VMI Graduation Ceremony 2018

VMI Graduation Ceremony 2018

October 22, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


Ladies and gentlemen, the ceremony will
start in 10 minutes. Please turn off all electronic devices. Please remain standing for the playing of
the national anthem by the VMI Regimental Band and the invocation by Chaplain Phillips. Our father God, we gather today in this atmosphere that is absolutely electric—full of excitement, celebration, pride, and success.
We rejoice today with these 371 soon-to-be VMI graduates and their
families. Today, the dream comes true, the goal is accomplished, and the
long-awaited milestone is surpassed. The ring on their finger and the diploma in
their hand will forever symbolize the work, sweat, sacrifice, tears, bonds, and
memories of their VMI experience, but today they cross the threshold. They
begin a new journey. They start a new race. Lord, let them run with endurance
the race that is now set out before them. Grant them success, guard their course,
protect their way. May they discern the things that are right and just and fair.
May your wisdom enter their hearts and your knowledge be pleasant to their
souls. May they have discretion that protects them and understanding the
guards them. Grant that they may be bold and confident in their endeavors. Give them
courage to stand for what is morally right, even when it is not popular and
especially when they face great risk. May they live lives of principle that are
clear, consistent, and influenced by the divine truth. Above all else, give them
faith in you that will not fail. Lord, I thank you for the men and the women in the class of 2018, their
families, their faculty, and their staff. I thank you for all they have accomplished,
and I thank you in advance for the things that they will accomplish. Grant us
with your presence today. We ask this in your Holy Name. Amen. Please be seated. Good morning. Secretary Tillerson, members of the VMI
Board of Visitors, members of the academic board, faculty and staff,
families and friends of today’s graduating cadets: welcome to this
commencement ceremony, the climax of four years of diligent study and hard work by
the Class of 2018. I have the great pleasure as we begin this morning’s
ceremony to welcome the Honorable Rex Tillerson, our commencement speaker, who,
with General George C. Marshall, is a second former secretary of state to
address the graduating cadets of the Institute. He will be formally introduced
in a few moments by the 1st Class president, but I take this opportunity to
welcome him and extend our highest regard for his service to the nation and
for his remarkable career on the international stage as chairman and CEO
of Exxon Mobil, a giant in the world’s economy, and for his service to the youth
of America as past national president of the Boy Scouts of America. His record of
service certainly resonates so well with this community, where our goal is to
educate young men and women to serve their nation and their community, whether
in uniform or in civilian life. Sir, welcome to the Virginia Military
Institute and thank you for the example of the very best of leadership. Graduation from VMI is a great personal
achievement, but is an achievement that cannot be reached alone. Many others have
contributed to the success of today’s graduates: parents and grandparents,
guardians, brothers and sisters, brother rats friends, faculty, staff, coaches, and host
families, to name but a few. VMI is particularly grateful to parents
and grandparents for encouraging and sustaining their sons and daughters,
grandsons and granddaughters, throughout these cadet years. I ask these parents
and grandparents to please stand and receive our thanks. This is certainly a
proud day for you. Universities and colleges are many
things to many people, but at the heart of any great
institution of higher education, I think, is its faculty. They’re the ones who
teach, guide, counsel, and encourage young people on a day-to-day basis. I include
in this group our military staff and those who coach our athletes, for at VMI we
believe that the academic discipline, military structure, and the physical
aspects make for a full and complete education. Please join me in expressing
our thanks to the Institute’s faculty. The class of 2018 matriculated in August
2014 of the strength of 500. Today we’ll graduate 355 cadets. Thirteen members of the
class graduated early in 2016 and 2017, and we acknowledge them today as well.
Adding graduates from other classes, today’s ceremony will see 373 cadets
cross the stage and receive a VMI diploma. The class of 2018 is the largest
graduating class in VMI’s history. Counting 193 of this class that were
commissioned yesterday, by the end of the summer, a total of 213 members of the
class of 2018 will have been commissioned. This means that 60 percent of the graduating
class have met or will meet the high requirements for commissioning in the
armed forces of our country. Others, additionally, will also be
commissioned upon completion of the Officer Candidate School (OCS) program.
These numbers are especially commendable and reinforce VMI’s historic mission of producing citizen-soldiers. A number of VMI cadets, staff, and faculty have
been called to active duty in support of the current and long war on terror, thus
placing their lives and their cadetships temporarily on hold. In addition, there
are parents and family members and others in the audience this morning
who are currently serving or who have served, and I just ask for all of you
patriots, you veterans, please rise and receive our appreciation for your
service. As the class of 2018, you were present
during years that saw significant anniversaries for the Institute and for
the nation. You were present in the year that marked the 175th
anniversary of the founding of the Institute, the 150th anniversary of the
battle of New Market, the 100th anniversary of the beginning of
America’s entry into the first World War, and now, this year, the 100th
anniversary of the end of that war. As 1st classmen, you planned and led the
Corps through a very successful year, which included participation as the
largest marching unit in two inaugural parades, one for President Trump and the
other for Governor Northam. You were diligent in professionally running the
Rat Line, the military, class, and honor systems, and your class was most
proficient in the classroom, performing with academic excellence.The Class of 2018
now goes into the VMI history books with demonstrated pride in its faithfulness
to the Institute’s high ideals, and, I believe, a splendid reputation. VMI is a
forward-looking institution, dedicated to producing intelligent and useful
citizens, but it is also steeped in history and tradition. We march into the future,
but we are ever mindful of the rich legacy of our past. There will be
important remnants of this life you have lived that will follow you into the
future, some quite serious, like a reputation for honor and persistence and
dependability, and some a little humorous or quirky, as when you explain in the
future to your children why you arranged your books on a bookshelf by height or
why you hang your clothes in order of color or length. It’s probably a lot more
truth to that than you realize today. I think more VMI has rubbed off on you
for the future. So as you depart the Institute and begin your new careers,
work hard, work hard, in fulfilling your dreams. Be creative. Master the art of listening. Appreciate the many sides of life. Be
civil and grow in wisdom. Provide the very best of leadership for
your family, for your community, and for our nation. Each graduating class has
heard me say this over the past 15 years: hold on to the concept of honor, the very
bedrock of VMI. People now will hold you to a higher standard because you’re a
VMI graduate. This high expectation cannot be avoided—the chaplain mentioned
it comes with the ring, and it comes with the diploma. Embrace it now as the heritage
that has been passed on to you, and strive always to preserve and enhance it.
The open road now awaits you. Godspeed— warmest congratulations from all of the
Institute family. it is now my pleasure to introduce the
valedictorian for the class of 2018, cadet Thomas Schmidt, from Geneva, New
York. The valedictorian at VMI is peer- elected by his classmates and is truly a
high honor. Mr. Smith double-majored in applied mathematics and physics.
He served as president of the Officer of the Guard Association this year. I think
providing high character and principled leadership in his responsibilities and
duties. A distinguished Naval graduate, he was commissioned yesterday in the
United States Marine Corps. Mr. Schmidt. Honorable Mr. Tillerson, General Peay, Board
of Visitors, distinguished guests, faculty and staff, thank you so much for coming.
