The Moody Hall reception area recently became a place to honor generous leaders of the Institute and VMI Alumni Agencies.
In late 2017, three new plaques were revealed, all related to VMI’s three major fundraising campaigns – the recently completed An Uncommon Purpose: A Glorious Past, A Brilliant Future: The Campaign for VMI, as well as Reveille: A Call to Excel and The VMI Campaign – in the reception area in Moody Hall. Warren J. Bryan ’71, chief operating officer of the VMI Foundation, explained why this form of recognition is important. “Over the past several decades, private financial support has become a critical part of VMI’s budget. It has supported some of the Institute’s most successful initiatives, such as the Jackson-Hope Fund, merit scholarships, chairs and professorships, and athletics. It is important, therefore, that those who have led these efforts and have been among their most generous supporters receive public and permanent recognition at a prominent place on post – in this case, Moody Hall.”
The two previous campaigns’ leaders and major donors had been honored with plaques in Moody Hall. As An Uncommon Purpose drew to a close, preparations began to do the same for it. As the project progressed, the campaign’s leaders requested that new plaques be made for the previous two campaigns and all three plaques placed together in Moody Hall. The purpose, according to Bryan, was “to show the continuity between the campaigns and their donors. While each campaign may have had different priorities, they all shared the same overarching goal: Advancing the Institute and helping the Corps of Cadets.”
Bryan also stressed that the plaques were not meant to honor only leaders and major donors, but to recognize all of the alumni and friends who have supported the Institute since the late 1970s through these three campaigns. “The trouble is,” he said, “there’s just not space enough in Moody Hall to display the names of the more than 15,000 people who took part in An Uncommon Purpose and thousands more who participated in the two before it.”
During the process of designing and manufacturing the campaign-related plaques, there was an opportunity to revamp the other plaques in Moody Hall which honor the recipients of the New Market Medal, the Institute’s highest award, and the Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor of the VMI Foundation. The former, which is awarded by the VMI Board of Visitors, was established in 1962 to honor those who demonstrate the virtue of the New Market cadets: Duty, honor, devotion and leadership. The latter recognizes alumni and friends who have provided exemplary service to VMI and the VMI Foundation and brought credit to the Institute through their professional and civic accomplishments. These also feature the obverse and reverse of the New Market Medal and the insignia of the Distinguished Service Award, respectively. They are displayed in the hallway between the Reception Room and the Activities Room. All five plaques, made mainly of marble and brushed bronze, are the work of Gropen, a company in Charlottesville, Virginia, whose clientele includes the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, the University of Virginia Law School, and Washington and Lee University.
There is nothing quite as inspiring as a good example, and for alumni and friends who visit Moody Hall, these plaques provide not only recognition of generosity, leadership and service but also serve to inspire alumni and friends to emulate those who are recognized.