of Cormack Hall to house our Department of Physical Education, classrooms, and the Thunder Dome, to be
followed by a $20 million full modernization of Cocke Hall, which supports numerous activities of the Corps.
We hope to start Phase I construction in February 2014 and complete all construction in three to four years.
The state of Virginia has been most supportive of the Institute and the Corps of Cadets.
With the completion of these projects, most of the Vision 2039 new and modernization construction will have
been completed. We are now planning a significant shift in focus to repair much of our aging infrastructure
over the next six years: the heating plant, underground pipes, streets, energy conservation areas, windows and
doors in Old and New Barracks, etc., … not glamorous, but important. The construction and refurbishing of
the new Science Building (home of the biology and chemistry departments), to be dedicated Maury-Brooke Hall
on Founders Day, Nov. 11, should be completed in August and will yield the finest of research labs and high-tech
classrooms, a massive greenhouse, and more.
When classes start in the fall, we will see the implementation of several exciting academic initiatives. The former
Department of English and Fine Arts will broaden its approach and offerings to reflect its new name – the
Department of English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies – and a number of new professors have joined this
endeavor. The Department of Modern Languages and Cultures will add Mandarin Chinese in the fall of 2014 to
its language portfolio of French, Spanish, and Arabic. Finally, our studies led us to establish a new department –
the Department of Computer and Informational Sciences– with a revamped degree in that discipline to meet the
needs of our graduates in this rapidly changing field.
On the athletic front, in June, the Board of Visitors accepted an invitation to rejoin the Southern Conference,
effective June 30, 2014. The Big South has been a solid home for VMI Athletics the past 10 years; however, we
believe this change, a return to our roots, postures the Institute best in this turbulent era of NCAA Conference
shuffling. This fall is particularly “busy” with six home football games, a Corps trip to U.Va., several other football
games in close proximity, and VMI’s hosting of the annual Military Basketball Classic, to name only a few.
Finally, we are currently in the “quiet phase” of a new campaign. The Campaign Cabinet is chaired by Mr. Don
Wilkinson, VMI Class 1961, and has been hard at work planning and visiting many of our alumni across the
country. We anticipate an announcement of the “public phase,” with stated financial goals and needs, in mid-
summer 2014. Your support is vital to the future of the Institute as we educate leaders for tomorrow. We could not
accomplish the events and experiences outlined in this letter if it were not for the generous private support of our
alumni and friends … and on behalf of the VMI Team, I thank you.
The Class of 2014 is strong, with impressive leadership, … and I believe this will be a great year for our cadets,
their families, and our alumni. My charge to the cadets last April as they began their retreat was straightforward
and simple: plan thoroughly, execute flawlessly, work together involving their entire class and the administration,
and “be on parade 24/7.” They will be expected to lead the Corps in the basic standards: behavior, civility, dress,
professionalism, and honor. I am confident they will.
As in past letters, I ask for your help in this “ongoing journey” toward graduation of your son or daughter. Please
take the time to discuss the matters of interest and concern expressed in this newsletter.
J.H. Binford Peay III '62
General, U.S. Army (Retired)