Institute Report - Virginia Military Institute


Institute Report - Virginia Military Institute
Institute Report
Virginia Military Institute
Volume XLIV, Number V, February 2016
Indoor Training Facility on Track for LEED Gold Certification
By John Robertson IV
The sheer volume of the 7.8 million-cubic-foot Indoor Training Facility looming
above Main Street represents a formidable
engineering challenge – how to keep the
building comfortable without incurring
ruinous electric bills.
The answer has come in a unique
system that takes advantage of natural
air currents.
“The passive downdraft system is
designed solely for a high volume area. It’s
based on the fact that we have, in a space
like this that’s 50 feet tall, layers of air that
don’t need to be cooled,” said Col. Keith
Jarvis ’82, deputy director of construction.
“We only need to be cooling the air at the
levels that are occupied – at the main level
and then also at the mezzanine level, where
The five roof monitors visible along the top of the Indoor Training Facility are a key component of
the building’s innovative passive downdraft system. – VMI Photo by John Robertson IV.
See Indoor Training Facility, page 15
Biology Cadet Publishes Ant Research in Chemistry Journal
By Kelly Nye
Conor Hogan ’16 is a biology major who has discovered a thing
or two about the chemical makeup of leaf cutter ants. Not only has
he presented his findings at a national entomology conference,
but his work will also be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
Hogan made his discovery over the summer while working
with Col. Tappey Jones ’70, professor of chemistry. Leaf cutter ants
come in a variety of species, and the ones in Central America are
big enough to wipe out an entire crop overnight. The colony feeds
the leaves it steals to an underground fungus garden, then the
ants feed off the fungus.
“It’s the most disgusting thing you’ve ever seen,” said Jones. “It’s
a colony underground as big as a car.”
In order to understand the destructive nature of these large
ants, Hogan looked at the chemical makeup of their smaller
cousins. By separating the compounds found within the ants’
heads with a gas chromatography mass spectrometer – a GC mass
spec – Hogan found previously unidentified compounds in the
mandibular glands. He then tried to reproduce them to figure out
what they were.
“Bugs, as you might imagine, don’t have much stuff. So in order
to prove their structures you have to make the compounds,” Jones
explained. “So synthesis becomes an identification tool.” To prove
what he had found, Hogan ran the synthetic compounds through
the GC mass spec and compared them to the original compounds.
Once he had matched them, he found a series of compounds that
were fairly reactive. Ants make chemicals in their mandibular
glands to communicate with each other, so Hogan’s discovery is
the first step in understanding how these ant colonies function.
Hogan’s findings will be published as part of a collaborative
paper titled “Variation of mandibular gland volatiles in the
Apterostigma pilosum species group” in the international journal
See Ant Research, page 3
Institute Report
Volume XLIV, Number V, February 2016
The Institute Report, VMI’s monthly
newsletter, publishes eight issues
during each academic year. Inquiries,
suggestions, news items, and address
changes should be directed to Editor,
Institute Report, VMI Communications
and Marketing, Lexington, VA
24450‑0304; (540) 464‑7207; or
[email protected] © 2016 Virginia
Military Institute.
Office of Communications and Marketing
Col. Stewart MacInnis
Maj. Sherri Tombarge
Assistant Editor John Robertson IV
Graphic Artist
Robbin Youngblood
Scott Belliveau ’83
Chris Floyd
Stephen Hanes
H. Lockwood McLaughlin
Kelly Nye
VMI Campaign Exceeds $250 Million
By Scott Belliveau ’83, VMI Foundation
An Uncommon Purpose: A Glorious Past, A Brilliant Future: The Campaign for VMI began
2016 strong. As of Jan. 31, more than 13,000 donors had made gifts and commitments totaling
more than $250.5 million, said Brian Scott Crockett, CEO of the VMI Foundation.
“The VMI family has been excited about this effort and engaged with it since we launched
its public phase in November 2014. Evidence of that can be seen in the overall total it has
received … and the $68 million alumni and friends have given during the public phase, which
translates into a monthly average of more than $4.8 million,” said Crockett.
“By the end of January, alumni and friends had made $118.8 million in cash gifts. … Much
of that money has come through the Foundation Fund and Keydet Club Scholarship Fund
and been put to work on post immediately, supporting cadets, faculty, and staff. A large part
of it, however, has been used to establish new endowments or bolster existing endowments
that provide funding for academic departments, scholarships, and research and generate the
unrestricted money that allows VMI to meet its most critical needs.”
As successful as the campaign has been, if it is to achieve its overall goal of strengthening
the Institute’s ability to thrive in an increasingly competitive academic environment, more
members of the VMI family must participate, noted Crockett.
“Our work must continue. The staffs of the VMI Alumni Association, the VMI Foundation,
and VMI Keydet Club will keep engaging alumni and friends, and our campaign cabinet, led
by Donald MacLean Wilkinson ’61 and other volunteers, will continue to dedicate countless
hours to the campaign,” Crockett continued. “I ask those who have given already to make the
case to their Brother Rats, other alumni, family, and friends as to why they should join this
effort to ensure a brilliant future for VMI.”
Keeping up with the monthly progress of An Uncommon Purpose is easy; just visit
The Virginia Military Institute is committed to
providing an environment that emphasizes
the dignity and worth of every member of its
community and that is free from harassment and
discrimination based on race, sex, color, national
origin, religion, age, veteran status, sexual orien‑
tation, pregnancy, genetic information, against
otherwise qualified persons with disabilities, or
based on any other status protected by law. Every
VMI staff member, faculty member and cadet has
the right to work and study in an environment free
from discrimination and should be treated with
dignity and respect. VMI complaint and grievance
procedures provide employees and cadets with
the means for resolving complaints when this
Statement has been violated. VMI is an Equal
Opportunity Employer. Anyone having questions
concerning discrimination or the application
of Title IX regulations should contact Title IX
Coordinator, 212 Carroll Hall, VMI, Lexington, Va.
24450, (540) 464‑7072. Any cadet or prospective
cadet having questions about disability services
for students should contact the Director of
the Center for Cadet Counseling and Disability
Services, 448 Institute Hill, 2 nd floor, Post Infirmary,
Lexington, Va. 24450, (540) 464‑7667. For em‑
ployment-related disability services, contact
the Employee Disability Services Coordinator in
the VMI Human Resources Office, Lexington, Va.
24450, (540) 464‑7322.
(Tick) Roving On
Col. Dave Livingston, Col. Jay Sullivan, and Col. Jim Squire look on as the new and improved tick
rover follows a track in the lab. The three engineering professors collaborated with professors
from other schools to develop the robot, which uses carbon dioxide to attract ticks and a small
amount of pesticide on a skirt to kill them off. The rover is set to travel to Texas in March for testing
its efficacy in combating cattle ticks. The research is part of an effort by the USDA to minimize the
risk that the spread of the cattle tick across the Mexican border poses to U.S. agriculture. – VMI Photo
by John Robertson IV.
VMI Institute Report
Rose Parade Appearance Supported by VMI Community
By Scott Belliveau ’83, VMI Foundation
Eight years ago, the Regimental Band and the Pipe Band made their
first appearance at the Tournament of Roses Parade. The impression
these cadet-musicians made must have been strong and enduring
because, in July 2015, they received another invitation to participate
in the parade, an event which is seen live and on television by tens of
millions worldwide.
This Jan. 1, they again represented the Institute in magnificent
fashion. The cadet-musicians not only received an enthusiastic
welcome from the people lining the route and admiring comments
from television commentators, but also the high recognition of the
President’s Award from the Tournament of Roses.
Alumni support was crucial to VMI’s appearance in the Rose Parade Jan. 1. –
Photo courtesy of Capt. Ned Riester ’78.