To the class of 2019 and 2020, the only truly captive audiences I have today,
your time’s going to come. To the classes of 2021, our rats, take a good look, you’ll
be in our place before you know it. To our families, I can never begin to thank
you enough for all you’ve done for us, and I’m sure that goes double and triple
for everyone else sitting on the floor here. You made all this possible. I reached out pretty far for advice about
what to say for this speech, and the best I got was be brief, be brilliant, and then
be gone before people start sleeping in the aisles, so that is what I’ll
attempt to do here today. It takes four years to graduate from VMI, and for the
first two you’re just along for the ride. By the time you think you have the game
figured out, you’re wearing coatee, sitting on the floor in Cameron Hall, wondering
where the time went. Most decisions you want to make are
second-guessed, countered, rejected, or slow-rolled. This leaves you no choice but to
act with a sense of urgency, to be brief. Anything else will be forgotten about
before it can be breathed into existence. In the face of this pressure, 24 hours a
day, seven days a week, all year, I’m incredibly proud of how much the Class
of 2018 accomplished. When I think of the last four years, I don’t remember a
single test, a single PT session, any athletic events, or formation with a
particular sense of clarity. What I do remember is the people I did it with and
what an honor it is to know them. I think of the families who took me in as one of
their own without asking a question or missing a beat. I think of the incredible
sense of humor that’s as much a part of VMI as any uniform item or formation. I
think of watching my brother rats take charge of the Corps and the sense of
wonder and awe that I being a part of it. I think of the
resourcefulness shown in situations across the board, from writing capstone
papers within minutes of the due date to planning trips to Virginia Tech on a
shoelace budget and even shorter time, to getting a birthday boy back to barracks
on the night of his 21st birthday. I think of you all and how brilliant you
were, as friends, as students and leaders, and how brilliant that you will be as we
go forward. In a matter of hours, our time at VMI will be over. We will exit Cameron
Hall as graduates rather than as cadets. Some of us went into the military. Others
will go on to graduate school, and others went into the workforce. No matter our
plans, we will be gone, and thank God for that. I know that after we leave, despite our physical distance, our relationships will
endure. I know that we will go on to great things in a multitude of fields,
and not a single one will surprise me. I know that we will make good on the years
of support and the years of advice from parents, coaches, teachers, faculty, family,
and friends. I know all this without a shadow of a doubt because for four years,
I’ve been lucky enough to be a member to the Class of 2018, and I wouldn’t trade it
for anything in the world. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Smith. I’ll now ask cadet
Joseph Brown of Virginia Beach, Virginia, 1st Class president, to speak briefly
to his brother rats and then introduce our commencement speaker, the Honorable Rex Tilson. The Honorable Tillerson, Mr. and Mrs.
Bolen, General and Mrs. Peay, General and Mrs. Smith, distinguished guests, faculty
and staff, family, friends, Corps of Cadets, but most importantly, the Class of 2018,
welcome and good morning. In a moment, I will have the distinct honor and privilege to
introduce our commencement speaker, Secretary Rex Tillerson, but before I do
that I want to share some brief words with you all. 1,362 days ago, the rat
mass of 2015 plus three were sitting in your seats. We were called down company by
company to begin what a lot of people know as college. I looked at the dull
green barracks, those huge medieval-type structures throughout post, the VMI
football field, and remember thinking to myself two things: one, I can’t tell if this
place looks more like Hogwarts or a penitentiary, and then two, I
remember thinking, Joey, all your friends love college: college sports, the parties,
they all say they’re having the time of their lives and would not trade that
time for the world. Joey, you’re about to start college. I have never experienced a
more drastic and traumatic reverse in expectations in my entire life. What I thought were parties were
now sweat parties. What I thought was being tired or stressed did not even
scratch the surface of what we experienced here at Mother I. On the
other end, what I thought was time management discipline in high school—
they’re not even compared to what we learned here, and what I thought was
friendship and camaraderie was just the beginning. I don’t know if you remember
the speech I gave to our class’s Ring Figure last year, but I mentioned
something that my father Joe Brown says all the time. He says, “Son, I’m living
vicariously through you and all your classmates.” 2018, I think we all agree. I think we can all agree that if there was a way to
do this place right, we did it. We had great times. We had rough times,
but both are part of what made us the people that we are today and the class
that we are today. My dad said something else three years ago that
really stuck with me. He said it to a family member of mine. What he said was,
“He doesn’t just love you. He adores you.” My take-away was that love is truly
something special but to adore something or someone is almost another level up.
Class of 2018, on August 23rd, 2014, we matriculated and today, May 16th, 2018,
we graduate from a place known by many as the most difficult military college
in the country. The last four years have been a long road full of peaks and
valleys, but I pray the next 80 will be filled with healthy lives for all and a
lot of fun times. It may sound a little cheesy, but I adore what we have as a
class. I adore the relationships we have made along the way, and I adore the time
we have had together and the time we will have together moving into the future. I love VMI, but I adore you all.
Godspeed 2018! Thank you to everyone here in Cameron Hall, the Center for
Leadership and Ethics, and elsewhere that gave us, the Class of 2018, the courage to
take the road less traveled and the support of many kinds needed to graduate
from the Virginia Military Institute. It is now my distinct honor and privilege
to introduce today’s commencement speaker, the
Honorable Rex Tillerson. A native of Wichita Falls, Texas, Secretary Tillerson
earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering at the University of
Texas at Austin before joining Exxon Company USA in 1975
as a production engineer. Secretary Tillerson rose through the ranks to
become president of the corporation and a member of the board of directors in
2004 and served as Exxon Mobil’s chairman and chief executive officer
from 2006 to 2016. Secretary Tillerson has a long-standing involvement with the
Boy Scouts of America, earning its highest rank of distinguished Eagle
Scout in his youth. He is a former member of the Boy Scouts of
America’s executive committee and served as the national president of Boy Scouts
from 2010 to 2012. Most recently, Secretary Tillerson served as the 69th
U.S. Secretary of State. He’s a former member of the American Petroleum
Institute and the National Petroleum Council and was elected to the National
Academy of Engineering in 2013. He formerly served as a trustee of the
Center for Strategic and International Studies. He was also a member of the
Business Roundtable and the Business Council, as well as an honorary trustee
of the Business Council for International Understanding, and a member
of the Emergency Committee for American Trade. He is a former director of the
United Negro College Fund and a former vice chairman of Ford’s Theater Society
Ladies and gentlemen, Secretary Tillerson. Thank you, well, thank you, so much, Mr.
Brown, for that very kind introduction. I also want to thank General Peay and
everyone from VMI for the kind invitation to be part of this very
important day for all of you. I know it is important to you. I know it’s
important to your family, friends, and so many others who have played a part in
supporting you in your journey to this transitional moment in your lives. I know
many of you also received your commissions to serve as our newest
leaders in all branches of our military only yesterday. I want to thank you for
that—not only for your willingness to serve, but the commitment and sacrifice
of yourselves and family members that comes with your service. VMI prides
itself on its development of citizen- soldiers and the act of you’re
committing to this service due to no obligation to serve demonstrates why
America’s all-volunteer armed forces are unmatched by any other fighting force in
the world. Your willingness to put all on the line for the American idea, our form
of democracy and our freedoms and for no other reason inspire those of us not in
uniform to be good citizens, working for the prosperity and security of our
families, our communities, and our country. In this way, we honor your service. Others
of you are on the threshold to entering the private sector. Some will pursue
public service. Others will continue your education as graduate studies elsewhere.
Regardless of your next stop, the discipline, values, and beginning of your
development as a leader that you take with you from your time here at VMI positions
you very well in the starting blocks for the next phase of your life. In the
midst of these celebrations today, I also know that as you close out this phase of
your life and prepare for the future that you’ll take time to thank the
people who taught you along the way— of course, your teachers and professors,
important as they are, but also your parents, your grandparents, coaches,
mentors, and others who helped you learn and succeed. Like no generation before
you, more of you, most likely all of you, will be required to consider the entire
world clearly and understand how your life and abilities can help address many
of the shared global challenges confronting us. In 1975, more than 40
years ago, graduates such as myself and my classmates could afford to pretty
much focus on our own nation and our own markets for opportunity and growth.
