Message from the Campaign Chairman

Wilkinson with ribbon

An Uncommon Purpose

On June 30, 2017, An Uncommon Purpose: A Glorious Past, A Brilliant Future: The Campaign for VMI ended its work on behalf of the Institute, its faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and, most important, cadets.  Throughout the life of this campaign, members of the VMI family enthusiastically and resolutely seized the opportunities that the campaign presented them to support the Institute and to ensure that it continues its unique and time-honored mission that sets it apart in the contemporary educational landscape: educating honorable citizen-soldiers who are ready in time of peril to defend and lead our nation.

Thanks to the generosity, foresight, and vision of more than 15,000 alumni and friends, An Uncommon Purpose raised more than $340 million in outright gifts and longer-term commitments to support VMI’s mission. This is a remarkable achievement and further recognition of VMI’s national reputation for excellence.

Throughout this campaign, I often wondered, “Where does this support come from?” The simple answer that question finally struck me: What we experienced throughout the campaign and the  core reason for its success has been "The VMI Spirit."

Recall the lines from our alma mater, "[F]or though the odds be against us, we'll not care, you’ll see us fight the same…our battle cry is never, never die." It's not just in athletic competition that the Spirit of VMI manifests itself. When faced with a challenge, everyone associated with VMI thinks of one thing: How to surmount it.  That is in the Institute's DNA.

The Spirit of VMI is shaped by elements of character that we hold dear and work hard to inculcate in our graduates: resolution, purposefulness, honor, selflessness, a devotion to duty, and an ethos of service. In the sweep of history, these have been the marks of civic virtue and the foundation of our civilization. They are what make VMI graduates stand out among their peers. They are what has given VMI its national reputation. And, they are what has driven this Campaign to success.

I thank everyone who participated in this effort. My colleagues on the Campaign Cabinet brought experience and wisdom to every aspect of the campaign’s planning and execution, and this triumph.  The Honorary Campaign Cabinet were among the campaign’s strongest advocates. The leaders and staffs of the VMI Alumni Agencies worked tirelessly and applied their depthless experience.

I am most grateful, however, for our donors--the thousands of men and women who made the decision to support an extraordinary American college with gifts and commitments that often can only be described as amazing.  Their generosity has made An Uncommon Purpose: A Glorious Past, A Brilliant Future: The Campaign for VMI an uncommon success.