Ant Research The performance at the Tournament of Roses Parade as well as at
other events that the bands attended during the six-day trip was the
product of many hours of intense practice, careful planning, and
dedicated effort by cadets and staff members. In the Los Angeles area,
many alumni, parents, and friends attended Bandfest on Dec. 31 and
an alumni event at Huntington Beach on Dec. 29. The Institute was
able to arrange military airlift for cross-country transportation –
and the Air Force aircraft was piloted by two alumni, Rob Sawyer ’88
and Ken Jambor ’95.
Alumni and friends also donated more than $76,000 to the trip,
making up almost 80 percent of the $96,000 cost.
Much of this support came through a fundraising effort coordinated by the VMI Foundation. A mailing was sent in October 2015
to various groups, including alumni who had been members of the
Regimental Band and parents of cadets and alumni associated with
the band.
The response was excellent, said John J. Wranek III ’85, Foundation
vice president for annual and reunion giving, and gifts began to arrive soon. Within two months, therefore, 289 alumni and friends had
made a gift in support of the band. The balance of the money needed
came from the Vester Thompson ’40 Cadet Travel Fund.
“Exceptional,” is the word Col. John Brodie, music director, used to
describe the response of the VMI family. “I don’t know if any other
college has supporters who would be as responsive as our alumni
and friends are. Everyone who made this trip is grateful for this generous support, especially our cadet-musicians, who, thanks to these
donors, had an experience over six days that they will remember for
the rest of their lives.”
continued from page 1
The Science of Nature. He is listed as the first contributor, joined by
Jones, Mariya Zhukova of the University of Copenhagen, Jeffery
Sosa-Calvo of the Rochester University Department of Biology and
the Smithsonian Department of Entomology, and Rachelle M.M.
Adams of Ohio State University.
“He is going to be the first author on this paper, which is actually
the first chemistry paper on this genus of ants,” Jones said.
Hogan also planned to present his research in a poster session with
fellow biology major Luke Philips ’17 at the Northeastern Plant, Pest,
and Soils Conference, held in Philadelphia, Pa., during Christmas
furlough. However, when the conference ran out of room for posters,
they asked him to give a talk at the event, which is the eastern branch
meeting of the Entomological Society of America.
Presenting at a national entomology conference and getting published in a scientific journal speaks to both the importance of Hogan’s
discovery and the strength of the VMI education in sciences.
“Getting publications in peer-reviewed journals and presenting
externally at professional meetings … is what validates us academically in science,” said Jones.
Hogan said he plans to continue studying some aspect of the interactions between insects and their environment in graduate school,
next on his agenda.
Conor Hogan ’16 prepares a sample of synthetic compounds for the gas
chromatography mass spectrometer. – VMI Photo by Kelly Nye.
February 20163
VMI featured in ‘Architecture of Historic Rockbridge’
By Kelly Nye
Architecture says a lot about a community.
Col. Keith Gibson would argue it’s a tangible
“memory, … an echo, a shadow” of the people
who built it.
“What is architecture if at some point
it doesn’t become about the people?” said
Gibson, executive director of the VMI
Museum System. The buildings on the VMI
post have shaped not only the lives of those
who came to teach or learn here but also the
Rockbridge community as a whole.
It’s hardly surprising, then, that VMI has
a prominent place in the Historic Lexington
Foundation’s new book exploring the
architectural history of the Rockbridge
area. The book, The Architecture of Historic
Rockbridge, serves as a companion piece to
The Architecture of Historic Lexington, which
was published in 1977 and written by Royster
Lyle and Pamela Simpson. The new volume
was written by Daniel Pezzoni, an architectural historian and preservation consultant
based in Lexington.
“The authors of the 1977 book actually
made a start on researching the architecture
of the county with the aim of writing a book,
though the work was never completed,” said
This aerial view of the Institute, captured in 1938, shows most of the major post structures then in exis‑
tence. – Photo courtesy of the Rockbridge Historical Society.
The Lexington Arsenal, drawn by Charles Deyerle in 1842, housed cadets until Francis H. Smith recruited Alexander Jackson Davis to design a new barracks. –
Photo courtesy of VMI Archives.
VMI Institute Report
Pezzoni. “So in one respect The Architecture of Historic Rockbridge
was almost 40 years in the making.”
Pezzoni’s book is organized thematically; he separates his chapters
by churches, schools, or farms. In doing so, Pezzoni departs from the
first book’s style, which was written as a street-by-street survey.
Gibson notes that this approach offers ample context for the
buildings. “It’s a view of the architectural heritage meshed with the
cultural history.”
VMI’s architecture is a perfect example of the American culture
of the 1830s and ’40s. The Gothic Revival style that Alexander Jackson
“A.J.” Davis used reflected the Romantic period for art and literature.
“VMI’s founders wanted its architecture to reflect the school’s
importance to the county and the state,” said Pezzoni. They tapped
Davis, a nationally prominent architect, who established the
Gothic Revival style as VMI’s architectural language. “VMI is one
of the most important collections of Gothic Revival architecture
in Virginia.”
“The state made an enormous investment here when it decided
to tear down the old arsenal buildings and build this brand new
barracks in the Gothic Revival style,” added Gibson. “That was an
incredible investment in the little town of Lexington.”
But proof of VMI’s cultural influence on Rockbridge County
extends well beyond the barracks in Lexington. Thanks to the people
VMI brought into the community, the community grew. And that
evidence is left behind in the architecture.
“Many of the buildings that we now see as great pieces of architectural legacy have been owned by – or maybe even built by – VMI
connections, whether they were on the faculty or … [were] alumni,”
said Gibson.
“I personally think that the VMI community will find this book
very interesting,” Gibson concluded. “Any community would be
happy to have this kind of study done.”
The book is available in the VMI Museum shop and on the Historic
Lexington Foundation’s website,
Francis H. Smith, A.J. Davis and the Architectural Identity of VMI
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from The Architecture
of Historic Rockbridge (Historic Lexington Foundation, 2015) by J.
Daniel Pezzoni. Referenced in this excerpt are Architecture of Historic
a position to recommend its architect, the nationally known Alexander
Jackson Davis of New York, for the work of remaking VMI.
In 1848 Smith and Davis began to plan a new barracks. Smith provided
Lexington (University of Virginia Press, 1977) by Royster Lyle Jr. and
the basic concept: a four-story building around a quadrangle with ac‑
Pamela Hemenway Simpson and Buildings of Virginia: Valley, Piedmont,
commodation for two hundred cadets. Davis handled the design, speci‑
Southside, and Southwest (University of Virginia Press, 2015) by Anne
fying stuccoed masonry scored to suggest stone and crowning the walls
Carter Lee et al.
with battlements. … To lend his composition monumentality, Davis used
At first, the Virginia Military Institute bore no architectural resem‑
a trick of scale. He grouped the windows of the first and second stories
blance to the school of today. When it opened in 1839 with twenty-five
and the third and fourth stories into conjoined vertical compositions
cadets, it occupied the former Lexington Arsenal on the high ground
so that the building has an appearance of two very large stories. John
between Washington and Lee and Jordan’s Point. Major John Staples,
Jordan built the massive stone foundations and Superintendent Smith
superintendent of the state arms factory in Richmond, had designed
supervised the rest, which was ready for occupancy in 1851.
the arsenal and Lexington’s John Jordan built it in 1816. The arsenal
stockpiled munitions for the defense of the western part of the state
and was an impressive if somewhat forbidding complex. It was “a large
and substantial brick building, in the center of a small courtyard,” wrote
Francis H. Smith, first VMI Superintendent, in 1839:
In front were the soldiers’ barracks, embracing a small two-sto‑
ry brick building in the center, with five rooms; and two wings of
one-story each having two rooms. The sally-port was closed by a
large iron-bound gate, and the court was enclosed by a brick wall
fourteen feet high. The windows of the first story of the barracks
were guarded by substantial iron bars; the whole establishment
presenting the appearance of a prison, and such it was to the
old soldiers.