Indisputably, that is no longer the case. I took my two all-day professional
engineering exams with a post slide rule. I was given my first handheld calculator,
a TI 110, one year after I went to work for Exxon. It could add. It could subtract.
It could multiply. It could divide, and amazingly, it had a square root key. I
received one of the first desktop computers, a Macintosh with a very blurry
green screen, in 1983, eight years into my career. Fast forward to the devices
available to almost anyone the world over. I’ll leave it to you to contemplate
the changes you will live through over the next 40 years. The most profound
change that challenges our economic competitiveness and our national security is
the proliferation of digital communications and transactions. Whether we like it or not, for better or for worse, our own inventions and innovations have
connected our world in ways unimaginable, and created economic and security interdependencies that we had not contemplated nor prepared
ourselves to manage. The world has more or less been drug along by the
technology, rather than our political and business leaders shaping the role of
these technologies. Digital highways and back roads are
great enablers of good and advance progress of humanity, but they are also
ungoverned connections for the spread of evil ideologies and the know-how to
organize and spread the tools of terrorism all too easily. The great
challenge confronting the global community of responsible nations is how
to protect and preserve the freedoms of our society, while enforcing the
responsible and legitimate exercise of free speech. This is a challenge your
generation will continue to confront. We must now see the present and the future
in a global context. We must recognize the value of friends and allies—allies
born of shared values and shared sacrifices. One of America’s great
advantages is we have many allies. Our adversaries—China, Russia, Iran, and the
terrorist organizations—have few. We must never take these long-held allies
for granted. We must motivate and strengthen them, not
just in our areas of complete agreement, but particularly in bridging our
differences, both in trading relations and in national security matters. Seeing
the future in a global context requires recognizing the rapid economic
development taking place the world over— the dynamic populations that are growing
in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and the challenges that will come from meeting
the needs in realizing the aspirations of billions of people on this planet.
These global realities have created a new economic and national security set
of pressures. Here at home, these changes have led to anxiety and fear about
growth in foreign markets and about the global movement of jobs. We must
acknowledge, however, that every nation has a right to aspire to a better
quality of life, and that free trade and economic growth are
the means by which opportunity is created for all people. Even today, in
this year 2018, 1.4 billion people live without access to electricity to heat
and provide light in their homes, cook their meals, clean their drinking water,
or power hospitals and schools. For these men and women and children, the
innovation and technology that comes with economic growth means the
difference between health and safety, sickness and death. Citizens in developed
economies are coming to this realization, but many here at home still have a way
to go to fully embrace the global economy and to recognize that with these changes come both challenges and opportunities. This is the world you
enter. It is a world in dramatic transition and change. As you look
forward, your role in building a brighter future will depend on more than simply
your education and your skills. Your contributions to society depend on a
firm ethical foundation of personal and professional integrity. As I reflect upon
the state of our American democracy, I observe a growing crisis in ethics and
integrity. Above the entrance to the main building on the campus of my alma mater
in Austin, Texas, are inscribed the words, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth
shall make you free.” It comes from the book of John, chapter 8, verse 32: you shall
know the truth and the truth shall make you free. The founders of our American
democracy were, I believe, many agree, were crafting the structure and
foundational documents guided by divine inspiration if not divine intervention.
An essential tenet of a free society of free people is access to the truth, a
government structure and a societal understanding that freedom to seek the
truth is the very essence of freedom itself. You shall know the truth, and the
truth shall make you free. It is only by fierce defense of the truth and a common
set of facts that we create the conditions for a democratic free society
comprised of richly diverse peoples, that those free people can explore and find
solutions to the very challenges confronting a complex society of free
people. If our leaders seek to conceal the truth or we as people become
accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we
as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom. This is the
life of non-democratic societies comprised of people who are not free to
seek the truth. We know them well. Societies in Russia, China, Iran, North
Korea—you can complete the list. A responsibility of every American citizen
to each other is to preserve and protect our freedom by recognizing what truth is
and is not, what a fact is and is not, and begin by holding ourselves accountable
to truthfulness and demand our pursuit of America’s future be fact-based, not
based on wishful thinking, not hoped-for outcomes made in shallow promises, but
with a clear-eyed view of the facts as they are and guided by the truth that
will set us free to seek solutions to our most daunting challenges. It is also
that foundational commitment to truth and facts that binds us to other
like-minded democratic nations, that we Americans will always deal with them
from the same set of truths and facts, and it is truth that says to our
adversaries we say what we mean and we mean what we say. When we as people, a
free people, go wobbly on the truth, even on what may
seem the most trivial of matters, we go wobbly on America. If we do not as
Americans confront the crisis of ethics and integrity in our society and among
our leaders in both the public and private sector, and regrettably at times, even the
nonprofit sector, then American democracy as we know it is entering its twilight
years. As to the matter of integrity, I am familiar with VMI ‘s honor code. It was one
of the reasons I looked so much forward to addressing you today. I know it is one of
the first and most important elements every rat is taught as the basis upon
which not just how to conduct oneself while at VMI, but it is the foundation
upon which a VMI cadet stands apart from others, and at some point during your
time here at VMI, you realize that you adhere to the honor code not because it
is a requirement to be a part of this place. Rather, you do it because you want
to, for you’ve come to realize that without personal honor there is no
leadership. But a warning to you as you leave this place, a place where the
person sitting on either side of you shares that same understanding: you will
now enter a world where, sadly, that is not always always the case, and your
commitment to this high standard of ethical behavior and integrity will be
tested. I’m fairly certain all of you have a common definition of the word
integrity. It’s always good to have a common understanding. One of Merriam-
Webster’s definitions of integrity is the state of being complete and whole. Now as
a civil engineer, I’ve always liked that definition because I can relate to it
through structural integrity—the state of being complete and whole. The
structural integrity of this building— we know it has a complete and whole
integrity so we feel comfortable sitting beneath these
beams in this roof, that it’s not going to end up down around our feet as we sit
here. Integrity is a critical building block of trust and cooperation. It makes
possible for different people of different organizations to work together
to solve the world’s most complex problems. Regardless of industry, project,
or task, integrity frees us to innovate, collaborate, and share over the long term.
As the world becomes more interconnected and global challenges require
sophisticated integrated solutions, the value of integrity only grows in
importance. In every sector, the integrity will be the key to unlocking high-impact
technologies, new ways to conduct business, and new approaches to solve our
most vexing geopolitical challenges that will make the world brighter for the
generations to come. We do not have to look far to find examples of the costs
to individuals and to society when integrity is sacrificed for immediate
gain or personal achievement. Such damage strikes at the very heart of a free
society. It undermines the public trust in institutions and the overwhelming
number of individuals and organizations who do live and compete by the rules every
day. It is a fact of life that most individuals want to make a positive
difference in the world in which we live. After all, you’ve worked very hard, and
you’ve sacrificed much to get where you are. You want your efforts to mean
something beyond just a job, the next advancement in rank or
promotion. It is true that your education will certainly play a part in your
future success, but if you truly want to build a brighter future for the world,
you must make the decision to live a life of integrity. Your knowledge and
abilities will not flourish without ethical behavior and strong moral fiber.
Choosing a life of integrity provides a wealth of blessings and benefits. It
gives us a true pathway to do the right things the right way every time, whether
or not anyone’s looking. Such discipline is the true source of progress in a
modern civilization because it is a commitment to see our actions as part of
a broader social fabric of cooperation and mutual advancement. In your career,
you will have occasions where it may appear easier to take a shortcut.
