Alumni and Friends of VMI:
Cyber Corps Numbers: 470+
This Year's Rat Class: The entering rat class
will matriculate approximately 450 new cadets. This number will
closely approximate the record number of 459 new cadets that
matriculated with the class of 2001. Here are some further
Applications received: 1103 (1131 applicants received last year)
Applications from VA: 410
Other states: 693 (45 states. DC, and 24 foreign countries)
Female Applicants: 76
Females to Matriculate: 34
Thanks to all who particpated in recent recruitment efforts.
In Search Of: Andrew Rush '94 e-mailed to indicate that he's relocating to the Atlanta area at the beginning of September and is in need of a job. He recently completed his studies at Vanderbilt Law School and would prefer a job in a legal department of some kind. He'll be entering Air Force JAG sometime next year. He indicates an office environment is the prime criterion with a salary requirement over $30K. He has extensive computer knowledge and has lately been working in the investment banking field. Anyone with any positions or knowledge thereof can contact him via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call him at 615-331-1074.
Gen Bunting's NPC Speech: If you would like to see the text of Gen Bunting's recent speech given at the National Press Club you can find it at: www.vmi.edu/~pr/npc_speech.html. I believe you can request a copy of the videotape by calling 1-888-343-1940.
USAToday Review: In a previous update I mentioned that a review of Gen Bunting's newest book had appeared in the USAToday. For those who were unable to obtain a copy, the text is provided below. (Note: If you've already seen this review, please note that I am also providing another reference to Gen Bunting's book, on the part of syndicated columnist George Will, later in this update.)
VMI director's quest for perfection
Josiah Bunting III is used to challenges. He's a decorated Vietnam
veteran who directed the historic enrollment of females to both a
private prep academy and his revered college alma mater, the Virginia
So Bunting didn't hesitate to accept the challenge from conservative
Regnery Publishing Inc.: Create a "new and improved" American higher
education system that produces better citizens and, inevitably, a better
nation. His vision is captured in An Education for Our Time (Regnery
"I liked the idea of trying to create a new college from the ground up,
having been told, sort of, either put up or shut up. Don't write some
criticism about what you don't like. . . . Temperamentally that was
very, very appealing to me," says Bunting, who interrupted his New
England vacation to talk with USA TODAY.
Although his book avoids the military Major General title, the 6-foot-4
Bunting nicknamed "Si" has been VMI superintendent since 1995, about
a year before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 159-year-old school
had to open its doors to women.
Bunting's mythical new college would be perched in the High Plains of
Wyoming, a locale known and frequented by him. Doors would open in the
fall of 2000 welcoming 1,200 to 1,500 15-year-olds representing every
state. By enrolling students two years before the traditional college
age of 17, Bunting says, the students are easier to influence and shape
within a five-year program.
Students would be handpicked by state committees of homemakers, judges,
retired high school principals and farmers. There would be no tuition,
grades, alcohol, pocket change, fancy clothes, cars or competitive
sports. The curriculum would focus heavily on history and foreign
languages, with sprinkles of math, science, philosophy, literature,
music and fine arts.
Other requirements would include survival training and boxing sessions,
study abroad in a Third World country and a stint in the U.S. Army.
The entire endeavor would be financed with a $985 million endowment, the
entire fortune of John Adams, an imaginary billionaire Wyoming
industrialist, high-tech pioneer and war hero who is dying of cancer at
the age of 71. The fictional benefactor outlines his desires in a series
of letters to his lawyer.
"We will aim to educate a fewscore young persons to be virtuous and
disinterested citizens and leaders; patriots who more than self their
country love; citizens who when they are not virtuous in their lives and
works will know they are not and will labor always to sustain their
determination to be virtuous, self-mastering, drawn to the accumulation
of a moderate sufficient property only, and educated liberally but avid
in their commitment always to remain liberally self-educating," Adams
Bunting: A focus on history and languages, with courses on math,
science, philosophy, fine arts, music and survival training (VMI).
Bunting's own background is reflected in John Adams' desires. He admits
to having "a very bad career in high school" and describes himself as an
adolescent "bored by what I was doing." The teen-age Bunting joined the
Marines, getting a Marine emblem tattooed on his right forearm. He
enrolled and blossomed at VMI in 1959: "VMI does well with intelligent,
lazy, unfocused kids."
After graduating from VMI in 1963 as a Rhodes scholar, he spent three
years at Oxford University in England, earning a master's degree in
English history. Six years in the Army sent him to Vietnam, where he
received a number of medals, including the Bronze Star.
From 1973 until he returned to head VMI, Bunting served as head of New
York's all-female Briarcliff College, and of the all-male Hampden-Sydney
College, and of the Lawrenceville School near Princeton, N.J., which
began to accept girls while he was there.
Bunting, the educator, admits his frustrations with the USA's higher
education system. "Elite colleges are failing a whole generation of
American students by not really doing very much for them aside from
educating them professionally to get an MBA degree or go to law school
or medical school. Those are wonderful things, but the problems in our
culture and in our politics aren't for the most part professional or
intellectual problems. They have to do with the way Americans live and
how they lead and how they try to govern themselves," Bunting says.
The result: Scandals everywhere, including on Wall Street and at the
White House, he says.
Bunting, the author, brags that Adams' college sidesteps the bureaucracy
plaguing today's universities by refusing to accept any federal, state
or local funding.
"Affirmative action is not an issue for us. . . . We are looking for
people with such enormous care and according to standards that are so
different from Brown, Stanford, etc., that it is conceivable that the
first class will have 250 African-American girls," says Bunting,
explaining that the students selected probably will not fit any
predictions or stereotypes.
