Alumni and Friends of VMI:
Cyber Corps Numbers: 489
Nebraska is Undefeated and So Are We: The Keydets have started the year with a 26 - 7 win over Lenoir Rhyne. A good start after last a disappointing season last year. Next up is William and Mary on Sept 12 in Williamsburg. Kickoff is 2:00 PM.
Alumni Association Meeting: The Fall meeting of the Alumni Association will take place on Saturday, Sept 26 at 8:00 AM in Moody Hall. The meeting will begin on Friday, Sept 25 with the cocktail party at 6:30 PM followed by dinner at 7:30 PM in Moody Hall. By the way, this is also Homecoming Weekend at the Institute.
What of the Electronic Turnouts?: A couple folks have inquired as to the status of the Electronic Turnouts. If you remember, these turnouts used to be part of the Alumni Association web site. However, when the administration of the web site changed the turnouts were not included. The turnouts are still out there, but at a separate location and not associated with the Alumni Association. Turnouts can be found at www.rtp.opensystems.com/vmi/turnout.html.
Current Rat Class Attrition Numbers: This is from the Washington Post.
Two More Female Freshmen Drop Out of VMI
Two more women have dropped out of the second coeducational class at the
Virginia Military Institute, bringing the total number of dropouts to
four women and 30 men. That leaves 410 freshmen, including 30 women, at
the Lexington school and represents an attrition rate of nearly 8
percent after two weeks.
"The numbers are a little bit higher percentage than the last couple of
years, but lower than three years ago," said Mike Strickler, the
school's spokesman. "I don't think it's anything wild."
Last school year, female students left VMI at a slower rate. Seven women
dropped out in all, and the fourth woman did not leave until Nov. 4.
It's Always Something: As someone commented about that following story, "These people just have too much time on their hands!"
The Rockbridge Weekly - Lexington, Virginia
Threatens VMI With Lawsuit
By Gaelan Brown
Rockbridge Weekly Staff Writer
Handing out Holy Books and holding Christian prayer services at
graduation exercises may bring Virginia Military Institute back to
A Wisconsin-based group, Freedom From Religion, Inc., is challenging the state-funded school on the grounds that it imposes religion, in particular Christianity, upon students.
"People, and especially state-funded institutions, should respect the religious privacy of others," said Anne Gaylor, president of the4,000 member group. "If the founding fathers had wanted America to be a Christian nation, they would have written the Constitution accordingly."
Gaylor sent a letter to VMI Supt. Josiah Bunting after she received a complaint about "a religious element in graduation ceremonies" from a Virginian member of their group, she said.
Bunting responded on Aug. 20: "Be assured that I will continue to hold baccalaureate services at VMI, and distribute Bibles, and the Holy Books of other Faiths, at commencement."
"The Bibles are handed out with private money by volunteers," VMI Public Relations Officer Mike Strickler said. "There is nothing mandatory."
Students may request any religious text from the school, Strickler said.
"We've given out Bibles, Korans and Torahs," he said. "Somebody even asked for a book that refuted many points of various religions, and I believe he got that book."
Is VMI simply giving students what they want?
"That's the way we would look at it," Strickler said.
But Gaylor says a state funded school has no business handing out religious books or holding prayer services.
"[Bunting] seemed to have no understanding of the principle of
separation of church and state," she said. "Regardless of whether they are holding prayers or just handing out certain Holy Books, they're using the state as a conduit for certain religious groups."
"It is imposing upon people of other beliefs," she said. "The whole
world is not Christian."
Gaylor says she'll take VMI to court on constitutional grounds.
Bunting has plenty of experience fighting court battles, as he spent six years trying to keep women out of VMI.
The U.S. Supreme Court changed that in 1996.
Freedom From Religion, Inc., was founded in 1978 in response to the Moral Majority, a conservative political group. Their web site is
Gaylor is currently seeking a VMI student, graduate "or another
free-thinker" who feels that VMI's practices infringe upon his or her religious rights, to act as plaintiff in the case.
On Gen Bunting's Book: The following appeared in a recent edition of the Washington Times:
By Robert Stacy McCain
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Then Maj. Gen. Josiah Bunting III was asked to imagine the ideal college,
the superintendent of Virginia Military Institute described his dream in
"An Education for Our Time," a book acclaimed by some as "profound,"
"original" and "noble."
His vision is of a college in Wyoming where, in addition to
immersing themselves in history, foreign languages and literary
classics, the students are required to learn boxing, attend mandatory
chapel services, train with firearms and go on survival "treks" in the
"I can't think of any other books since World War II that have
tried to do this," Gen. Bunting said of his plan for a new kind of
The idea for the tome began in late 1996 with Harry Crocker, an
editor at Regnery Books.
Mr. Crocker "called me up, and he said, 'I've been looking at the
VMI situation, and I have seen several things you've said about what
education should be trying to accomplish,'" Gen. Bunting recalled. "And
he said, 'Did you ever consider writing a book about an ideal college?'"