… Soon after the Institute acquired the arsenal buildings in 1839, it
added a third story to the central barracks buildings and perhaps en‑
larged the side wings so that the complex that appears in early illustra‑
tions shows a mix of features from before and after the establishment of
the school.
Superintendent Smith was eager to improve VMI’s appearance, and
in the late 1840s he found an ally in Philip St. George Cocke, a wealthy
Powhatan County planter and West Point alumnus who, as a member
of the VMI Board of Visitors, hoped to make the new school a model of
“distinctive architectural excellence and taste.” Cocke built his planta‑
tion house, Belmead, in the Gothic Revival style in 1845-48, and was in
Gothic Revival is the architectural style Alexander Jackson Davis used to
design barracks and faculty housing, an 1850s study of which is shown
here. – Photo courtesy of VMI Archives.
February 20165
Taiwanese Professor Helps with Asian Studies Launch
By Chris Floyd
Every year, the Republic of China Military Academy sends a number of cadets to VMI. This semester, it sent along a professor.
Dr. Wen-Jang “Sydney” Chu is spending the spring term in
Lexington, teaching two classes in the international studies department. His courses, on Asian regional security studies and ancient
Chinese political thought, are part of VMI’s new Asian studies minor.
“I know I am going to teach … cadets that might not have the least
idea about Asia,” said Chu. “I want them to know the ABCs, at least, on
how to decode the Asian culture.”
Chu was offered the position when Lt. Col. Howard Sanborn, associate professor of international studies, went on sabbatical. The two
met in Taiwan when Sanborn was there conducting research.
“Col. Sanborn is a good friend,” said Chu, who also taught some
classes at the University of Virginia several years ago. “He went to
Visiting professor Dr. Sydney Chu teaches Asia-Pacific Regional Security,
a class that will count toward VMI’s new Asian studies minor. – VMI Photo by
Stephen Hanes.
Taiwan to do his research, and I helped him to set up some programs.
One day he sent me a letter … [that] said, ‘Here’s a teaching opportunity.’ Why not? And I came.”
His journey to VMI began much earlier, however. Chu hasn’t spent
his entire professional career at ROCMA; in fact, he hasn’t always
been a professor.
Chu’s first job was with Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a
foreign service officer. After several years in that position, he was
promoted to secretary and given a position in Houston, Texas, his
first assignment abroad.
“After that, I felt it might be interesting to be a billionaire,”
joked Chu.
Wanting to take advantage of a financial boom in Taiwan in the late
1980s and early 1990s, Chu quit his job with the Ministry, moved back
to Taiwan, and set up his own business. He was one of the pioneers of
online bookstores in his country. The business didn’t take off as he
expected, however, and he was forced to find other means of income.
“I ran out of money and decided to be a teacher,” he said. “I went
south to join the academy. That was 12 years ago.
“I enjoyed my three careers,” he continued. “They were all different. But as a teacher, I am able to use my previous experience in the
public and private sector.”
It is no surprise that Chu landed at VMI this semester. ROCMA has
always had strong ties with the Institute, dating back to the 1950s,
when Gen. Li Jen Sun ’27, a VMI graduate, helped design the Academy.
ROCMA enjoys relations with many military schools in the United
States, but VMI is the only one to which it sends two cadets every
year. There are currently 16 ROCMA cadets on post.
“In a nutshell, the relationship between the academies is quite
strong,” noted Chu. “Of course, the strongest is with VMI. When
they return to Taiwan, [the cadets who attend VMI] have a very
bright future.
“Taiwan sends its best cadets to VMI,” Chu added. “They all do a
good job. In the last 20 years, we have a lot of cadets who have done
their service really well.”
Chu, who works as an assistant professor of political science and
head of international programs at ROCMA, hopes that he can be
just as successful during his short stint at VMI. He spent a great
deal of time preparing for teaching courses to students who have
less knowledge of Asia and a much different mentality that his
Taiwanese students.
“Asian people think long-term,” Chu said. “They accept the value of
patience. They play the game differently. I want my students in these
courses to learn how and why Asians think that way.”
Twenty-two cadets are enrolled in his two classes, which he said he
“enjoys very much.” Of course, he loves teaching the courses, but, he
said, the VMI cadets make that easy.
“The cadets here are very interested and eager to know what’s
what in Asia,” Chu said. “Those who choose to attend the courses have
that kind of determination and preparation. For me, I need to ramp
up my knowledge about [Asian] affairs. I also have to know the ancient areas. It’s a mix, and I’m happy to share with them what I know.”
VMI Institute Report
New Minor in Asian Studies Already Engaging Cadets Across the Disciplines
The international studies department is the largest on post, and its of‑
ferings continue to grow. This semester the department has launched an
Asian studies minor, and Lt. Col. Howard Sanborn, who led the initiative,
is pleased with the number of cadets who have signed up in so short an
amount of time.
“Our current enrollment is already five cadets over the last three
months,” said Sanborn, an associate professor in the department, “with
at least three more who have picked up applications.”
The minor has also attracted two more professors, for a little while
anyway. Sanborn is on sabbatical this semester, so professor emeritus
Col. Pat Mayerchak, who taught courses on Asia for nearly three decades
at VMI, has returned to teach his Politics in Southeast Asia course. Dr.
Sydney Chu, visiting from Taiwan, is also teaching a pair of courses,
taking on the duties of security studies in the Asian region and ancient
Chinese political thought.
“We are always looking for additions and substitutions to the curric‑
ulum to give the cadets the best experience possible, and these courses
certainly fit the bill,” Sanborn said.
History department head Col. Mark Wilkinson teaches War and Society in
Modern China, one of the electives offered to cadets pursuing the Asian
studies minor. – VMI Photo by H. Lockwood McLaughlin.
“I believe that Asian affairs will be a very important topic for cadets to
tackle,” said Chu. “I want my students in these two courses to learn how
and why Asians think [the way they do].”
Courses in the international studies department are critical to the
minor, but they are not the only ones. Eligible courses also include offer‑
ings of the modern languages and cultures and history departments.
“The curriculum itself is very flexible,” Sanborn added. “[We encour‑
Sanborn explained that a cadet could complete the minor require‑
ment, for example, by taking two courses from the international studies
department, two upper-level courses in Chinese language, and two
Asian history courses.
“In this way, we give cadets the ability to customize their learning
about Asia to their interests while also providing them the richness of a
age] cadets to view the region from as many different perspectives
broad selection of electives,” said Sanborn.
as possible.”
––Chris Floyd
Marksmanship Program, and Safety Training, Grow
By Chris Floyd
When Col. Bill Bither came to VMI in 2011 as marksmanship director and rifle coach, he took responsibility for turning a brand-new
firing range at North Post into an optimal training environment for
VMI cadets. In the years since, he has built the Corps Marksmanship
Program from the ground up.
“The program started in 2012 based on some guidance from Gen.
[J.H. Binford] Peay,” said Bither. “It’s getting better every year.”
Cadets are introduced to the rifle range during their first year on
post as part of New Cadet Military Training. When they return as 3rd
Class cadets, they undergo marksmanship training, beginning with
a pre-marksmanship classroom program, which introduces them to
safety procedures and offers initial “dry-fire” – i.e., without ammunition – training, Bither said.
Then it’s on to the North Post shooting range, where they learn to
“zero” their rifles – adjust the sights so they can hit the target – and
attempt to “qualify.” Cadets qualify by meeting U.S. Army marksmanship requirements while shooting at targets from three different
positions and firing 40 rounds from 25 meters away. A score of 23
or higher is good enough, and many cadets reach that mark under
the tutelage of Bither and the marksmanship staff, which include
members of the Army ROTC and commandant’s office staffs serving
as range safety officers and firearms instructors.
Master Sgt. Brian Motter, senior military instructor with Army ROTC, works
with Nicholas Albano ’18 on the North Post firing range. – VMI Photo by H.
Lockwood McLaughlin.
