain – MOUT – training. – Photo courtesy of Army ROTC. ROTC training, and, along with GPA and campus performance, helps determine to which military occupational specialty they will be undoubtedly perform extremely well this summer at LDAC. The 1st Class also picked up some new leadership techniques as they assigned. “All in all, the Spring FTX went tremendously well,” said Maj. Eric East planned and executed the FTX. ’99, recruiting operations officer. The 4th and 3rd Class cadets enjoyed “I learned that an extensively detailed exercise like Army FTX requires their intense training and left with a new skill set to bring back to the substantial coordination and the ability to think ahead, backwards plan, Institute. The 2nd Class had the fortunate opportunity to gain some finishing and anticipate changes” said Josh Hughes ’10, ROTC S-4, logistics, touches to an already vast knowledge in tactics and leadership. They will officer.
Marine-Option Cadets Train at McKethan By Gunnery Sgt. Bradley Driver, Naval ROTC
by 1st Class cadets who had previously completed summer training. Later that day, Lt. Matthew Hyatt ’09 and Lt. Mark Turner ’09, guest speakers, discussed their Marine Corps experiences and explained how VMI prepared them for service as a Marine officers. On Sunday morning, the 2nd Class cadets, who are scheduled to attend Officer Candidate School this summer, were evaluated on their ability to lead a squad through obstacles and attacking objectives. These scenarios ranged from assaulting through an enemy position and capturing enemy prisoners of war to recovery of a downed pilot. Concurrently with the squad evaluation, 3rd and 4th class cadets completed land navigation training. They were required to plot their points on the map and navigate to the points, and they were graded on their ability to successfully complete the course. Once the land navigation course was complete, the cadets began the small unit leadership evaluation, going through similar obstacles to those 2nd Class cadets had completed that morning. The 3rd and 4th class cadets worked on the events in fire teams of four or five cadets and were evaluated on their efficiency, correctness, and ability to lead their teams. On Monday morning, the cadets hiked back to VMI for a cookout and other activities, and on Tuesday, they heard briefs from outside agencies Marine-option Naval ROTC cadets cross a linear danger area during and completed career counseling with the staff members. offensive operations training. – Photo courtesy of Naval ROTC. The spring 2010 FTX for the VMI Marine-option Naval ROTC cadets opened Saturday, March 27, with a morning hike to McKethan Park, where the cadets established a bivouac site and began military training classes. The classes, in land navigation, operations order writing, camouflage, cover and concealment, small unit level tactics, and artillery, were taught
The Institute Report, April 2010, Page 19
Survival Training, Paintball in Air Force FTX By Cadet Brian Molina ’10, Air Force ROTC
Commissioning 1st Class cadets undergo survival training during Spring FTX. – Photo courtesy of Air Force ROTC.
VMI’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 880 opened its Field Training Exercise, March 26-30, with the Combat Dining-In, featuring guest speaker Maj. Gen. Darren W. McDew. The commissioning 1st Class cadets began survival training the next day, Thursday, at the Survival Evasion Resistance Escape camp at Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School near Catawba, Va. They then traveled to Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., to get a better understanding of what it is like to be a second lieutenant in the U.S Air Force. Field Training Preparation offered myriad activities, including Joint FTP day with the University of Virginia’s detachment, M-9 training,
and the leadership reaction course, all focused on preparing the cadets for Air Force Field Training during the summer. The remainder of Detachment 880’s cadets participated in a paintball function to simulate small arms combat, but in a messier and more enjoyable fashion. Following the paintball event, the cadets were divided into three groups for base visits. The cadets learned the day-to-day activities of a base at the Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Va., Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, or Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina.
Naval ROTC Cadets Visit Warship, Train at Norfolk By Lt. Jeff Lambeth, Naval ROTC
Built with 7.5 tons of steel recovered from the World Trade Center and recently commissioned in New York Harbor, the USS New York, LPD-21, is an impressive warship, carrying with it both the might and the memories of the American people. VMI Naval ROTC Navy-option cadets spent the first night of the 2010 Spring FTX aboard this ship in Norfolk. They also toured a cruiser or a destroyer. The stay on LPD 21 enabled the cadets to experience firsthand what living and sleeping on a Navy vessel feels like. The cadets were greeted upon arrival by the ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Curtis Jones, who led a tour highlighting the capabilities and design of a San Antonio Class LPD. The cadets were then released to explore on their own and to enjoy the experience of shipboard life.
After a night spent on board the ship, the cadets got an early start for a variety of trainers and tours made available to them at Naval Station Norfolk. Some of the cadets participated in The Buttercup, a damage control trainer that involves combating actual flooding casualties in a simulated ship environment. Others drove submarines in a virtual reality simulator in the Submarine Learning Center, saw firefighting techniques and used the virtual weapons range to test their marksmanship skills with the M-16 and 9 mm pistol. A few cadets were even able to go to the Navigation, Ship Handling and Seamanship Trainer, one of the Navy’s newest, most advanced trainers, where they practiced ship driving skills in virtual high-pressure environments.
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Keydets Host Military Championships By Brad Salois, VMI Sports Information
198 markers. Navy’s 154 points placed it L e d b y H a n n a h G r a n g e r ’s third, while Coast Guard, with 18.5, and school record performance in the the Merchant Marine Academy, with 6, 5,000-meters, the VMI women’s were sixth and seventh respectively. track and field team finished fourth “I was proud to be the coach of this at the 2010 Military Track and Field team this weekend,” said Darrin Webb, Championships, which concluded VMI head coach. “Both teams did a great March 27 at Foster Stadium. The job of competing for the two full days, and men also finished fourth, paced by their fourth-place finishes are something Felix Kitur’s win in the 800-meters to be proud of because all the teams and a pair of second-place finishes involved in this meet are strong and very by James Alexander. well coached.” Kitur crossed the line in a time of Granger’s 17:29.28 clocking gave her 1:51.81 to notch the victory and earn the 5K victory and was some 20 seconds 10 of VMI’s 93 team points in the better than the previous school record, process. The 2nd Class cadet took the lead early in his race and held it Hannah Granger dominated the field to win the 5K at the Military which Granger herself set in 2008. The 2nd Class cadet held a commanding lead throughout, before outrunning Tyler Championships. – Photo courtesy of VMI Sports Information. from the opening lap and went on to win Stanley of Air Force and Matthew by just under 10 seconds. Evers of Navy down the final stretch to prevail. Alexander finished just behind Army’s Alfred McDaniel in the 100- and Those 10 points helped the VMI women earn their fourth-place finish, 200-meters, clocking in at 11.03 over the shorter distance while posting as the Keydets posted 64 points on the day. Air Force won the meet, led by senior Sara Neubauer, who won all four throwing disciplines and led the a 21.98 time in the 200-meters. The 26 points that Kitur and Alexander combined to earn helped VMI Falcons to 237 total points. Navy finished second with 193 points, while finish fourth, well ahead of fifth-place The Citadel at 54.5 points. Army won Army had 163 markers. The Citadel came home fifth, as the Bulldogs had the meet with 209 points, edging out Air Force, which finished second with 49 points, and Coast Guard finished sixth with its 11 points. Page 20, The Institute Report, April 2010
Published on Apr 23, 2010