The two men "talked a little bit about the attraction of writing a
book that would not be a work of criticism -- attacking things one
doesn't like about colleges -- but would be an attempt to create, out of
whole cloth, a new place," he said.
Creating a new place out of whole cloth is something Gen. Bunting
was required to do at VMI. In 1996, the Supreme Court forced the
all-male Lexington military academy to admit women, breaking a 158-year
tradition. Himself a 1963 graduate of VMI, Gen. Bunting said fellow
alumni were "heartbroken" and "embittered" when the Supreme Court ruled
"overwhelmingly against us."
The vision of a college Gen. Bunting lays out in "An Education for
Our Time" is privately funded, thus beyond the reach of such judicial
fiats. His book contemplates a school with male and female students
living only in single-sex dormitories.
He creates a fictional millionaire named John Adams, who is dying
of cancer at age 71. "He decides to give this money to establish a
college on the condition that everything be done his way. ... The person
to whom he confides his plan is a tax attorney in Chicago who, like him,
is an alumnus of the University of Chicago," he says.
The book takes the form of a series of letters from the millionaire
to the lawyer, describing the college -- which is where Gen. Bunting
"What I finally had to do, a fairly transparent fictional device,
was connect myself with these two men," he said. "So I had the two men
invite me to go on their board."
Gen. Bunting said his fiction was a bit more believable than he
intended. "A lot of people who have read the book thought the whole
thing is real -- which is a little alarming."
Among other things, the college he envisions has a faculty composed
largely of "mentors" -- "not career academic professors, but rather
amateurs of their academic disciplines." These mentors, said Gen.
Bunting, are "people between the ages of 28 and 40 ... who have done all
kinds of things before they are allowed to come in teach. ... All of
them are there because they have an unignorable vocation to teach the
young. That's the great missing ingredient on campuses now."
Gen. Bunting said "there are chunks of this vision in different
colleges," naming St. John's College in Annapolis, Berea College in
Kentucky and Hillsdale College in Michigan as having programs he
"But there are very few colleges that have all of this together,
where there is a strong honor code, where there are mandatory religious
observances, all those kinds of things," he said. "This is conceived as
a coherent whole. All of the parts work together to achieve one thing."
The author of this vision is a man who speaks frequently of history
and of great writers like Milton, Plato and Thucydides.
"I have always been soaked in literature," said Gen. Bunting, a
former Rhodes Scholar. "I've always been very lucky with where I've gone
to school and who I've had as teachers. They've been very passionate
people, with very strong views about poets and philosophers and
historians. And that's made me a lifetime, constant reader."
After finishing his Rhodes year at Oxford University ("I left just
about a year or two before [Bill Clinton] arrived," he says.), he joined
the U.S. Army and was sent to Vietnam. He arrived in the Mekong Delta in
November 1967 for service with the 2nd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division
just months before the outbreak of the Tet Offensive by Vietnamese
When he returned from his tour in Vietnam, he taught history at
West Point before leaving the Army for a career in education that
included the presidency of Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. He became
superintendent of VMI in 1995.
Even as he envisions a college for the future, however, his respect
for the heritage of the past puts him at odds with many modern
"They do not understand," he said of the Supreme Court justices who
destroyed VMI's tradition. "Justice Breyer shouted out in the hearing --
and he's one of these Americans who speaks with a sort of fake English
accent -- 'If you have to abandon this so-called adversative system or
whatever you call it, I say, so what? You've got to move with the
times.' ... They do not instinctively reverence the past."
His own instinctive reverence is evident throughout "An Education
for Our Time."
"The school hymn there is, 'Once to Every Man and Nation,'" Gen.
Bunting said. "That hymn was thrown out of the Episcopal hymnal about 10
years ago on the grounds that it was 'sexist and warlike.'"
He quotes the opening lyrics: "Once to every man and nation comes
the moment to decide, in the fight of truth with falsehood, for the good
or evil side."
The general smiles. "It's such a great hymn."
To Be Forewarned Is To Be Forearmed: I debated about whether to include the following article, but decided that it needs to be passed along to the VMI family. It is a sad situation.
VMI cadet charged in restaurant robbery
Thursday, September 3, 1998
FINCASTLE, Va. (AP) -- A Virginia Military Institute cadet was arrested
and charged in the weekend armed robbery of a Botetourt County
Bradley Clay Purcell, 20, a second-year cadet, was arrested at the
Lexington school on Thursday on charges of armed robbery and using a
firearm in the commission of a felony. Authorities said Purcell was
being held in lieu of $40,000 bond.
The newly reopened North Star Restaurant was robbed Saturday night just
after closing. A man dressed in black, wearing a mask and carrying a
rifle entered through the back door and demanded money. The robber fled
on foot with about $100, said Commonwealth's Attorney Joel Branscom.
Branscom said a second suspect, a juvenile, also faces charges.
Only employees were in the restaurant at the time, and no one was
That's it for this week.
Yours in the Spirit,
RB Lane '75
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