See Marksmanship, page 17
February 20167
This image shows several perspectives of the graph of an equation for a plane, defined by three points in space, R,P, and Q, and the “normal vector,” a ray that is
always perpendicular to the plane, in blue, originating at P. These perspectives are just some of those available to cadets manipulating the graphic in Version 3
of the APEX calculus e-textbook. – Graphic courtesy of Col. Greg Hartman.
Graphics Go Interactive in VMI Calculus e-Textbook
By Sherri Tombarge
Calculus is the mathematics of change. It’s also a hurdle nearly
all math, engineering, and science majors at VMI must clear early
in their cadetships. And the final leg of the calculus sequence asks
cadets to create equations representing three-dimensional objects –
a big leap from the two-dimensional mathematics they master in the
first two semesters.
Assisting cadets in understanding these equations is the newest
version of the VMI Department of Applied Mathematics’ APEX
calculus e-textbook, which offers interactive graphics. In earlier
versions of the textbook, which was first released in 2012, drawings
illustrating the equations were more or less the same whether cadets
were using the print-on-demand version available for less than $15 or
the PDF: flat drawings lying on a paper or virtual page.
“If I have a static picture of a three-dimensional object, which
perspective do I show?” said Col. Greg Hartman, professor of applied
math, who has spearheaded the e-textbook project. This was a key
question as he developed earlier versions of the textbook. “When you
take a three-dimensional object and put it in two dimensions, you
lose something.”
In Version 3, released last summer, cadets can select a drawing of
a three-dimensional object and manipulate it, turning it from side
to side or upside down. For shapes that are hollow in the center, the
drawing can be turned so cadets can see inside the hollow. The equation – an abstract representation – becomes an object in space.
“It’s hard to picture something you’ve never seen before,” noted
Hartman. With the interactive graphics, cadets get a more intuitive understanding of the shapes and relationships the equation
represents. “You get a visual confirmation of what’s going on in the
whole scenario.”
Hartman, who used the open-source graphics language Asymptote
to create the graphics, pointed out that today’s cadets, accustomed
to accessing sophisticated graphical displays on their cell phones,
expect to be able to manipulate graphics.
“It makes the math real,” added Hartman. “When you’re working
on something, there’s always this element of doubt. Sure, my answer
was supposed to do something. Is it really right?”
Hartman and one of his APEX collaborators, Col. Troy Siemers,
department head, had to do some learning of their own to create the
graphics – Asymptote was brand-new to both of them.
“We were very excited when we first got the images to be interactive in a PDF – it took several failed attempts to get there,”
said Hartman.
Hartman was pleased to find Asymptote for the graphics because
its open-source availability is consistent with the philosophy of the
APEX textbooks. The source files for all of the textbooks are available online free of charge. Teachers and professors wishing to adapt
the textbooks for their own classes are free to do so. The new graphics are equally adaptable.
Hartman notes that the interactive graphics use capabilities of the
PDF file format not supported by all PDF readers. This means that
anyone who wants access to the interactive capability must use the
Adobe Reader, a program available as a free download.
The APEX calculus sequence is in use at VMI and at least 10 other
schools. It has succeeded in its initial goal to take the money element
out of textbook development. A Jackson-Hope New Directions in
Teaching and Research Grant enabled Hartman to allocate his time
to the project, and there are no substantial printing and distribution
costs. Students get a textbook worth hundreds of dollars free or for a
nominal cost.
And for Hartman, the work has been a pleasure, one that he’d like
to pursue further. Future APEX projects may include an addendum
to the calculus sequence that would include vector analysis, covered
at VMI in Math 301, Higher Math for Engineers and Sciences.
“I’m all for writing that book,” said Hartman. “It’d be fun for me
for sure.”
Information and downloads are available at
Global Math Competition
Taylor Thomas ’18, Edward Olbrych ’18, and Joseph Bruchalski ’18,
one of seven VMI teams, work on problems in the Mathematical and
Interdisciplinary contests in Modeling hosted by the Consortium for
Mathematics and Its Applications Jan. 29-Feb. 1. – VMI Photo by Kelly Nye.
VMI Institute Report
Four Finish in Top-Three At All-Academy Wrestling
By Chris Floyd
Four VMI wrestlers, including 125-pound champion Dalton
Henderson ’17, finished in the top three in their classes, and the
Keydets placed fifth overall in the 22nd All-Academy Championships
held Jan. 30 at Cameron Hall.
Henderson, who extended his winning streak to 10 straight matches in a dual meet against Davidson College Feb. 3, won three matches
on the day to earn his first collegiate tournament title. Named the
Southern Conference Wrestler of the Week after his performance
at the All-Academy Championships, the 2nd Class cadet opened the
tournament with a 15-0 technical fall over Earl Roberts of the Coast
Guard Academy and followed that victory with a pin of the Citadel’s
Charles Kearney in just 31 seconds. Henderson won the title with a
12-6 decision over Drew Romero of the Air Force Academy.
Shabaka Johns ’17 placed second at 167 pounds, while Dominick
Gallo ’19 (133) and Neal Richards ’19 (157) both finished third.
Johns opened the tournament with a technical fall over Mike
Palomba of the Coast Guard and advanced to the finals with a 9-5 decision over John Keck of Navy. In the championship match, Johns fell to
Army’s Andrew Mendel 7-6.
After losing his first match, Gallo battled back to win three
straight, including a 7-2 victory over Austin Harry of Army. Richards
defeated Navy’s Drew Daniels in his opening bout before falling
in the semifinals, and he topped Daniels again in the third-place
match 7-2.
As a team, VMI finished with 60.5 points, doubling its team total
from last year’s All-Academy Championships. Army tallied 91 points
Dalton Henderson ’17 is triumphant in one of his matches during the AllAcademy Wrestling Championships. – Photo courtesy of VMI Athletic Communications.
to capture the team title, followed by Navy (88.5), Air Force (86),
The Citadel (69.5), VMI, Merchant Marine (6), Coast Guard (4.5), and
Norwich (0).
The VMI grapplers celebrated senior night against Davidson in
fine fashion, blanking the Wildcats 37-0. Included among the wins
were victories for all four 1st Class cadets, Emmitt Kelly at 149 pounds,
Mark Darr at 174, Derek Thurman at 194, and Urayoan Garcia at 285.
Track and Field Teams Break School Records
Three school records fell when the VMI track and field team competed at the Youngstown State University National Invitational Feb. 5
and 6 in Youngstown, Ohio.
Avery Martin ’16 broke the VMI record in the 1,000-meter run,
crossing the finish line in 2 minutes, 24.45 seconds to take first place.
He won his second race of the meet the next day, breaking the tape in
the mile run with a time of 4:09.50.
Bria Anderson ’18 placed second in the long jump, setting a new
school mark with a leap of 18 feet, 9 inches. Kerisha Goode ’18 also set
a new school record, finishing fourth in the 200 with a time of 25.36.
She finished the meet with a second-place effort in the 60 as well.
The track and field team had opened the season with an impressive
showing at the Virginia Tech Invitational Jan. 15 in Blacksburg.
Martin and Jordan White ’16 led the way with a pair of victories
for the Keydets. Martin raced to first place in the 800 with a time of
1:52.87 to win for the first time in his career. White, who also placed
fourth in the weight throw, won the shot put with a toss of 52-¾.
Basketball Scores Win over Samford
VMI’s basketball team has lost 10 of its last 11 games, but the
Keydets snapped a five-game skid with an 83-76 win over Samford
University Jan. 21 in Lexington.
QJ Peterson ’17, who leads the Southern Conference in scoring, hit
eight three-pointers and tallied 34 points to lead the Keydets. Julian
Eleby ’17 chipped in with 29 points, hitting all 10 of his free-throw
attempts in the contest.
At deadline, VMI sported a 6-16 record, 1-10 in the
Southern Conference.