The pressure you feel may come from within—that you need to impress others
or that you need to have all the answers. Unfortunately, it may also come from your
organization or directly from a supervisor or a co-worker. These
pressures can be particularly keen in the early stages of your career, pushing
you toward decisions before the consequences are apparent. Committing
yourselves to a life of integrity and reminding yourselves of that commitment
often can give you the strength you need to resist the easy path that leads to
poor results or even ruin. It is important to remember that leadership is not a
position or title. Becoming a leader is what happens to those who embrace a life
of integrity. As you grow in your career, your personal integrity will draw
people to you. Your co-workers will come to rely on your humble, well-informed
insights. Your supervisors will trust you because of your self-discipline. As you
take on more responsibilities and gain experience, your personal integrity will
naturally evolve into managerial integrity. You will exemplify what the
best leaders demand from their people until you yourself become a leader. I never aspired to be chairman and CEO of
the Exxon Mobil Corporation. My wife will tell you I achieved my objectives in
about 1992. I was 40 years old. I became a division manager with responsibilities
over a large part of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado—all I ever wanted to
do. It was the best job I ever had. It’s all
been downhill since, but at some point you begin to
recognize that you have the capacity to do more and contribute more, not just for
your own personal benefit but for your organization. When senior managers begin
working on behalf of their people, that’s when I would see them really knock it
out of the park. You are going to have a great life. Some of those days are going
to be good days. Some of them are gonna be bad days. What I always reminded
myself is not to get overly euphoric on the good days and don’t get overly
despondent on the bad days. I was recently going through some of my
father’s papers who passed away a couple of months ago and ran across a page. It
said it was Buck’s Beatitudes. It’s 10 items. J.F. “Buck” Bashir was a
scoutmaster of a troop of Indian boys in Colorado back in the ’50s and ’60s. I
picked three of his beatitudes out because I think they’re good to carry
with you when I talked about those good days and bad days. So I got three that I
cite from Buck’s Beatitudes: “Blessed is the man who can see you make a fool of
yourself and doesn’t think you’ve done a permanent job. Blessed is the man who
does not try to blame all of his failures on someone else and blessed is
the man that can say that the boy he was would be proud of the man he is.” So you maintain and protect who you are
and remember that being a person with integrity is the most valuable asset you
have. Don’t ever let anyone take it from you. Carefully consider the values and the culture of the organizations in which
you seek to work—look for employers who set high standards for personal conduct
and who reward ethical leadership. Identify mentors who exemplify integrity
and leadership excellence. Developing as a leader largely comes from also
practicing good followership. See how the leaders you are following carry
themselves, how they manage their responsibilities. Study how they
communicate and make decisions. Observe how they learn from mistakes or missteps,
their own and those of others. Importantly, recognize that integrity is
not unique to any one culture. No matter where you are in the world, integrity and
good character are prized by every great faith and every great tradition.
Integrity means managing our lives in a way that focuses on the ideals that
unite us as people. In summary, I’ve lived a happy life. I want you to have a happy
life too. So I return to the definition of
integrity: the state of being complete and whole. Absent a life of integrity, no
human being can live a life that’s complete and whole without living a life of
integrity. Perhaps we have a chance. God bless all of you and your loved ones in
the days ahead and God bless the United States of America. It is now my pleasure to present the
awards for highest achievement to members of the graduating class. Will the
cadets whose names are called please come to the steps as they’re announced
by General Smith. The first Jackson-Hope Medal for highest attainment in
scholarship, accompanied by the Commander Harry Millard Mason academic
proficiency award, a cash prize to the recipient of the first Jackson-Hope
Medal, is presented to cadet Jarred Doron. Cadet Doron is a distinguished graduate
majoring in biology. He’s a distinguished military graduate and commissioned as a
second lieutenant in the United States Army. Well done. The second Jackson-Hope Medal for second
highest attainment in scholarship, accompanied by the Colonel Sterling
Murray Heflin 1916 academic proficiency award, a cash prize awarded to the
recipient of the second Jackson-Hope Medal, is presented to cadet Victor Kolle. Cadet Kolle is a distinguished graduate with
Institute Honors, which is the highest academic distinction we give, and an
economics and business major with a concentration in financial management.
He commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. The Society of the Cincinnati Medal is
awarded to that member of the graduating class who has distinguished himself or
herself by efficiency of service and excellence of character while at VMI. The
Cincinnati Medal is accompanied by two cash prizes: the Richard J. Marshall Award
and the Sumter L. Lowry Award. The 2018 Cincinnati Medal is presented to cadet
Ross Julian Schmeisser. He’s a distinguished graduate—majored in
mechanical engineering, minored in mathematics. He’s also a distinguished
military graduate—commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States
Army and he is the complete leader: an exemplary VMI cadet, a true citizen-
soldier, dedicated to the mission, committed to high standards. He is humble
and compassionate, and yet he’s admired, an effective leader of his peers. He’s
aggressive without being overly ambitious, intelligent and professional
in deed and word. Thank you. Will all of the candidates for
graduation please rise. The Academic Board has presented to the
Board of Visitors 212 candidates for the bachelor of science degree and 159 candidates for the bachelor of arts degree, all of whom have
been certified to have completed the requirements for graduation from the
Virginia Military Institute. By the authority of law vested in the Board of
Visitors and faculty, I confer upon each of you a diploma in testimony of your
being a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and award you the
bachelor’s degree appropriate to your major field of study. Institute Honors
graduates and graduates distinguished in general merit will be called first and
receive a distinguished graduate certificate. Please be seated and come
forward to the platform as your course groups are called. We are pleased to
recognize 24 cadets who have been certified as distinguished graduates
with Institute Honors. This honor is bestowed only on those who’ve earned at
least a 3.5 cumulative grade point average while completing the
requirements of their majors and minors, as well as the additional requirements
of VMI’s Institute Honors curriculum. This would be a rare achievement in any
college or university but is particularly noteworthy here, given the co-curricular
demands placed on cadets by the unique VMI education system. We’re also pleased
to take special note of 54 graduates who’ve been certified as distinguished
graduates. These cadets have completed their curricula with a cumulative grade
point average in excess of 3.5—again, a remarkable achievement. Take your seats. We have a lot of names today, so I’d ask
that you hold your applause until the last. Do your best. Distinguished graduates with Institute
Honors: Christian Spencer Nelms, bachelor of science in applied mathematics. Michael Seth Starin, bachelor of science
in applied mathematics, second lieutenant, United States Army,
distinguished military graduate. Brandon Michael Barbary, bachelor of science in
biology, concentration in biochemistry and molecular biology.
Conor Finn Snyder, bachelor of science in biology. Colin Michael Emrich,
bachelor of science in chemistry, honors in chemistry,
second lieutenant, United States Army, distinguished military graduate.
