According to a Freedom of Information Act response from VMI officials to an alumnus, the Institute's Board of Visitors (BoV), led by Thomas R. Watjen ’76, approved a $100,000 bonus for Superintendent Cedric Wins, as a result of his FY·2022 performance review. The award was made during the Board's meeting last September (FY-2023), with four abstentions from the vote, according to BoV minutes.
The bonus represents a 300 percent increase over the Superintendent's FY 2021 award of $25,000, and was made from private contributions. It increased General Wins's total, known compensation for 2022 to $725,000, of which $330,000 (46%) was paid by the Commonwealth.
The BoV is a supervisory board responsible for oversight and success of all areas of the Institute. SOVP questions what performance metrics Mr Watjen and the BoV used to make such a generous award and sharp increase given FY-2022 was an academic year that generated major concern among alumni and friends about VMI's direction, and included large increases in attrition from the Corps. Also notable was a sharp drop in applications, which triggered the elimination of the application deadline and the SAT requirement, and led to a 25% drop in New Cadet Matriculation. This failure occurred the first year after General Wins asked for the resignation of the most successful Director of Admissions in VMl's history. Without knowing his evaluation metric, it is difficult to be completely supportive of Mr. Watjen's confidence that the future is as rosy as the picture they paint with a $100,000 bonus.
Further, SOVP notes that identifying a source of funds as "private" is unacceptable disclosure. How many donors contributed to the $395,000 from private sources that the Superintendent was paid last year? Could these funds be better used for faculty salary increases? What were the sizes of the largest donations? Did an Institute agency solicit and appropriate these funds, and if so, which?