Subscribe to the Institute Report online –
February 20169
Army Internship Leads to Research, Branch Choice
By Kelly Nye
Matthew Tonkinson ’16 came to VMI as an international studies
… program is it allows students to go wherever their interests take
major, but his interest in human behavior has led him down a path as them,” he said.
complicated as human behavior itself.
Tonkinson’s interests have inspired him to research several theoNow a psychology major with a national security minor,
ries of medical ethics, including deontology, consequentialism and
Tonkinson is near the top of his class academically, has been selected virtue ethics. Deontologists believe actions are either right or wrong
for the Army Medical Service Corps upon commissioning, and is an
no matter what the circumstances. Consequentialists believe that
expert on the ethics of torture.
outcomes measure whether an act is right or wrong. And followers of
His quest for Medical Service Corps selection began after an
virtue ethics believe that a good person will make the right decision.
internship through Army ROTC Cadet Troop Leader Training
Those who support torture believe they are saving the lives of
last summer at Madigan Army Medical Center in Fort Lewis,
others by getting information. “Not every consequentialist supports
Wash. Tonkinson shadowed counselors in the Behavioral Health
torture but almost everybody who supports torture is a consequenDepartment, observing everything from physical therapy to
tialist. And pretty much everybody else is against it,” said Richter,
post-traumatic stress disorder group therapy sessions.
who is also one of Tonkinson’s thesis advisers.
Among some soldiers, seeking help with mental health has long
Since Tonkinson cannot test his theories on any subjects, he is usbeen associated with weakness. But the consequences of not having
ing game theory to calculate outcomes. In game theory, the strategy
that help are apparent, with PTSD and suicide rates of concern.
of two opponents is broken down into a calculation. Determining
“Behavioral health is one of the top priorities of the Army right
each opponent’s highest necessity is the trick. An interrogator wants
now,” Tonkinson said.
information, a detainee wants the interrogation to stop. How far
The Army even has a new campaign to lessen the stigma of
is each willing to go? Once that is established, the decision for each
meeting with mental health professionals through the Embedded
becomes clear.
Behavioral Health program. EBH teams are made up of medical pro“He is really going through in a thorough way all the arguments
fessionals assigned to a particular unit so that soldiers get to know
for and against,” Richter explained. “His thesis turns out to be a live
and trust the team members. Tonkinson’s internship included work
issue in the news. So he’s in a much better position than most people
with an EBH team.
to weigh in on that debate.”
The experience over the summer of seeing psychologists help
Tonkinson is very grateful for the support he has in the Army and
soldiers and their families made Tonkinson decide on his next move. in VMI’s academic departments, including international studies,
“It was a very different part of the Army that I’d never seen,”
where Dr. Louis Blair is also a thesis adviser for his project.
Tonkinson said. “The Medical Service Corps was also an opportunity
“At some colleges there wouldn’t be these kinds of opportunities
to do something with Army health care. And so to have that work
for him, particularly to work in a one-on-one fashion with faculty
experience is very important.”
mentors,” noted Sullivan. “He’s got three full-time, tenured faculty
Tonkinson’s interest in human behavior doesn’t just include helpmembers, working with him personally just this semester.”
ing a damaged psyche; he is also interested
what distinguishes right from wrong.
His interest in torture began in his ethics
class with Dr. Duncan Richter, professor of
English, rhetoric and humanistic studies.
After watching a documentary film about
psychologists who assisted in detainee interrogations, Tonkinson was startled by the
psychologists’ role.
“Ethics and psychology go very much
hand and hand. And that’s especially
prevalent with what I saw this summer,”
Tonkinson explained.
This fact also informs Tonkinson’s
Institute Honors thesis, which focuses on the
American Psychology Association’s stance
on banning enhanced interrogation and
whether that stance should be upheld.
Lt. Col. Glenn Sullivan, associate professor
of psychology and one of Tonkinson’s thesis
advisers, noted that Institute Honors provides a way to challenge strong students like
Dr. Duncan Richter and Matthew Tonkinson ’16 discuss the role of medical ethics in the debate over
enhanced interrogations. – VMI Photo by Kelly Nye.
Tonkinson. “One of the great things about the
VMI Institute Report
Training Continues for Air Force ROTC Cadets
Information courtesy of Air Force ROTC
Air Force ROTC cadets inspect retired Lt.
Col. Bob “Hoppy” Hopkins’ flight equipment
from the Vietnam War era. – Photo courtesy of Air
Force ROTC.
Air Force ROTC cadets in Detachment 880 jumped right into challenging physical training
on their return from Christmas furlough. Even when there is snow on the ground, PT is still
one of the priorities for cadets, so they adapt the workout to make it happen. While the grass
was covered in snow, the roads were clear, and this meant hill sprints and calisthenics for
the detachment.
The cadets are ramping up this semester to prepare for Air Force ROTC Field Training this
summer. Enrollment allocations have been requested, and as they wait to hear if they were
accepted these cadets are training hard.
Field training is a challenging evaluation for cadets who complete their AS-200 – 3rd
Class – year and also have high GPA and PT scores and commander’s ranking. The training
determines whether or not these cadets are qualified to enter their next year as AS-300 – 2nd
Class – cadets in the Professional Officer Course. Participation in the POC allows these cadets
to pass on skills to new cadets, helping mold them into leaders for the Air Force.
A guest speaker, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Bob “Hoppy” Hopkins, recently spoke to
Detachment 880 about his time in the Air Force. Hopkins flew the F-100 Super Sabre, also
known as “the Hun,” on more than 300 combat missions in Vietnam. He provided the detachment with insight on his career and gave a firsthand account of what it was like to fly just
above tree-top level in order to provide close air support for the men on the ground. Hopkins
also illustrated the power of the bombing and strafing runs through a video presentation
and brought in his flight equipment from the era. Eager to answer questions, Hopkins shared
perspective and insight.
Athletes Present at NCAA Wellness Conference
By Chris Floyd
Four VMI athletes recently returned from the 25th APPLE conference in Charlottesville, Va., and they brought back with them a
number of ideas on how to make the Institute a healthier place.
The conference, which ran Jan. 15-17, is sponsored by the NCAA
and is designed to educate student-athletes about substance abuse as
well as health and wellness issues. This year was the first time VMI,
or any other military institution for that matter, had ever attended
the conference.
And unlike most schools, VMI was asked to be there.
“We were in a unique situation,” said Sarah Keller, assistant athletic director for academic services and compliance. “[The organizers]
thought we do a really good job and wanted people from VMI to come
and present. They know that VMI produces eloquent speakers, and
they know that VMI does stuff the right way.”
As a result, VMI athletes not only were able to attend the many
informative sessions; they were also part of the group of presenters.
Ally Van Valen ’16 and Catherine Berry ’18, both members of the
water polo team, teamed up to present VMI’s bystander intervention
program to athletes from 40 schools across the country.
The bystander program is VMI’s version of Step Up, a program
developed at the University of Arizona to teach students to “be proactive in helping others.”
Berry noted that VMI makes the training mandatory for all students. “We shared how VMI implements it.”
“We train facilitators, and the facilitators go and train the rats,”
said Van Valen, who explained that the bystander program presents
a number of scenarios and asks participants what they would do in
those situations. “We took those scenarios and molded them into
experiences that VMI cadets could actually have.”
The VMI presentation was just one of a plethora of informational
sessions held at the APPLE conference. Cadets were able to attend
many of them, and each had a favorite. For Caitlyn Jackson ’16, also a
member of the water polo squad, and Tony Richardson ’18, who plays
football, the best session was the one on nutritional supplements.
“They talked a lot about how to add to your nutrition,” said Jackson.
“I thought it was really informative as far as what you could get
from nutritional foods. You might be able to get more from there than
from a protein shake,” added Richardson. “And it was good to know
what is exactly in them and what could be banned by the NCAA; an
athlete might not know that.”