Mackenzie Megan Raber, bachelor of science in chemistry and honors in
chemistry. James Ralph Broom III, bachelor of science in mechanical
engineering, concentration in nuclear engineering and minor in mathematics. Abdias Barbosa Girardi Jr., bachelor of science
in mechanical engineering, minor in chemistry. Ethan Erickson Keyser, bachelor of
science in mechanical engineering, concentration in nuclear engineering. Peter J. Muto, bachelor of science in
mechanical engineering, concentration in nuclear engineering, minor in mathematics,
second lieutenant, United States Army, distinguished military graduate. Drew
Scott Switzer, bachelor of science in mechanical engineering, minor in
mathematics, second lieutenant, United States Air
Force and distinguished Air Force graduate. Erik Jason Cedotal Jr.,
bachelor of science in physics, double major in applied mathematics,
minor in nuclear engineering, ensign, United States Navy. Reed Holland Jones,
bachelor of science in physics, minor in astronomy, minor in mathematics. Thomas Allen McCormick Schmitt, bachelor
of science in physics, double major in applied mathematics,
second lieutenant, United States Marine Corps, distinguished Naval graduate,
Marine Corps. Ian James Horkan, bachelor of arts in
biology, minor in military history, minor in history,
second lieutenant, United States Army, distinguished military graduate. Victor
Gustavo Kolle, bachelor of arts in economics and business, concentration in
financial management, second lieutenant, United States Army, distinguished
military graduate. Alexandra Marie Hill, bachelor of arts in English,
concentration in rhetoric and writing, concentration in philosophy,
concentration in literary studies, concentration in art history and visual
culture, honors in English, second lieutenant, United States Army,
distinguished military graduate. Brian Alexander Macaluso-Stafford,
bachelor of arts in history, second lieutenant, United States Air
Force, distinguished Air Force graduate. Ryan James Elliott, bachelor of arts in
international studies, minor in national security, second lieutenant, United States Army, distinguished military graduate. Steven
Michael Foster Jr., bachelor of arts in international studies, double major in
modern languages and cultures, minor in literary studies, second lieutenant,
United States Army, distinguished military graduate. Benjamin Charles Haus,
bachelor of arts in international studies, minor in Arabic. Nathaniel Thomas Millard, bachelor of arts
in international studies, minor in national security, minor in Arabic. Samuel
Page Moffatt, bachelor of arts in international studies, double major in
modern languages and cultures, minor in national security. Ryan David Wells,
bachelor of arts in international studies, minor in national
security. And the following are distinguished graduates: Chun-Hao Chen,
bachelor of science in applied mathematics,
second lieutenant, Air Force of the Republic of China. Patrick Alexander
Lenahan, bachelor of science in applied mathematics, second lieutenant, Air Force. Cameron Andrew Boone, bachelor of science in biology, second lieutenant, United States Army. Jarred Christopher Doran, bachelor of
science in biology, second lieutenant, United States Army,
distinguished military graduate. Justin Michael Doran, bachelor of science in
biology, second lieutenant, United States Army, distinguished military graduate.
Bethany Alexandra King, bachelor of science in biology, minor in exercise
science. Tyler Andrew Krug, bachelor of science in biology,
second lieutenant, United States Army, distinguished military graduate. Donovan Vincent Walton, bachelor of
science in biology, second lieutenant, United States Air
Force. Robert Lloyd Finch III, bachelor of science in chemistry
concentration in biochemistry and molecular biology, minor in mathematics,
second lieutenant, United States Army, distinguished military graduate. Paul
Jacob Ackerman, bachelor of science in civil engineering. Alexander Cameron Catron, bachelor of
science in civil engineering. Ariana Madeline Claudio, bachelor of science in civil engineering. Jon Roger Kaiser, bachelor of science in civil engineering. Nathaniel Robert Kersey, bachelor of
science in civil engineering. Robert Harrison Nunaley, bachelor of science in civil engineering, second lieutenant, United States Army,
distinguished military graduate. Catrena Nancy Schumacher, bachelor of science in civil engineering, minor in physics, second lieutenant, United States Army. Theerachat Suvannachote, bachelor of
science in civil engineering, minor in mathematics,
second lieutenant, Army of Thailand. John Andrew Tartala, bachelor of science
in civil engineering, minor in mathematics, second lieutenant,
United States Army, distinguished military graduate. Taylor Ward Thomas,
bachelor of science in civil engineering. Benjamin Patrick Washechek, bachelor of science in civil engineering, second lieutenant, United
States Army, distinguished military graduate. David William Meise, bachelor of
science in computer science, minor in computer engineering,
second lieutenant, United States Army, distinguished military graduate. Mikael Roi Pineda, bachelor of science
in electrical and computer engineering, minor in chemistry and minor in
mathematics. Vincent Michael Smith-DiLeo,
bachelor of science in electrical and computer engineering, minor in
mathematics, ensign, United States Navy, distinguished Naval graduate. Zhichen Zhang, bachelor of science in electrical
and computer engineering. Matthew Ray Davis, bachelor of science
in mechanical engineering, second lieutenant, United States Marine
Corps, distinguished Naval graduate, Marine Corps. Sumin Michael Hong, bachelor
of science in mechanical engineering, concentration in nuclear
engineering, minor in mathematics, second lieutenant, United States Army Michael Joe Landry II, bachelor
of science in mechanical engineering, concentration in nuclear engineering,
minor in mathematics, second lieutenant, United States Marine
Corps, distinguished Naval graduate, Marine Corps. Ross Julian Schmeisser,
bachelor of science in mechanical engineering,
minor in mathematics, second lieutenant, United States Marine Corps, distinguished
naval graduate Marine Corps. Joshua Paul Willard, bachelor of science
in mechanical engineering, concentration in nuclear engineering, second
lieutenant, United States Air Force. Mawulolo Y. Bolouvi, bachelor of science in
physics, double major in applied mathematics,
second lieutenant, United States Air Force. Benjamin Kahle Johnson, bachelor of
science in physics, double major in applied mathematics,
second lieutenant, United States Army, distinguished military graduate.
