Stories of Impact

Ripley ’23: 1st Class Private Success

Scout Ripley ’23


As a participant in the Institute Honors program, co-captain of the lacrosse team, and future U.S. Marine Corps officer, Cadet Scout Ripley ’23 is fully immersed in all the Institute has to offer. And even on the hard days, he’s glad he came to VMI, as the Institute has given him maturity and a perspective he might not have found elsewhere.

“One thing my roommate actually said 3rd Class year that’s still stuck with me is you can’t let one hour of your day ruin the rest of the 23,” Ripley commented. “Just having a bad 10 minutes, then flushing it, and then having a great 10 minutes is just—that’s how you should be going about things here at VMI. You can’t dwell on it. You just have to keep moving forward.”

A native of Annapolis, Maryland, Ripley came to VMI seeking strong academics, a chance to play Division I lacrosse, and the opportunity to commission into the Marine Corps. He’s found and embraced all three.

“I knew that VMI was going to drive me,” he said. “And so, the biggest thing that I left high school with and that I wanted to continue with at VMI was getting the most out of every experience I have.”

As a double major in history and English, Ripley wears academic stars. This spring, he’s completing two capstone projects, one in each discipline, while also leading the lacrosse team to victories over Hampton University, Siena College, Detroit Mercy, and more.

In spring 2021, Ripley was one of only six VMI cadet-athletes to be named to the VaSID Academic All-State Team. In October 2022, he received the VMI Keydet Club Three-Legged Stool Award, which recognizes the cadet-athlete who best embodies excellence in academics, leadership, and athletics. Offering remarks after Ripley received that award, James Purpura, head lacrosse coach, noted that Ripley “always pulls his team around him.”

After serving as a cadre corporal his 3rd Class year and a platoon sergeant his 2nd Class year, Ripley is a 1st Class private. It’s an option he’s quite comfortable with, as it gives him more time to focus on a crucial role: Building a relationship with his rat.

“That dynamic is so crazy because you have to learn the patience to be a parent,” he noted. “Also, the friendship of having a rat around you all the time—you guys bond together so much. And you’re also a big brother, looking out for them on the hill. So, you’re a parent, you’re a big brother and their best friend all at once, and coming into VMI, I had no experience of what that was like. … My personal connections with my roommates and my rats are something that I’m going to cherish forever.”

Ripley’s education at VMI is supported by three scholarships: One for lacrosse, one for the Institute Honors program, and one for the Marine Corps. He’s grateful for all three. “The money that I have to come here is special to me because they could have given it to somebody else,” Ripley stated. “They could have used it and not donated it to VMI. So me being on scholarship is something special because I know when I graduate, the money that was spent on me is used so I can pay it forward to somebody else.”

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