Virginia Military Institute was originally established at the site of the Lexington state arsenal in 1839. In 1851, the school brought aboard Major Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson as a new professor. Stonewall Jackson later achieved the rank of General and led the cadets of Virginia Military Institute to aid the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Toward the end of the war in 1864, Union General David Hunter attacked and burned VMI to the ground - though the school was rebuilt a year later. Today, Virginia Military Institute is one of the six military colleges in the United States. While cadets must conform to many military regulations and participate in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), they are given the choice of continuing their military service or pursing civilian opportunities after graduation.
According to its mission statement, Virginia Military Institute exists "to produce educated, honorable men and women prepared for the varied work of civil life, imbued with love of learning, confident in the functions and attitude of leadership, possessing a high sense of public service, advocates of the American democracy and free enterprise system and ready as citizen-soldiers to defend their country in time of national peril."
Those living in student housing or an off campus apartment at VMI have access to the school's exceptional academic programs and fields of study. Cadets may pursue degrees in the institute's divisions of Engineering, Arts & Humanities, Leadership, Social Science and Natural Science & Math.
Student living and university living revolve around a variety of traditional campus student organizations along with military training focuses. The VMI Keydets compete in the NCAA Division I in men's and women's sports like swimming, football, lacrosse, cross country, baseball, basketball and wrestling.
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