VMI’s highest honor to be awarded to General Peay, former superintendent of 17 years

General Peay will be awarded the New Market Medal on VMI’s Founders Day, Nov. 11.

Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ‘’62 (Credit: VMI) (WSLS)

LEXINGTON, Va. – A man has been chosen by VMI to receive their highest honor for a life of dedication and leadership.

Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III won all of the Virginia Military Institute Board of Visitors’ votes, and was chosen to be awarded the school’s highest honor, the New Market Medal, VMI said.

VMI credited Peay’s commitment and leadership to the institute for the award, along with his military service and time served as the superintendent.

“A lifetime of service, highlighted by a compassionate leadership style and a vision for growth and improvement, General Peay has impacted generations of individuals and thousands of cadets,” said Tom Watjen ‘76, VMI Board of Visitors president. “His life serves as a powerful reminder to our cadets and the community of the impact of the VMI experience. It’s an honor to present him with the New Market Medal. His legacy will live on at the Institute.”

Peay was a cadet too – VMI said that he was the quarterback for the Keydet football team, a member of the Honor Court, and a battalion commander.

In 1962, Peay received a civil engineering degree, as well as the Society of Cincinnati Medal at his graduation, a prestigious award, according to VMI.

Peay also served in the U.S. Army for 35 years before he retired at the rank of four-star general. He has a master’s degree from George Washington University, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the United States Army War College, VMI said.

And to add on to those accomplishments, VMI said Peay served as their 14th superintendent for 17 tears – the third-longest serving in this role.

During his time as superintendent, Peay focused on improving the academic, co-curricular programs, and NCAA athletic programs, and oversaw major renovations to the VMI, the institute said. He also led the development and implementation of Vision 2039, which focuses on improving the academic, military, and athletic programs at the VMI, as well as the infrastructure, to enhance the leadership development of the cadets.

According to VMI, the new leadership development building on post will be named after Peay.

Peay has also received several military awards and decorations, which include the following, according to VMI:

  • Defense Distinguished Service Medal,
  • Army Distinguished Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters,
  • Silver Star,
  • Purple Heart.

VMI said that Peay wears U.S. campaign ribbons for combat duty in Vietnam and Saudi Arabia and has received foreign awards from Vietnam, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

Peay will be presented with the New Market Medal on VMI’s Founders Day, Nov. 11.

About the Author:

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.