Van Valen found a presentation of the movie Haze, a documentary
about the dangers of hazing and alcohol on college campuses, to be
“It was a realization of what can happen when hazing is involved,”
she said. “That’s hard for VMI. There are so many borderline situations. It looks like hazing to people who don’t know the environment
and aren’t familiar with it. It was interesting to see what students’ responses were when alcohol is involved and when hazing is involved.”
Berry preferred the session on a topic she had never encountered
before: motivational interviewing.
See NCAA Conference, page 13
February 201611
Revealing War
Author Talks with Cadets About Using the Novel to Share Experiences in Iraq
By Kelly Nye
Iraq veteran Kevin Powers turns to fiction to communicate
feelings to readers who, unlike him, may be relatively untouched by
America’s recent wars. In his talk Feb. 3 in a packed Turman Room,
Powers read from his work, sharing his perspective on how writing
can communicate more than just information.
“There have been a number of veterans of the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan who have gone on to publish high-quality, award-winning fiction and poetry,” said Maj. Mary Atwell, assistant professor
of English, rhetoric, and humanistic studies. “I think it’s important
that VMI cadets be aware that this work is out there.”
It’s hardly surprising the cadets were interested, since about half
of graduating VMI cadets commission in the military. Powers’ message resonated with the expectations of many of them.
Powers’ first book, The Yellow Birds, is a national book award
finalist and one of the New York Times 100 Most Notable Books. He has
also published a book of poetry, Letter Composed During a Lull in the
Fighting. A Richmond, Va., native, Powers served with the Army in
Tal Afar, Iraq, in 2004 and 2005.
In Maj. Mary Atwell’s fiction class the day before his talk, Powers
read from the first few paragraphs of The Yellow Birds and afterward
answered questions about the writing process.
Powers begins the book by personifying the Iraq war.
“The war tried to kill us in the spring,” he began, reading the
book’s opening line.
He continued, with a jarring rhythm, “It tried to kill us everyday,
but it had not succeeded. Not that our safety was preordained. We
were not destined to survive. The fact is, we were not destined at all.
The war would take what it could get. It was patient. It didn’t care
about objectives, or boundaries, whether you were loved by many
or not at all. While I slept that summer, the war came to me in my
dreams and showed me its sole purpose: to go on, only to go on. And I
knew the war would have its way.”
When cadets asked why he personified the war, he explained that
it was a way to portray the immensity of it, to portray it as a monster
that overtakes the main character’s life.
He described the war as being the adversary, “not whoever the
Iraqi might be with the RPG.”
He continued: “I wasn’t going for, ‘Oh, it’s me versus this other guy.’
It’s actually me trying to survive this thing so far out of my control
and comprehension that an individual adversary is insignificant in
the face of it.”
In the fiction class, cadets took the opportunity to ask Powers
about his literary techniques. He revealed some, but he stoically
guarded others. For example, when one of the cadets asked why he
chose The Yellow Birds for the title, he pointed to the symbolic Army
cadence quoted in the beginning and a point later in the book when
birds are mentioned; he said he wouldn’t say more for fear of ruining
the mystique.
“One of the difficulties of talking about the nuts and bolts of how
fiction works is for me a danger that it will lose its magic. When I
read a great novel, it feels like magic; it feels like someone is casting
a spell on me. And sometimes I want to ask how that’s happening.
But sometimes I just want to let it go and embrace the experience,”
he said.
In the Turman Room, Powers read a section of his unfinished novel
aloud to an audience for the first time. The novel takes place during
the Civil War, another topic the VMI community is familiar with.
Powers’ experience with war seems to transcend time, and he is
able to identify with the characters of his most recent work just as
well as those of the last.
“I was writing it to figure out my own experience and how to
explain that experience to other people,” he said. He wanted to do
this because people always ask him what war is like, and he feels that
literature and art are better equipped than most avenues of communication to convey “likeness.”
He said, “It’s not like basketball, it’s not like
going out for ice cream. War is war. How do I
tell some story where people can relate to the
kind of emotional underpinnings of the experience if they can’t relate to the specifics?
“ A lot of people haven’t ruck marched or
carried a weapon. But they’ve certainly cared
about people. They’ve made decisions that
they’ve regretted. So I wanted to focus on
those aspects that communicate how it was
like experiences that other people have.”
Powers’ observations were valuable to
cadets, noted Atwell. “For cadets who might
want to publish creative work themselves,
I hope that Kevin Powers’ example was
instructive, and for those who don’t, I hope
that they could still be inspired by someone
who has combined military service with such
Kevin Powers speaks to Maj. Mary Atwell’s fiction class about the process of writing and his experiences
stellar achievement in the private sector.”
in the Iraq War. – VMI Photo by H. Lockwood McLaughlin.
VMI Institute Report
Improvements in Store for Library, Post Infrastructure
By John Robertson IV
The Institute is poised to embark on a $30
million infrastructure improvement program and a $13 million renovation of Preston
Library within the next year, providing
greater efficiency and security for the entire
VMI community and revitalizing the center
of academic life at the Institute.
These projects are the most imminent of
those laid out in the far-sighted 2016 Post
NCAA Conference “I learned something new
about how you can take more of
a positive approach to talking
to a teammate about a certain
situation or issue,” said Berry.
“It’s a life skill as well as a skill
[for athletes].”
While the sessions were
informative, the camaraderie
was just as important to these
VMI athletes.
“Being able to bounce ideas
off of other people is a great
way to understand from other
people’s perspectives what
works and what doesn’t,”
Keller said. “It’s a great way to
understand what … roadblocks
other people might have hit so
you can avoid those and hit the
ground running.”
Facilities Master Plan Update, approved Feb. 1
by the Board of Visitors. The document can be
downloaded at
The plan, which is updated each year by
Lt. Col. Dallas Clark ’99, Institute planning
officer, with input from offices across post,
serves as a road map for future construction
and renovation of Institute facilities.
At the top of the list of capital projects for
the 2016-2018 time frame are the infrastructure improvements and the renovation of
Preston Library. Funding for those two projects is included in the Virginia governor’s
proposed budget and is currently awaiting
approval by the Virginia state legislature.
“We feel very good about the prospects for
these two projects being funded this year,”
said Clark. “Education has remained a high
priority for the state; there are so many people working to make sure higher education
gets the funding it needs.” Detailed planning
for both projects will commence when funding is finalized.
The renovation on Preston Library will
provide the Corps with a state-of-the-art facility incorporating a learning commons area
and enhanced study space.
Infrastructure upgrades include replacement and expansion of natural gas, water, and
sewer lines in addition to improvements in
the heat plant that will increase efficiency.
Security infrastructure will also be improved. A modern emergency management
control center and a central fiber-optic fire
monitoring system tied into updated firealarm equipment are included.
For the first time this year, the master
plan also includes a post safety and security
development plan, which identifies areas of
concern for further study, including traffic
patterns, surveillance, and emergency communications systems.
“Some of these changes might cause some
inconvenience in exchange for improved
safety,” said Clark. “Right now we’re looking
at 139 points where we can improve the safety
and security of post, and we’ll present the
details to the Board as an addendum in May.”
The plan also includes updates on all
Institute facilities, needs of offices across
post, planned capital budget requests
through 2022, and development plans for
specific projects.
Other major projects on the horizon in
the next four years include the renovation
of Scott Shipp and Moody halls, barracks
energy efficiency improvements, and the
construction of an aquatic training facility.
continued from page 11
Catherine Berry ’18 (left) and Ally Van Valen ’16 present VMI’s bystander intervention program. Co-presenter is Holly
Deering of the University of Virginia.– Photo courtesy of the Office of Cadet-Athlete Development.
