Capt. Sungkuyn “Eddie” Chang ’13 was selected as an Olmsted Scholar for the Class of 2022 in March 2021.
Sponsored by the Olmsted Foundation, which supports cross-cultural learning opportunities for commissioning cadets and junior officers in all branches of the military, the Olmsted Scholar program is a two-and-a-half to three-year educational experience that includes full-time graduate study at a foreign university in the non-English language of that country. Candidates are selected for their propensity and aptitude for leadership.
A native of South Korea who obtained his U.S. citizenship while at VMI, Chang was ranked No. 3 on the U.S. Army Cadet Command’s national order of merit list at the end of his cadetship. He now serves as an infantry officer and will study in Louvain, Belgium, as an Olmsted Scholar.
Chang is the fifth VMI alumnus, and the second in the last five years, to be selected as an Olmsted Scholar since the program began in 1960. Past Olmsted Scholars are William Short ’77, Nathan Pierpont ’98, William Blanton ’03, and Patrick Schrafft ’08.
“This is a highly competitive and prestigious award for active duty officers,” said Col. David B. Hall ’83, director of international programs.
Selection for the Olmsted Scholar program is extremely rigorous. Hall explained that each service holds a service-level board for screening and selection from among hundreds of eligible offers. Only a handful of nominees are subsequently sent to the Olmsted Foundation for final selection. From the list of officers provided by the services, the Olmsted Foundation selects 16 to 19 scholars annually: Five from the Army, Navy, and Air Force; three from the Marine Corps; and one from the Coast Guard.
Well-known Olmsted Scholar alumni include the late Adm. Carlisle Trost, who served as chief of Naval operations, Joint Chiefs of Staff, during the 1990s; Marine Corps Col. Robert “Bob” McFarlane, national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan; Air Force Gen. George Lee Butler, the last commander of the U.S. Strategic Air Command; and Army Gen. John Abizaid, former commander, U.S. Central Command, and former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published by VMI Communications & Marketing.