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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Daniel

Chairman's Comments - SoVP May 2023

Welcome to another issue of The Sentinel; thank you for tuning in. And thanks to our team for putting this together.

CONGRATULATIONS to the newest class of alumni! Welcome, Class of 2023!

First, we would be wrong and remiss if we did not make reference to the Battle of New Market, acknowledging the role that the VMI Corps of Cadets played in winning that battle and the sacrifices made by those who were wounded or killed.

On 15 May 1864, the VMI Corps of Cadets, initially held in reserve, entered the field of battle, enabling the pivot point in securing victory for MajGen Breckinridge’s forces at New Market. All told, 47 VMI Cadets were wounded and 10 perished from injuries sustained while loyally fighting for their Brother Rats, their school and their state.

The Brave Dead

  • Samuel Francis Atwill, Class of 1866 (Third Classman), Atwillton, Virginia

  • William Henry Cabell, Class of 1865 (Second Classman), Richmond, Virginia

  • Charles Gay Crockett, Class of 1867 (Fourth Classman), Wythe County, Virginia

  • Alva Curtis Hartsfield, Class of 1866 (Third Classman), Wake County, North Carolina

  • Luther Cary Haynes, Class of 1867 (Fourth Classman), Essex County, Virginia

  • Thomas Garland Jefferson, Class of 1867 (Fourth Classman), Amelia County, Virginia

  • Henry Jenner Jones, Class of 1867 (Fourth Classman), King William County, Virginia

  • William Hugh McDowell, Class of 1867 (Fourth Classman), Beattie’s Ford, North Carolina

  • Jaqueline Beverly Stanard, Class of 1867 (Fourth Classman), Orange, Virginia

  • Joseph Christopher Wheelwright, Class of 1867 (Fourth Classman), Westmoreland County, Virginia

VMI alumni across the globe are proud of this legacy and the Institute’s history.

Since the previous issue, some momentous events have occurred: The VMI Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has changed in name. The office also adjusted its practices and its purpose. Mandated by the VMI Board of Visitors, these adjustments bring VMI into alignment with the Virginia Office of Diversity, Opportunity and Inclusion. During the April mandatory annual faculty/staff training on Post in the Center for Leadership and Ethics, this alignment was articulated by the Commonwealth’s Chief Diversity Officer, Mr Martin Brown. The training focuses the Corps and faculty/staff on leadership and will be conducted via scenario-based vignettes or challenges that today’s professional may endure. Additionally, the faculty and staff will not incorporate divisive DEI concepts, such as engineered outcomes, or assumed racial privilege into academic or cadet life. These are good news changes that, if maintained, will help to tilt VMI back into healthy equilibrium.

As time ticks on toward the 2023 elections, the Spirit of VMI has begun to align with elected officials in Richmond, establish an election support strategy and build out tactical plans to achieve success, as in the elections of 2021. Please stay tuned and in touch with the Spirit of VMI to learn more about the elections and how we plan to support those who will stand for VMI when called upon. There will be a flurry of support and activity as the year progresses.

In this issue we include

  • Town Hall: A video link to our April Town Hall webinar

  • News: The PAC applauds MG Wins for inviting Martin Brown, Chief Diversity Officer for the Commonwealth. Chief Brown’s remarks are long overdue.

  • Editorials: Two thought pieces from our talented membership

    • We welcome Governor Glenn Youngkin to Post and share what we would like to hear in his upcoming Commencement address to the Corps.

    • A humorous look at the first day at VMI by the famous Dunlap Raconteur. It should bring back pleasant, and unpleasant, memories for alumni. For others it gives a wonderful insight into what matriculation was like circa 1983.

  • Wit: From days gone by, the most popular feature of any Cadet newspaper was the “Dart Board.” We are keeping satire and parody alive and with a wink and a sly smile. (No one is safe. Please don’t get your feelings hurt.)

  • Wisdom: More satire and parody in the form of multiple Zippy illustrations. Zippy ‘been busy!

This should be a fun Sentinel to read. Enjoy.

Matt Daniel ‘85

Chairman, The Spirit of VMI (PAC)


Founded in 2021, the Spirit of VMI PAC is a registered Virginia Political Action Committee whose purpose is to restore VMI’s reputation as an elite leadership institution.

Point of Contact:

SOVP Communications Staff:

Visit the SOVP website:

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