LEXINGTON, Va. – The Virginia Military Institute’s new leader has arrived on post.
Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins has started his tenure as VMI’s interim superintendent. Wins graduated from VMI in 1985 and recently retired after more than three decades of service in the Army.
“Every time I faced adversity in my career and my life, I’ve been able to draw back on those experiences as a cadet,” Wins said.
VMI will soon be investigated by the Commonwealth of Virginia for allegations of ongoing racism at the school. Wins’ predecessor, General J. H. Binford Peay III, resigned after 17 years when the allegations intensified in October.
Wins said he welcomes the investigation and will do what he can to improve the school’s culture.
“There are some things we’re going to have to get to the bottom of, and we have to be open and transparent about it,” Wins said. “If there is any evidence of acts of racism or intolerance, I want to set a standard that’s clear and unwavering that it’s not tolerated here.”
Wins is VMI’s first-ever Black superintendent. He said he wants VMI to teach cadets how to value people of all backgrounds.
“You’re going out into a world that’s diverse. If we’re not preparing you for that world, we’re failing you,” Wins said. “The environment ought to be such that you gain an appreciation and mutual respect of one another, despite differences.”
Wins is currently drafting his own assessment of VMI’s culture, which he expects to complete within the next two months. He believes the university still has the framework to prepare young cadets for a future of leadership.
“I want them to have a sense of honor, have a sense of integrity, and have a sense of loyalty and duty to the country,” Wins said. “It teaches the cadet what they already have innately in themselves, and the fact they can be people of honor.”