Gregory Ray Austin Jr., bachelor of science in psychology, minor in
leadership studies, honors in psychology. Sarah Eileen Dickenson, bachelor of science in psychology, minor in Chinese, honors in
psychology, second lieutenant, United States Army,
distinguished military graduate. Jung Soo Lee, bachelor of science in psychology,
minor in exercise science, honors in psychology, second lieutenant, United
States Army, distinguished military graduate. Richard Lee Warren III, bachelor
of science in psychology, honors in psychology. Townsend Avery Wilburn,
bachelor of arts in biology, minor in French, second lieutenant, United States
Marine Corps, distinguished Naval graduate, Marine Corps. Tze Ting Chiu,
bachelor of arts in economics and business, concentration in financial
management, minor in mathematics. Jacob Allen Cochran, bachelor of arts in
economics and business, concentration in global management, second lieutenant,
United States Army, distinguished military graduate. Andrew Jeffries Green,
bachelor of arts in economics and business, concentration in financial
management. Cole Alexander Hedge, bachelor of arts in economics and business,
concentration in financial management and a minor in Spanish. Thomas Jacob
Moroney, bachelor of arts in economics and business, minor in psychology,
second lieutenant, United States Army, distinguished military graduate. Carlee
Mikayla Anderson, bachelor of arts in English, concentration in literary
studies, concentration in philosophy, concentration in rhetoric and writing,
honors in English. Emma Catherine Quirk, bachelor of arts in English,
concentration in literary studies, concentration in rhetoric and writing,
concentration in philosophy, minor in Arabic, honors in English, second
lieutenant,United States Air Force, distinguished Air Force graduate. Scott Andrew Kerchberger, bachelor of arts in history, minor
in national security, second lieutenant, United States Army,
distinguished military graduate. Robert Michael Boorda Dowling, bachelor of arts
in International studies, minor in Spanish, second lieutenant, United States
Army, distinguished military graduate. Joseph Tyler Gruber, bachelor of arts in international
studies, minor in national security, minor in Arabic, minor in history, minor
in Middle Eastern studies. Charles Louis Meire, bachelor of arts in International
studies, minor in national security, second lieutenant, United States Army, and
a distinguished military graduate. David Alexander Northington, bachelor of arts
in international studies, minor in Spanish, second lieutenant, United States
Army, and a distinguished military graduate. Donald Chase Simpson, bachelor
of arts in international studies, minor in national security,
second lieutenant, United States Army and a distinguished military graduate. Andrew
F. Faulhaber, bachelor of arts in modern languages and cultures, triple major in
international studies and history, minor in Middle Eastern studies, second
lieutenant, United States Army, distinguished military graduate. Levi
Cole Harmon, bachelor of arts in modern languages and cultures, minor in
international studies. Kyle Edmund Hesse, bachelor of arts
in modern languages and cultures, double major in history, minor in international
studies, second lieutenant, United States Army and
a distinguished military graduate. Matthew Bourne Kenkel, bachelor of arts
in modern languages and cultures, minor in Asian studies, second lieutenant,
United States Army, distinguished military graduate. Connor Austin Ross,
bachelor of arts in modern languages and cultures, double major in International
studies, ensign, United States Navy. The following will receive their
bachelor of science degree in applied mathematics: Armani Nadir Branch, an example of the three-legged stool. Reagan Wesley Branham Kuo En Cheng, with distinction, second lieutenant, Army of the Republic
of China. Alexander Henry Hall Matthew Mark Heinrich Jr. I-Nuo Hsu, second
lieutenant, Army of the Republic of China. Mylles Bradley Jacobsen Conrad William Jenne, second lieutenant, United States Army. Ian Dale Johnson, with distinction,
minor in computer and information sciences, ensign, United States Navy,
distinguished naval graduate. Jung-Chiang Liu, with distinction, ensign, Navy of
the Republic of China. Cole Jeffrey Maziarski, second lieutenant,
United States Air Force. William Schuyler Mertz, minor in physics. Stephen Powell Reibach, with distinction. Natalie Alana Rivas, with distinction. Mikayla Dianne Shuflat, with distinction, minor in literary studies, second lieutenant,
United States Marine Corps. Anthony Robert Tarnowski, second lieutenant,
United States Marine Corps. John Christian Walker, with distinction,
ensign, United States Navy. Michael Dean Michael Dean Will, minor in physics. Henry Warner Wiswall, minor in military history, second
lieutenant, United States Army. The following cadets will receive their
bachelor of science degrees in biology: Jack Harwood Briles Mia Gabrielle Cangiano, second lieutenant, United States Army.
Laura Dean Davis, concentration in biochemistry and molecular biology, minor
in chemistry, minor in mathematics. Matthew Thomas Eagle, with distinction,
and a minor in exercise science. Grace Danielle Fisher, with distinction. Andrew Elliot Gould, with distinction, a minor in literary studies, second lieutenant,
United States Air Force. Christina Ilan Hill, with distinction, also a minor in psychology, second
lieutenant, United States Army. Daniel Patrick Holmes Jr. Bryan Matthew Kiel Kayla Mackenzie Ranger, second lieutenant, United States Air Force. John Patrick Sanders, with distinction,
concentration in ecology and organismal sciences. Ryan James Walker, with
distinction, minor in psychology. Sydney Lexington White, minor in
philosophy. The following cadets will receive their bachelor of science degrees in chemistry: Garrett Paul Briggs Carrick O. Clark-Cearley, with distinction, honors in chemistry. Travis Glenn Korhorn, with distinction. R. David Lafuze, with distinction,
minor in mathematics, honors in chemistry, ensign, United States
Navy. Julia Renee Logan Michael James Parsons, with distinction,
honors in chemistry. Matthew Braddy Rowe Mason Lee Sedlacek, second
lieutenant, United States Army. Samantha Lynn Shepherd, with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Army, distinguished military graduate. Katherine Joanne Watson, with distinction, minor in physics, honors in chemistry. The following cadets will receive their degrees of bachelor of science
in civil engineering: Cody Layne Bennett, with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Army,
distinguished military graduate. Peter Ulrich Bernhardt, minor in physics, ensign, United States Navy. Kevin J. Carson Christian Andres Cartegena, with
distinction, second lieutenant, United States Air Force. Jeremy Jackson Cobb, with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Army. Paul Nelson Culbertson Colton Thomas Bryant DePew Chance Taylor Dixon, second lieutenant, United States Army, and a
distinguished military graduate. Charles Benjamin Estes, second lieutenant, United States Army. Kayla Lorraine Flippo, with distinction, minor in physics and an
ensign in the United States Navy. Rawls Thompson Fortenberry, with
distinction. Pierson Burley Fowler Anthony Luis Garcia, ensign, United
States Navy. Anthony Richard Giachinta Nathaniel Thomas Hashisaki, with
distinction, second lieutenant, United States Army,
distinguished military graduate. Steven Donald Hodgson Daniel D. Howard Matthew Terry Johnson,
with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Army. Todd Alexander Johnson, with distinction. Colby Dean Lalicker, with distinction,
second lieutenant, United States Army, and a distinguished military graduate. Dakoda Alexander Lane Christopher David LIeberman Maxwell Arthur Robert Liebl, second
lieutenant, United States Army. Loyce Katherine Lightfoot, second lieutenant, United States Army. Mason Alexander Louthan, with distinction, ensign, United States Navy. Luke Augustine Lysher, with distinction,
minor in mathematics, second lieutenant, United States Army. Mia Mauricia McClain Jacob Wittmer Novak, with distinction. John Zachary Owens Todd Joseph Pinney,
second lieutenant, United States Army. Zachary Paul Pokrywka, with distinction. Joseph Frank Riccadonna Jr., with distinction, and a minor in
mathematics Evan Drew Roberts Robert D. Rogers IV, with distinction, double major in applied mathematics. Ryan Matthew Schlossberg, second lieutenant United States Army. Jeremiah Joseph Sokol Darin Edward St. Sauveur, with
distinction, second lieutenant, United States Air
Force. Finn Oscar Swenson, with distinction, ensign, United States Navy, distinguished Naval graduate. Ryan Elijah Tinder, with distinction. Clayton Marshall Whitaker, with distinction,
second lieutenant, United States Marine Corps. Mark Kenneth Wright, also with distinction, and a minor in business. Devin Zappolo The following cadets will receive their bachelor of science degrees in computer
science: Travis Wendell Arnold, with distinction. Tyler Michael Bornak, minor in
