LEXINGTON, Va. – In a unanimous vote, the Virginia Military Institute Board of Visitors approved the next man to lead the military college.
“This is a great day for VMI,” said VMI Board of Visitors President John William Boland.
Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins, who graduated from VMI in 1985, will serve as the 15th superintendent.
Since Nov. 2020, Wins has been the Institute’s interim superintendent.
“I’m excited,” said Wins. “I think this is a great opportunity.”
Wins is also the school’s first-ever black superintendent.
[’I get to be an example’: VMI’s first African-American superintendent ushers in era of change]
“Most important to me is being the 15th superintendent, so I’m the next man in line. It’s never lost on me, you know, who I am and the color of my skin. That’s never going to be lost on me. My life’s experiences have either reinforced that to me, to always keep that as something that I keep mindful of,” said Wins. “But I think what, to me, is most important is to move the Institute forward.”
Wins took over as interim superintendent in November amid allegations of racism at the school that sparked a state-ordered independent investigation.
He said he’s taken a close look at the school’s culture and climate and identified areas for improvement and where to go from here.
“There’s a lot more positive things going on among that group of young people that is positive than is negative,” said Wins.
In his time at VMI so far, Wins has spent time meeting with cadets, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni to better understand their needs and concerns.
During that process he identified five outcomes for the Institute moving forward:
- The VMI Honor Code must continue to be a way of life for each and every cadet and alumnus.
- Diversity and inclusion. VMI must ensure that every cadet, regardless of race, gender, religion, or nationality, feels a part of the VMI legacy.
- The VMI brand. The outward face of VMI should be built around young leaders of character who exemplify honor, civility, and service above self.
- Competing and winning. VMI cadets must compete to win in the classroom, on the drill field, and on the field of competition.
- One VMI. VMI’s strength is in its diversity of experiences, thought, abilities, and backgrounds. No single cadet’s challenge is greater than another’s. It is through the reliance on their fellow cadets that the Corps succeeds.
During a public hearing before the vote, alumni and parents asked for the next superintendent to lead the school into a new era and respect its history.
“The next VMI superintendent needs to get VMI through the recent challenges and come out on the other side a better institute, a safer institute and an institute of total inclusion,” said ??
“[Maj. Gen. respects history and tradition of the school, which are of course very much a part of it, but he’s looking forward and bringing the school into the future,” said
Wins graduated from VMI in 1985. During his time as a cadet, he played Division 1 basketball. He recently retired after 34 years in the army.
“Maj. Gen. Wins has distinguished himself as a leader whose dedication to the Institute’s mission and to the Corps of Cadets has endeared him to many during his brief time as interim superintendent,” said VMI Board of Visitors President John William Boland. “VMI’s mission, Honor Code, and regimental and class systems are vitally important to the future success of our institution. There’s no question that Maj. Gen. Wins is the right person to preserve and advance VMI’s unique system of education moving forward.”
Wins said the VMI community needs to be open to change, while still committed tradition, honor and integrity.
“Recognize there’s a lot of work to do. There’s a fair number of folks that we’ll have to win over,” said Wins. “We’ll continue to have to stay focused on 1,700 young men and women over there in the Cadet Corps.”