February 201613
Post Briefs
Turner Named to All-SoCon Faculty Team
Col. James Turner ’65 has been named to the inaugural All-Southern
Conference Faculty Team. The league recognizes a faculty member from
each of the Southern Conference’s 10 member schools. Each member
school put forward a faculty member who exemplified service to the insti‑
tution, had a record of high scholastic achievement among students, was
Medal of Honor Recipient
Medal of Honor recipient retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Wesley
Fox speaks to cadets assembled in Gillis Theater earlier this month
during his visit to present Phillip G. Jewett ’17 with the Armed Forces
Communications and Electronics Association Scholarship. Fox, a vet‑
eran of the Korean and Vietnam wars, was representing the Medal of
Honor Foundation. – VMI Photo by Stephen Hanes.
recognized for a research project or academic writing, and contributed to
campus life and the local community. Turner is head of the VMI Department
of Biology.
Pegg Earns Educational Facilities Credential
Lt. Col. Todd Pegg ’92 earned the Certified Educational Facilities
Professional credential from the Association of Physical Plant
Administrators. Pegg is a certified energy manager in VMI’s Physical Plant.
The CEFP credential validates the unique knowledge and competency
required of professionals in the educational facilities field.
Mason Retires After 35 Years
Retiring head equipment manager James W. Mason received the VMI
Meritorious Service Medal Jan. 18. Mason received the award, presented
by Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62, superintendent, as he concluded a 35-year
career with VMI athletics, during which he was responsible for the uniforms
and equipment supporting 18 NCAA teams that include more than 400
Twenty-Mile March
New cadets and their 1 st Class mentors march up Robinson Gap Road
during the 20-mile march Jan. 31. The group, departing from Buena Vista,
hiked up and over Robinson Gap, where they crossed the Blue Ridge
Parkway before returning. See additional photos at,
post date Feb. 1. – VMI Photos by Stephen Hanes.
VMI Institute Report
Environmental Impact Also a Priority in Renovations to Cormack and Cocke
The Indoor Training Facility is just one element of the Corps Physical
Training Facilities, the others being the Cocke Hall and the recently com‑
pleted Cormack Hall.
By adapting these existing 20th-century structures to new uses rather
than opting for new construction, the Institute is reducing its environ‑
mental impact while preserving its historical architecture.
“Cormack Hall is a classic adaptive reuse,” said Lt. Col. Dallas Clark ’99,
Institute planning officer. “To have a building that’s gone through four
different programmatic uses during its history is pretty amazing.”
Cormack was built as a riding arena, has served as the home of VMI
basketball and indoor track and field, and now is home to the physical
education department, VMI wrestling, and a weight-training facility.
Compared to the Indoor Training Facility, Cormack and Cocke halls
have more conventional mechanical systems, but they’re also designed
toward efficiency, including LED lighting systems, high volume fans, and
improved insulation.
Two 10,000-gallon cisterns have been installed in front of Cocke Hall
to provide water for irrigating Memorial Gardens and for the building’s
Two 10,000-gallon cisterns were installed below ground in October as
part of the Cocke Hall renovation. The cisterns will collect rainwater
for use in Cocke Hall’s mechanical systems and for irrigating Memorial
Gardens. – VMI Photo by John Robertson IV.
mechanical systems.
In addition, windows and other architectural elements were repaired
rather than replaced both because of their historical significance and to
reduce waste.
green elements as possible.”
To see more photos of the Cocke Hall renovation, visit VMINews.
“Think about how many pounds of glass and steel we’re keeping out of
the landfill,” said Clark. “We’re doing things that preserve the important
Indoor Training Facility historical elements of the building while also incorporating as many, post date Feb. 3.
––John Robertson IV
continued from page 1
there’s the warm up track. The system essentially works on convection – the fact that hot air rises.”
The form of the building emphasizes the importance of this
function, with the prominent ribs atop the structure functioning as
roof monitors.
“The roof monitors serve a couple of purposes,” said Jarvis. “One of
the purposes is to let the hot air out through louvers, and the secondary purpose is to let in ambient light.”
In addition to energy savings provided by the passive downdraft
system, the operations and maintenance costs are much lower
compared with the mechanical systems that would be required by a
traditional cooling system.
This is just one of the design elements that has put the facility
on track to achieve Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design
Gold certification.
“The state mandates that we achieve LEED silver, but, with the
efforts of the contractor and the planning and design elements, we’re
on track to achieve LEED gold, which is the next step up,” said Jarvis.
Other design elements include a green roof covering a portion of
the facility.
“All the rainwater that normally would fall on the roof and go
through the gutters is being collected by the green roof, so we don’t
contribute excessive amounts of water to the storm-water system,”
said Jarvis.
Cisterns are part of the design as well, collecting rainwater for
use in irrigating the landscaping around the facility and serving as
a source of non-potable water to support the building's operational requirements.
Bioretention structures visible on the slope behind the facility will
take the runoff that comes down from residential areas uphill and
filter it through the planting medium before discharging it.
Apart from the design of the structure, efforts of contractors on
the site to minimize environmental impact are vital.
“The contractor does a lot of work towards LEED certification
during construction,” said Jarvis “Of the trash that’s being generated, right now we’re consistently converting about 90 percent of it to
some sort of recycling or repurposing effort, and we’ll continue that
throughout the course of the construction.”
Another LEED element that the Institute has pursued is conservation of natural outdoor spaces as part of the Indoor Training Facility
construction as well as the renovation of Cocke and Cormack halls.
“We’ve set aside over 353,000 square feet of land in perpetuity to
not be developed,” said Lt. Col. Dallas Clark ’99, Institute planning
officer. “We’re partially offsetting the environmental impact of these
projects by preserving this land.”
More than five acres of land have been set aside on the slope
between Crozet Hall and the Woods Creek to offset the impact of
the Indoor Training Facility, in addition to the 2.9 acres between the
North Post firing range and Jordan’s Point preserved as an offset for
the Cocke and Cormack hall renovation projects.
Both the Indoor Training Facility construction and the Cocke Hall
renovation are expected to be completed sometime fall semester.
February 201615
‘A Lot of Stuff Changes in 500 Years’
Cadets Map and Present Their Studies of 16th-Century French Wars of Religion
By Kelly Nye
Cadets studying French at VMI are learning about history using
more than just dates and facts. In their study of 16th-century France,
they are learning how and why events unfolded 500 years ago by
investigating space and place. And they are using Google Maps to
illustrate their conclusions.
Google Maps allows a user to pinpoint and display locations by
offering satellite imagery from around the world.
Since the department of Modern Languages and Cultures hired
Maj. Jeff Kendrick and Maj. Abbey Carrico three years ago, the
French department has expanded to include rigorous 300-level
courses, trips to Paris, and, most recently, the Seizièmistes of the
mid-Atlantic. A seizièmiste is a person who studies 16th-century
French history. The biennial conference was hosted by VMI for the
first time this past December, bringing scholars from all over the
mid-Atlantic to speak with other students and professors interested
in 16th-century French history.
Maj. Jeff Kendrick, a founding member of the Seizièmistes of
the mid-Atlantic, asked three of his students, Caleb Bishop ’16, Will
Derouin ’16, and Connor Morgan ’16, to participate in the conference
by presenting their capstone projects. Each of them focused on an aspect of the wars of religion between the Catholics and the Protestants
(or Huguenots) that spanned the 16th century in France.
@VMINews or @VMILife
Above and below, Caleb Bishop ’16 presents his research on the use of en‑
gravings as propaganda during the wars of religion in 16th-century France.
– VMI Photos by Kelly Nye.
Follow VMI
VMI Institute Report
“The overall organizing principal of the course was the idea of
space and place in 16th-century France, so who had the right to occupy
certain spaces and what kinds of activities were allowed to go on in
certain places,” Kendrick explained, “and how does this relate to the
ideological conflict that was going on in France?”
For example, Bishop studied the gruesomely detailed engravings
and politically charged poetry of the time. His map illustrated how
art was used as propaganda to reach a wider audience in France.
“The idea is a person who doesn’t know anything about this would
be able to – if Mr. Bishop published this – take a tour of 16th-century
France and hit the highlights related to the paper he is working on,”
said Kendrick.
Using Google Maps was a new avenue for the French students.