Who would be graduates of John Adams' college? Bunting points to the
sort of leaders of integrity he holds in high regard South African
President Nelson Mandela, President Harry Truman and Sen. Daniel Patrick
Bunting frames his ideals within the novel form a creative way to
share his thoughts. Without this approach, it's doubtful that readers
would be motivated to wade through the clumps of Victorian prose.
It's truly an idealistic book that could either provide a thorough
roadmap of inspiration for educators or prompt them to run, terrified,
into the hills.
By Tamara Henry, USA TODAY
Another Reference to Gen Bunting's Book: For those who read Newsweek, you are aware that George Will provides a bi-weekly column. His most recent column contains references to Gen Bunting's book. Mr. Will's column appears below.
In this summer of Clinton scandals, 'Saving Private Ryan' taps a yearning for honor
By George F. Will
Popular culture can be a political barometer, and there is a storm warning for President Clinton in the public's response to the movie "Saving Private Ryan." Viewers leave theaters shaken, sometimes in tears, with their patriotism enriched by a quickened sense of the pain that bought contemporary pleasures. The movie is about bravery, sacrifice and, above all, leadership. The warmth of the public's embrace of this shattering movie is a measure of the depth of the nation's yearning for honor as it tastes the bitter dregs of Clinton's presidency.
The movie's maker, Steven Spielberg, is famously enthusiastic about Clinton. Spielberg misunderstands either the message of his movie or the nature of his recent house guest.
The rush to designate "Private Ryan" the greatest war movie is, in part, proof that hyperbole is today's lingua franca. Still, the movie's strong claim to high regard begins with the stunning verisimilitude of the opening 25-minute depiction of the fighting on Omaha Beach. Because the scene is so protracted and portrays the butcher's bill of mid-20th-century munitions, it packs more emotional wallop than the opening and closing scenes (Antietam and the attack on Fort Wagner in South Carolina, respectively) in an even better war movie, "Glory."
"Private Ryan" has set a standard of realism by which all subsequent war movies will be measured. Art is catching up with journalism.
In September 1862, two men worked their way across some dark and bloody ground in northern Maryland. They were armed with devices of profound importance for the future of war, and hence of politics: cameras. They had been sent by Mathew Brady, at whose Manhattan studio there soon opened an exhibit called "The Dead of Antietam." The New York Times reported: "The dead of the battle-field come up to us very rarely, even in dreams... Mr. Brady has done something to bring home to us the terrible reality and earnestness of war. If he has not brought bodies and laid them in door-yards and along streets, he has done something very like it."
But the civilian world would not soon look war in the face. In World War I, no photo of a corpse appeared in a British, French or German newspaper. It was not until 1943 that Life magazine created controversy and a new era in journalism (and, in time, in the game of nations) when it published a photograph of three dead Americans on a New Guinea beach. By the time of Vietnam, graphic journalism was ascendant in a wired world. There is an element of postmodernist irony in the fact that, three decades later, Americans are said to be at long last learning about "the reality of war"--at the movies.
Indeed, they are thought to be learning about it for the first--and last--time. Many people seem to see "Private Ryan" as a retrospective on war, which is thought to be something of which we have seen the last. However, history proves that a great nation is always living in war years or interwar years. Hence it is well to wonder whether American society can still furnish forth the sort of men who clawed their way ashore through a storm of steel in Normandy.
That is a question addressed by Maj. Gen. Josiah Bunting III, superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, in his new book, "An Education for Our Time." It is suitable summer reading for anyone interested in the deeper implications of "Private Ryan."
Bunting, whose book is a scintillating blueprint for a morally serious college, recalls the ending of the movie adaptation of James Michener's Korean War novel, "The Bridges at Toko-Ri." An admiral muses about the death of a friend, a Marine officer, a pilot, a veteran of World War II. The friend had died in a strange war whose purposes were not obvious. The admiral wonders: Where do we get such men as these?
Bunting writes that such men often come from colleges, which had better understand the nation's unending need for them:
"Not a few are killed. It is the cost of doing business if you are a powerful democracy in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Surely in our national future crouch hundreds of wars, waiting silently for men, and now--barbarous to think--for women to join them. We are... no farther advanced than in our ancient furies. For every Shiloh and Saratoga, there will be a dozen Khe Sanhs and Kuwaits. Our students should be ready for them."
Today almost no military history is taught on campuses, which are nurseries of hostility toward the armed forces that preserve the freedom to live a life of ingratitude. "Private Ryan" is, among other things, a summons to gratitude for what Bunting calls "the allegiance of that generation of military and naval officers who remained with the colors from 1918 to 1941, disregarded, ill-paid, unpromoted--allegiant to a cause only because it was right. But prepared to serve for that reason alone."
The men who fought World War II were drawn from a vast reservoir of American decency. Their sense of duty impelled them into the ranks of those who (in the words of a Stephen Spender poem) "left the vivid air signed with their honor." When next we need their like, we will find some of them among those who have recoiled from the indecent example of today's commander in chief. That recoil will be his positive legacy. All of it.
Fortunately, America has enjoyed a holiday from history, internationally, while enduring this dangerously frivolous president. But in Iraq and elsewhere, cold-eyed men have taken the measure of his littleness, and of America's deepening dilemma of his vanished authority. Soon the holiday will be history. And, sooner or later, so will the notion that war is a subject only for historians and moviemakers. It is time to remember Trotsky's mordant words: "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you."
Hey, that's it for this week.
Yours in the Spirit,
RB Lane '75
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Last Updated: October 11, 2009
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