Call to Duty

Call to Duty: Zachary Denton ’27

Name: Zachary Denton ’27

Hometown: Arlington, Virginia

Service Branch: U.S. Army

Major: Psychology

Path to VMI

“A big part of my inspiration is for wanting to join the military … would be my dad. He’s probably been the biggest role model in my life. He’s done 30-plus years in the Army now, and I’ve watched him as he’s gone all the way up to when he got promoted to colonel finally, and I’ve watched as he’s taken on these various leadership roles and just his interaction with everyone in the Army—that’s something that I would aspire to be like. I want to be a leader like him because he embodies that for me.

“I first found VMI when I was looking for track and field teams. I had done track and field throughout high school. I wanted to run Division I track and field … and I’d recognized the name of someone who I used to race with back at one of the previous spots I lived at, so I got in contact with him to ask him about VMI; he said it was a great place, and I should look further into it. So that’s what kind of started me on my track to looking at VMI.”

Financial Challenges

“So what the Army ROTC scholarship covers is you have a choice: Essentially, you could either have it cover your tuition, or you can have it cover your housing. And in addition, you get stipends for books and other expenses. However, it doesn’t cover everything, and because I got a three-year [scholarship], I have to pay for everything this year by myself. It’s not covered until next year when I become contracted.

“The part that it didn’t cover was more than a little—a sizable amount. So, we started looking for scholarships: What are scholarships that are wanting to help … people will be commissioning into the military? Can we find those things? We had some decent success, but the cost for college is getting higher and higher, so it couldn’t cover everything.”

“I think that’s probably one of the biggest reasons why [the scholarship] should be kept, so you can continue to foster these officers we’ve gained this amazing reputation for.”

Cadet Zachary Denton ’27 Call to Duty Scholarship Recipient

Finding Out about Call to Duty

“What swayed my decision from VMI versus Coastal Carolina [University], I would say, was financial aid and also the attitude of the faculty. … Coastal didn’t have an equivalent to the Call to Duty Scholarship. And they didn’t have nearly as many supporting scholarships, either, for their ROTC program because they weren’t as focused on that.

“So remembering back to when I got the Call to Duty Scholarship … I saw it actually in Post View first. … And we go down to the point where it says, do you accept the Call to Duty Scholarship, and I just had this huge smile on my face. And when I saw that, I’m like, I know where I want to go now. Because I talked to alumni, I talked to current cadets here, and that had gotten me more and more excited with the prospect of going here. Now, I just had to worry about the financial part and seeing the Call of Duty Scholarship—that last little bit of reservation got wiped away. I knew where I wanted to go when I saw that I had that scholarship.”

Why Call to Duty Matters

“As a current student here, I would say it’s very important to keep this scholarship for future classes. There [are] so many different ways to go ahead and get financial aid. But a lot of those are very hard to find, or they don’t cover quite what everyone needs. This is a good scholarship. … The goal of this school is to give the best and brightest officers to our various service branches. And enabling them to not have to worry about the financial part of it as they go through this journey, I think, is a really great thing. I think that’s probably one of the biggest reasons why [the scholarship] should be kept, so you can continue to foster these officers we’ve gained this amazing reputation for.

“Not having the weight of having to worry about loans and having to repay them … that’s been an absolutely huge help because as a freshman, you have the Rat Line, and additionally, you have ROTC, and you just have school, so especially for people like me—I didn’t have the absolute most stellar grades in high school, and I saw it as a really good chance to have a fresh slate. I can get these grades. I can do very well at this school. Not having that extra stress of the financial part is part of what’s allowed me to flourish and do well at the school, I feel.”

Support cadets who want to serve.

Learn More about Call to Duty Scholarships
  • Mary Price

    Mary Price Development Writer/Communications Specialist

    The development writer plays a key role in producing advancement communications. This role imagines, creates, and produces a variety of written communication to inspire donors to make gifts benefiting VMI. Utilizing journalistic features and storytelling, the development writer will produce content for areas such as Annual Giving, stewardship, and gift planning.