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Center for Leadership and Ethics 2021-22 Focus: Citizen Leaders

Marshall Hall Center for Leadership and Ethics building exterior.

The Center for Leadership and Ethics has chosen citizen leaders as its annual leadership theme for the 2021-22 academic year. The rationale behind this theme is that during the past 18 months, the nation has endured a deadly pandemic, deeply divided election period, and social unrest. Our citizenry seems to be separating into preferred groups—political and social. VMI cadets are not immune to these pressures. Our society is pluralistic by its very nature. What brings us together into one overarching group is our humanity. Even at VMI, we are a salad bowl of cultures from around the world, and it is “One Corps–One VMI: A Unifying Action Plan” that brings those cultures together.

“The center’s programming this year will explore the duties and responsibilities of citizen leaders through the lens of VMI’s mission to prepare citizen soldiers and the five outcomes quest to make us all more inclusive leaders,” observed Col. David Gray, Ph.D., the CLE’s director. “Our goal is to build the bonds of trust between and among the VMI community and our fellow Americans by working toward our common of purpose of being inclusive citizen leaders.”

The center will focus our programming on this subject, particularly in our strategic outreach efforts in conferences, speakers, and social media. This focus will help bring several of VMI’s five outcomes as outlined in “One Corps–One VMI: A Unifying Action Plan” to life:

Honor. 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. Our brand will be defined by the conduct of the Corps.

Competing and winning. VMI cadets must compete to win in the classroom, on the hill through their cadet life in barracks, 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.

The center will explore these issues in depth during its 12th Annual Leadership and Ethics Conference Nov. 1-2, 2021. This year’s conference title is “Evolving Civic Leadership: Citizenship and Social Responsibility.”