2012 Keydet Club Scholarship Athletes Recognition Banquet
October 31, 2012
2012 Keydet Club Guest Speaker, Will Lyles '02
On Saturday October 20, 2012 more than 670 VMI cadet-athletes, parents, endowed scholarship donors, annual full scholarship donors, fund representatives, coaches and VMI administrators gathered in a rearranged Crozet Hall for the Keydet Club’s Annual Scholarship Awards Banquet. The event has grown in size and scope over the years and brings together many of VMI’s most generous benefactors to athletics.
Following a wonderful meal prepared by Aramark, the staff of the Keydet Club – Greg Cavallaro ’84, Donnie Ross ’74, Doug Bartlett, Robert Crumpler ’07, and Andrew Deal ’12 – recognized all of the scholarship-athletes and annual scholarship donors, endowment donors and fund representatives present.
“The Keydet Club is proud to bring together so many of our generous and loyal alumni, family and friends so that you cadets can meet them and take a look at what your future will hold as alumni and alumnae of the Virginia Military Institute. It is the mission of the Keydet Club to contribute to the Spirit and development of a successful Division I athletic program that benefits the whole of VMI. We are inspired by the love and support that is evident in this room tonight and are proud to be a part of making the education of tomorrow’s leaders possible,” said Keydet Club CEO Greg Cavallaro ’84. “For our donors, these relationships are without question the single biggest factor that influences their generosity and continued support to the Keydet Club.”
The evening’s highlight was the presentation of the Keydet Club’s Three-Legged Stool Award. For the second time in the 12-year history of the award, it was presented to two cadet-athletes, VMI basketball player Stan Okoye ’13 and VMI women’s track and cross country star Jenna Moye ’13. This is the 12th year the Keydet Club has presented its highest cadet-athlete honor, the Three-Legged Stool Award. The Three-Legged Stool Award highlights a cadet’s outstanding achievements in all three major areas of a VMI education: Academics, Leadership and Athletics. Legendary VMI alumnus, the late Giles Miller from the class of 1924, was the first to use the term “three-legged stool” to describe VMI’s well-rounded educational mission.
Cadet Okoye is the preseason Big South Basketball Player of the Year and Vice President of Education for the Honor Court. Cadet Moye is a three-time captain of the women’s track and cross country teams while earning Big South Freshman of the Year and all-conference honors this year. The record crowd gave their enthusiastic support in an overwhelming ovation as the surprised cadets took the stage. They each received a formal resolution and a handsome Three-Legged Stool Award, which were handcrafted by local Lexington artisan John Owen. Cadet Moye is on the Paul A. Bouis ’67 Annual Scholarship, and Cadet Okoye is the recipient of the Mundy Family Scholarship represented by Marshall Mundy ’56.
The evening’s guest speaker, Cpt. William Lyles ’02, was introduced by VMI baseball head coach, Marlin Ikenberry ’95, who was an assistant at VMI during Will’s final two years. Will was a baseball player while at VMI and about a year after graduation he decided to join the Army. He attended OCS in May 2003 and went on to complete IOBC, Ranger school, Airborne school, Captain’s Career Course and Special Forces Qualification Course. Will was deployed on three different occasions serving two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. During his tour in Afghanistan, Will lost both of his legs to an IED explosion. He now wears two prosthetic legs and sees his injury “as a badge of honor.” He said, “I wear my prosthetics with pride as a symbol that I was willing to sacrifice myself for the future and safety of our country.” Will made it clear throughout his speech, that VMI has had an impact on his life and will always have a special place in his heart. “As a student here you learn that no one man is bigger than the class, regardless of who you are, who you know, or what sport you play. You learn to depend on your brother next to you in order to make it through this place. At VMI nothing is handed to you, everything is earned, and the same goes to pretty much everything in life no matter what your profession is. I took the values that were ingrained in me through my four years here and applied them to everything I ever did. I will always be grateful for the opportunity I was afforded to be a student athlete here at VMI.” Will closed his speech out with this quote, “Always know that somewhere and somehow, The Institute will be heard from today!” The VMI Keydet Club was honored to have former cadet-athlete Cpt. Will Lyles join the crowd for this special night, and everyone in the room that evening will never forget the ultimate sacrifices he made for his country.
The Keydet Club hails this Scholarship Recognition Banquet as one of the best ever, and they look forward to having an even larger crowd in attendance next year! To learn more about the Scholarship Recognition Banquet and how to give your support to one of VMI’s cadet-athletes, please call the Keydet Club at 800-444-1839.