And though it required some technology training in English – which
meant less time speaking in French – the visualization of space and
place brought the historic events into perspective.
Derouin used that perspective in his presentation by showing how
the violence in France grew from a massacre in a small barn to the
seizure of an entire city.
“Throughout the first war the Protestants took back more
and more space until they eventually controlled cities,” Derouin
explained. And as his map, littered with points of bloodshed,
demonstrated, “there wasn’t a huge area of France where violence
wasn’t occurring.”
A lot of time has passed since the 16th century, though, and not
every village mentioned in the cadets’ studies has survived the 500
years to make it onto Google Maps. As Morgan, who mapped Charles
IX’s two-year “grand tour” of France, said, “there are a handful of
Marksmanship places that don’t show up on this map because the place ceases to
exist. So that’s one of the drawbacks of this project. A lot of stuff
changes in 500 years.”
The project also suggested comparisons between the past and
present. Because Morgan’s project focused on the St. Bartholomew’s
Day massacre, he was quick to notice the lack of separation between
church and state.
“French Protestants and Catholics both firmly believed that if they
didn’t get rid of the other party then God was going to punish them
for tolerating these heretics. … There was no reconciliation between
these two groups for the most part,” he noted.
Morgan pointed out that government and religion are strictly separated in France today, but the problems between ISIS and the West
are similar to the problems of 16th-century France.
“A lot of people my age will say, ‘Why are you learning about something that’s 500 years old? Why are you talking about history that’s
so irrelevant? Well, you can not only learn and … prevent the same
mistakes from happening, … but I’ve drawn a lot of parallels to stuff
that’s going on today,” he said.
The scholars who attend the mid-Atlantic conference are the
experts in the field, and sharing this knowledge with future
Seizièmistes helps to spread an understanding of the Huguenots’
and Catholics’ struggles and how their struggles resonate with
today’s challenges
As Kendrick said, “It’s a really good opportunity for French studies at VMI. … It’s nice having these people come here, … people who
are well known in their field. And these [cadets] are reading their
books and able to meet them.”
continued from page 7
“For the most part, we’re getting an 80 percent qualification rate,”
Bither noted.
Cadets who post a score in the 36-40 range meet Army expert
marksman requirements. At the same time, a running tally of scores
is kept throughout the year, with the company earning the best
scores receiving points toward the Commandant’s Cup.
The marksmanship program has also led to the formation of a
club three-gun team, which will travel to Fort Benning, Ga., in April
to compete for the third time against other squads in the Senior
Military and All-Academy Three-Gun Competition. The team, which
joins VMI’s two other marksmanship clubs, the Pistol and Trap
and Skeet clubs, participates in combat-style shooting competitions
typically using standard military-type firearms, the M-9 or law
enforcement style pistols, shotguns, and M-4 carbines. The cadets
go through a fast-paced course of fire where they have to move from
one firing position to another and engage multiple targets at different distances.
The growth of the marksmanship program has also provided an
opportunity for cadets to train to oversee safety procedures on the
range – needed help as hundreds of cadets filter through the North
Post range each year.
“I have a corps of trainers that help me train cadets,” Bither said.
“It’s straight out of the [National Rifle Association] curriculum and
their prescribed course for safety officers. … They know how to handle the weapons and do a pretty good job.”
With the marksmanship program well established for the 3rd Class,
Bither would like to see additional programming extending the training through the upper classes.
“I’d like to see an education program for pistol training,” he said.
“[And] it would be nice to incorporate a physical education credit.
That would really ramp it up to the next level.”
Third Class cadets attempt to meet U.S. Army marksmanship requirements
at the North Post firing range. – VMI Photo by H. Lockwood McLaughlin.
February 201617
Birth Certificate of the Museum
VMI Museum Obtains Letter from First Superintendent Soliciting Artifacts
By Kelly Nye
When Francis H. Smith wrote a letter in 1845 asking alumni for artifacts to begin a museum at Virginia Military Institute, he probably
had no idea that a copy of that letter would make its way back to the
Institute in 2016 and end up being purchased by the very museum he
was founding.
But that is exactly what happened.
Col. Keith Gibson ’77, executive director of the VMI Museum
System, held a copy of the letter in his hand. The letter, which was
discovered on eBay and purchased by VMI for what Gibson called a
“modest price,” was addressed to William Beale, Class of 1843.
“This was simply in the family papers,” Gibson explained. “It made
it through time by something I refer to as benign neglect. No one
bothered to throw it away, so it survived.”
The letter is signed by Francis Smith and dated Feb. 27, 1845. The
first paragraph highlights all of the improvements made to the school
since the alumni graduated.
The second paragraph dives into the plea: “Without much inconvenience to yourself, it may be in your power to collect Curiosities, both
literary and natural, the collection and deposite of which here might
form the commencement of a museum.”
The museum Smith created from these artifacts became the first
public history museum in the state of Virginia.
Having a museum on post was very important to Smith. As Gibson
explained, “An issue nationally in the 1830s – in fact, I think you
could argue one of the reasons VMI was right for its time – is … [that]
there was a growing concern … there would be no one left to carry on
the spirit of ’76. … Once the last veteran of the Revolutionary War was
gone, who then would take as their inspiration to defend liberty and
freedom and the American way?”
Also, Smith understood the importance of “illustrating the academic lecture,” or having something tangible to learn from, an educational strategy still important today.
“So that’s why a museum of history becomes very important for
Smith at a place like VMI. Because we have to be reminding the cadets
of the heritage of which they have now become the stewards and
the defenders and the citizen-soldiers to carry on into the future,”
Gibson concluded.
The letter dates back to the earliest alumni classes.
See Letter, page 20
The letter was designed as a “self-mailer,” folding up into a package with the address on the outside. The name of the addressee, W.S. Beale, is written in Smith’s
hand.– VMI Photo by Kelly Nye
VMI Institute Report
Breakout, Class of 2019
Temperatures were in the single digits as the firing of Little John awoke the new cadets for Breakout
Feb. 13. The cadets headed to North Post at sunrise to work their way through physical training sta‑
tions and then to Foster Stadium and Cameron Hall for more. In the culminating event, the cadets built
a ramp to the Third Barracks sentinel box out of sandbags previously arranged to represent the classes
of ’16, ’17, and ’18 in each of the barracks courtyards. With the ramp built, they then spelled 19 with red
sandbags to represent their own class. – VMI Photos by John Robertson IV, Kelly Nye, and H. Lockwood McLaughlin.
February 201619
Virginia Military Institute
Communications & Marketing Office
Lexington, VA 24450-0304
Changes Coming for Jackson House
Snow falls on the Stonewall Jackson House (foreground) and the
Davidson-Tucker House during a storm Jan. 22. Construction on the
1,469-square-foot Jackson House Orientation Center to be located at
the rear of the Davidson-Tucker House is set to begin in September.
The addition will house a museum shop and orientation spaces, al‑
lowing for the conversion of current retail and orientation rooms
within the Stonewall Jackson House into interpretive space. – VMI Photo
by Kelly Nye.
Letter continued from page 18
As Gibson explained, “This document makes it through history
and has now become a very important record for the Institute
because it shows very early on the connection between VMI
and the alumni support. It is literally the birth certificate for
the museum.”
Sadly, none of the original items, including a Jamestown gunlock from 1607 mentioned in the letter, remain. When Union Gen.
David Hunter burned VMI in 1864, everything in the original
museum was lost. The museum was rebuilt after the war and
continued as a general history museum until the latter half of the
20th century, when it sharpened its focus to VMI history.
“We have artifacts that have been in this museum for over 140
years, but we don’t have anything that goes back to this period,”
said Gibson. “Stonewall Jackson himself was a visitor to this museum. That’s how old this museum is.”
The letter will reside with other historic documents in the
VMI Archives, where it will be under the care of director Col.
Diane Jacob.
VMI Institute Report
February 2016