international studies, second lieutenant, United States Army. Nicholas Vincent Celfo, with
distinction, second lieutenant, United States Army. Zachary Leelin Clark Julia Shirley Daly Gill-Jan Mirasol Eleazar, with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Army,
distinguished military graduate. Reagan Elizabeth Goulla, second lieutenant, United States Army. Amy Lynn Horney, with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Marine Corps. Elija Austin King Brian Antonio Lipscomb Brian Keith Maguire Jr., second
lieutenant, United States Army. Nickolus William Marshall, with distinction Philip Anthony Meyer, with distinction,
second lieutenant, United States Air Force. Joshua Elias Orr, second lieutenant,
United States Army. Sehyeon Park, with distinction. Alexander G. Rofail, with distinction. Tristan Lee Silverstorf, with
distinction, second lieutenant, United States Air Force, distinguished
Air Force graduate. Jack Edward Smith, with distinction, minor in computer engineering, second lieutenant, United States Air Force. The following cadets
will receive their bachelor of science degrees in electrical and computer
engineering: Ryan Matthew Uy Aranzamendez, minor in
mathematics. Jake Pavel Banigan, minor in physics,
second lieutenant, United States Air Force. Joseph Francis Bruchalski, minor in
mathematics. Jordan Davis Drake, minor in mathematics. Rush Nicolas Earman IV, with distinction. Alan William Lloyd, minor in mathematics. Yousef Amin Mailk Edward Olbrych, with
distinction. Wyatt Christopher Raymond, with distinction,
minor in mathematics, second lieutenant, United States Army. Niles Alden Tate, with distinction,
second lieutenant, United States Air Force. The following cadets will receive
their bachelor of science degrees in mechanical engineering: Blake Chapman Barber, minor in mathematics, minor in physics. Samuel H. Barnett III Al-Jhon Cayabyab Barrago, with
distinction, second lieutenant, United States Air
Force. Tyler James Colgan, minor in mathematics. Nathan Ryan Dugie, with distinction,
ensign, United States Navy. Trevor M. Durbin. Micah Aaron Ellington, minor in
physics. Christopher Paul Ferrell, concentration in aerospace engineering,
minor in mathematics, second lieutenant United States Air
Force. Joshua Abraham Goldsmith, with distinction, concentration in aerospace
engineering, minor in mathematics, second lieutenant, United States Army. Andrew Robert Heinlein, with distinction, concentration in nuclear engineering,
minor in mathematics, ensign, United States Navy. Joseph Thomas McCarty, with distinction, concentration in nuclear engineering, second
lieutenant, United States Army. Michael Joseph McElroy Jr., minor in
mathematics, second lieutenant, United States Air
Force, distinguished Air Force graduate. Jonathan Flores Navarro Conor Patrick O’Brien, minor in
mathematics, minor in physics, second lieutenant,
United States Air Force. Nathan John Pernot, with distinction, concentration in nuclear engineering, minor in mathematics, second lieutenant, United States Army. Tyler Matthew-Ernest Richards, with
distinction, minor in physics, second lieutenant, United States Army. Cody James Rioux, with distinction, minor in physics, ensign, United States Navy. Connor Joseph Robertson, with distinction, minor in mathematics, ensign, United
States Navy, distinguished Naval graduate. Samuel James Rooker, minor in mathematics,
second lieutenant, United States Army, distinguished military graduate. Richard William Wesley Sanders, with a minor in mathematics. Christian Thomas Scherer,
with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Air Force. David Gardiner Tyler V, with distinction, concentration in aerospace engineering,
minor in mathematics, second lieutenant, United States Air
Force. David Andrew von Rinteln Jr., with distinction, concentration in
nuclear engineering, ensign, United States Navy. David Lee Carlton Wright IV,
with distinction, concentration in nuclear engineering, ensign,
the United States Navy, distinguished Naval graduate. The following cadets will
receive their bachelor of science degrees in physics: Eryn Alexa Daman,
with distinction, minor in astronomy, minor in mathematics,
second lieutenant, United States Air Force. Amber Marlene Lee Haag, minor in
mathematics, minor in economics, and a minor in astronomy. John Arthur Hefti Jr., minor in mathematics, second lieutenant,
the United States Air Force. Brienno Angelo-Marco Illari,, with
distinction, minor in mathematics, second lieutenant, United States Army,
distinguished military graduate. Bryson Garrett Kelly, minor in mathematics, ensign, United States Navy. Alex James Warren, minor in mathematics, second lieutenant, United States Marine
Corps. The following cadets will receive their bachelor of science degrees in
psychology: Shelby Elizabeth Barkley Kevin Reid Bryant, with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Army,
distinguished military graduate. Ross Alexander Condrey, minor in leadership studies, minor in philosophy, minor in rhetoric and writing. Elijah William Dean, with distinction, with a minor in physics. Sofia Anya DelBondio Makayla Annie-Lee Diamond, with
distinction, minor in national security, second lieutenant, United States Army. Myles Johnson Driscoll Matthew Harrison Dunlevy Jacob Andrew Foley, with distinction,
minor in history, second lieutenant, United States Army. Brittani Nicole Jackson, with distinction, minor in rhetoric and writing and honors in
psychology. Jacob Connor Jaye Patrick McGill Johnson James Cabell League, with distinction. Peyton Allen Maddox Samuel Abney Briton Neal Jr., with
distinction, second lieutenant, United States Army. Marie O’Shaughnessy, second lieutenant, United States Marine Corps. Samuel Bransford Reiner, with distinction. Ramon Gerardo San Diego Rivera Haley S. Scott, second lieutenant, United States Army. Chase Hudson Smith, minor in leadership
studies. Kyle Joseph Staats Jacob Daniel Tomlinson The following cadets will receive
their bachelor of arts degrees in biology: Kendra Suzann Appleby, with distinction, second lieutenant,
United States Marine Corps. William Henry Atwill II, with distinction, minor in history. Samantha Dee Brisco, with distinction,
second lieutenant, United States Army. Luca Antonio Melendez Kaitlyn LeAnn Morrison, minor in art
history and visual culture. Alec Hunter Rich, with distinction. Hunter Isaac Sargent, with distinction,
second lieutenant, United States Marine Corps. Samuel Wyatt Francis Shaffer The following cadets will receive their bachelor of arts degrees in economics
and business: Benjamin Daniel Augello, minor in
Spanish, second lieutenant, United States Army. William Thomas Beale, with
distinction, concentration in global management. Jonathan Richard Beck Joseph Zachariah Brown Liam Negan Burke,
with distinction, concentration in financial management, second lieutenant,
United States Army, and distinguished military graduate. Andrew Michael Campo,
with distinction, concentration in financial management, minor in Chinese. Matthew John Eibl, with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Air Force. Benjamin DeLeon Fields, concentration in global management,
ensign, United States Navy. John Daniel Flye Emily Elizabeth Fulton John Gaetano Genkinger, with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Army. David Joseph Harpen Phillip Thaddeus Harpen, second
lieutenant, United States Army. Joshua Harrison Heinz Evan Richard Hitt, with distinction, concentration in financial management,
concentration in global management. William Carl Hogan, concentration in
global management. Nicholas Andrew Holdren Fred Osagie Iruafemi Nathan Bryan Kraemer, second lieutenant,
United States Army. William Halstead Malbon Ryan Christopher Miller, double major in
international studies, concentration in financial management, concentration in
global management, minor in Spanish, second lieutenant, United States Army. John Clinton Mobley Logan Thomas Moore, concentration in global management Conner Francis Murphy, minor in Spanish,
second lieutenant, United States Army. Nicholas Paul Powis Daniel Landers Rader Avery Anthony Richardson Jr., with
distinction, concentration in financial management, honors in economics. Austin Michael Rouleau, with distinction, concentration in financial management,
second lieutenant, United States Air Force. Gregory Tyrone Sanders Jr., with
distinction, minor in psychology, second lieutenant, United States Air
Force. Seth Carl Shank, concentration in global management, minor in
leadership studies. Jacob R. Shaver, concentration in global management. Edward John Stawowczyk Jr., second
lieutenant, United States Army. Gabriel Sancho Sutherland, with distinction. Cabell Barker Thomas Andrew Thomas Vaccaro, with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Army, and
a distinguished military graduate. Robert Johnson Woolfolk, concentration in
global management, second lieutenant, United States Army. The following cadets
will receive their bachelor of arts degrees in English: Stephen Joseph Chain, concentration in philosophy,
concentration in rhetoric and writing, second lieutenant, United States Army. Kailey Connell Dixon, with distinction, concentration in literary studies,
concentration in rhetoric and writing, minor in psychology, honors in English,
second lieutenant, United States Marine Corps. Robert Coleman Elliott, concentration in literary studies,
concentration in rhetoric and writing, concentration in art history and visual
culture. Alexandra Marie Frank Kerisha Imani Goode, concentration in art history and visual culture, concentration in rhetoric and writing, concentration in
literary studies. Jake Gregory Koch, with distinction, and with a minor in Spanish. Joshua D. Pardew, concentration in
literary studies, concentration in rhetoric and writing and a minor in history. Matthew Alec Roach, concentration in
literary studies, concentration in rhetoric and writing, concentration in
philosophy, second lieutenant, United States Army. Rebecca Celine Serrano, concentration in rhetoric and writing,
concentration in literary studies, concentration in art history and visual
culture, minor in Spanish, second lieutenant, United States Marine Corps. Ryan Sidney Thorpe, with distinction, concentration in literary studies,
concentration in rhetoric and writing, and a minor in psychology. Brice Austin Tucker, concentration in rhetoric and writing,
concentration in literary studies. The following cadets will receive their
bachelor of arts degrees in history: Nicholas Peter Albano, concentration in
military history with a minor in philosophy. Samantha Kirsten Alexander,
with distinction, and with a minor in literary studies. Eric Michael Arneson Noah Ray Baker, minor in Middle Eastern studies, second
lieutenant, United States Army. Joseph Tucker Burke, with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Army, and
a distinguished military graduate. Caitlyn A. Casten, double major in biology,
second lieutenant, United States Army. Gordon Dell Cates III, with distinction, double major in international studies, a minor in
philosophy, and a minor in French as well. Joseph JungKwon Choi,
with distinction, double major in modern languages and cultures, second
lieutenant, United States Army. Jonathan David Collings, with distinction, concentration in military history, minor
in business, second lieutenant, United States Army. Charles Ross Dewey,
with distinction, concentration in military history, honors in history,
second lieutenant, the United States Army. Patrick Wakefield Doolin, with
distinction, concentration in military history, minor in Chinese, minor in
philosophy, second lieutenant, United States Marine Corps. Samuel Sessions Hutchins, concentration in military history,
second lieutenant, United States Marine Corps. John Edward Keppeler,
minor in Spanish, second lieutenant, United States Marine Corps. Kaden Harcourt Kienzle, with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Marine
Corps. Brennan Andrew MacDonald, with distinction, honors in history, second
lieutenant, United States Army. Mitchell Kincaid McDonald, with
distinction, second lieutenant, United States Marine
Corps. Thomas Dickson McKellar, second lieutenant, United States Army. Peter Joseph O’Neill, concentration in military history, minor in Spanish, second
lieutenant, the United States Army. Mark Simeon Persinger, concentration in
military history, a minor in Asian studies, a minor in international studies,
second lieutenant, the United States Army. Brian Edward Reheil, with distinction, concentration in military history. Nicholas Anthony Steinmetz,
with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Army, distinguished
military graduate. Cole Harrison Taggart, and with a minor in literary studies. Ronald Henry Thelin III,
concentration in military history. William Overton Woodward Jr., with
distinction, concentration in military history, a minor in economics and
a minor in business. The following cadets will receive their bachelor of arts
degrees in international studies: Colin Garrett Alexander, with distinction,
second lieutenant, United States Army. Bria Danae Anderson, with distinction, and a minor in Spanish. Chase Leonardo Antony, with distinction, minor in Arabic, second lieutenant, United States Army. Matthew Harrison Beane, with distinction. Catherine Claire Berry, double major in
history, second lieutenant, United States Army. Manuel Arnaiz Baden Bloch Matthew Jason Boyd, second lieutenant, United States Army. Eric Wayne Byrd Mia Isabella Castelveter, double
major in modern languages and cultures, and a second lieutenant in the United
States Army. Jonathan Alexander Chao, with distinction,
minor in Asian studies, second lieutenant, United States Army. Christopher Soo Choi, second lieutenant,
United States Army. Anna Kirk Conover, with distinction, minor in Chinese, second
lieutenant, United States Army. Tyler James DeJoe, with distinction, double
major in modern languages and cultures, second lieutenant in the United States
Air Force. Matthew David M. Esnardo, minor in computer and information
sciences, second lieutenant, United States Marine Corps. Jack Charles Flynn, a minor in Spanish. Elijah Barkley Forbes,
with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Army, and
a distinguished military graduate. Grant M. Fudge, with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Army,
distinguished military graduate. Samuel Hunter Koranda, with distinction,
second lieutenant, United States Marine Corps. Stephen Damien Krakie Virgil Leroy Liedy III, second lieutenant, United States Army. Bailey Ryan Mahoney, a minor in Spanish. Anthony Joseph Menichini Nicholas William Mill, with distinction,
second lieutenant, United States Army, distinguished military graduate. Brennon Patrick Miranda, with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Marine
Corps. Matthew Landon Morris, with distinction,
double major in modern languages and cultures, second lieutenant, United States Army, and a distinguished military graduate. Ryan Nalimaikika Nagatoshi, minor in computer and information
sciences, minor in Asian studies, second lieutenant, United States Army. Casey Duncan Naylor, minor in history. Thomas Michael Nofi, a minor in Spanish. Macauley Jon Ortiz, with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Army. Houston D. Pashoian Tyler Gregory Priest, with distinction, minor in Asian Studies, minor in Chinese,
second lieutenant, United States Army. Warren A. Robertson,
with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Army. Griffin Matthew Sava, with distinction. Patrick Shahverdian, with distinction and
a minor in Spanish. Cody Scott Sheetz, minor in Spanish,
second lieutenant, United States Army. Daniel Mathew Sloss, with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Army. Andrew Timothy Smith, with distinction, second lieutenant, United States Marine
Corps. Kennedy Ann Smith, with distinction, minor in Spanish, second lieutenant,
United States Army. Andrew Jacob Stockmal, double major in modern languages and
cultures, second lieutenant, United States Army, and a distinguished military
graduate. Calvin Yunnan Tang, second lieutenant, United States Marine
Corps. Timothy Henry Wenholz, with
distinction, ensign, United States Navy. Christian Scott Williams, with distinction. Hunter Michael Wolfe, with a minor in Spanish. Campbell Scott Wood, with distinction, a minor in history, second lieutenant, United States Marine Corps. Haotian Xia, with distinction, double major in modern languages and
cultures, minor in Asian studies, second lieutenant, United States Air
Force. Now the following cadets will receive their bachelor of arts degrees
in modern languages and cultures: Noah Walter Chetelat, with distinction, minor
in Spanish, second lieutenant, United States Army. David S. Cottrell Jr.,
second lieutenant, United States Army. Elizabeth Victoria Rose Johnston, second
lieutenant, United States Army. Bryce Mitchell Moxley, with distinction. Paul Oppedisano Jr., a minor in French and a second
lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Ladies and gentlemen, please remain
seated while the chaplain pronounces the benediction, after which the Virginia
Military Institute regimental band will play the VMI Spirit. The new regimental
commander, cadet Benjamin Dixon, will then publish brief orders after which this
commencement ceremony is adjourned. To the Class of 2018: may the Lord bless
you and protect you. May He enlarge your vision so that the
impact that you make goes far beyond your lifetime. May you always be known as
men and women of integrity. May the word “trustworthy” always be associated with
your name. May your faith always sustain you. May your heart always be content.
May the Lord allow you to do immeasurably more than you can ever ask
or imagine. May God bless you. Go and make a difference. Amen. Attention to orders: leave of absence
until 2200 26 August 2018 is hereby granted to all cadets. Cadets returning from
furlough must register at the guardroom before that time. The Class of 2018 is
hereby relieved of duty.