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Spring 2024 Events

children running up to Moe the mascot

During Legacy Day 2024, 189 children visit post and Moe as they learn to be VMI cadets for the day.

Legacy Day | Band Reunion | Spring Reunions

Legacy Day 2024

Welcoming one of the largest turnouts on record, Legacy Day 2024 hosted 285 participants, including 189 children who spent the day on post as young cadets April 13, 2024. Youth ages 5-17 attended Legacy Day, an annual event providing alumni and their families a chance to return to the Institute and share the VMI spirit with the next generation.

Legacies began their day with breakfast in Moody Hall, followed by forming up on the Parade Ground before each age group split off into activities, which included rock climbing in the Corps Physical Training Facility, a tour of barracks, games on the Parade Ground, and a rifle range simulation in Kilbourne Hall. A favorite activity for participants was marching in platoons organized by age group with Moe, bagpipers, drummers, and a drum major leading them down to Crozet.

More than 30 cadet volunteers facilitated the day, including Cadet Thomas Schultz ’25, Legacy Day cadet-in-charge and Alumni Association intern, who said, “I would not have traded anything in the world to miss this day. Seeing the faces on the kids who attended made me feel like I was helping in something bigger than that of myself,” said Schultz. “I look forward to seeing their children call themselves cadets here in the future.”

For Justin Tammelin ’09, Alumni Association director of alumni engagement, watching legacies enjoying their experience at the Institute and forming bonds with each other and the cadet volunteers was impactful. “Seeing whole families on post for the day and watching current cadets teach, engage, and lead young children is a rewarding feeling,” said Tammelin. “It really highlights the high-level product that the Institute is producing and shows the quality of character of these young men and women who will go out and impact the world. It is an incredible legacy to be a part of, and I could not be prouder of the cadets who made Legacy Day a huge success.”

Band Reunion Draws Over 300 to Honor Brodie

Often heard before they are seen, members of Band Company are the musical ambassadors for VMI, performing dozens of times each year—not only on post but also across the country at events such as the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, and the Mardi Gras Parade in New Orleans, Louisiana, among many others.

For most of the past four decades, the band and other iconic VMI musical groups, such as the jazz band, the Institute Brass, and the Glee Club, have been led by a tireless faculty member beloved by generations of cadets: Col. John Brodie (Hon), who will retire at the end of the 2023–24 academic year.

On Friday, April 19, 2024, approximately 325 Band Company alumni and their families, plus friends of Brodie and his family, gathered on post to honor Brodie’s 36-year tenure at the helm of all things musical at VMI. The Band Reunion, organized by the VMI Alumni Association and informally dubbed Brodiefest by some alumni, was held in conjunction with the retirement parade at which Brodie and other retiring faculty members were honored.

Attendees came from all over the country to honor the longtime band director—and Brodie’s daughter, Rachel, flew in from Taiwan just for the occasion.

Tony Gelormine ’01 made the much shorter trip from Winchester, Virginia, to honor Brodie. As a cadet, Gelormine played the same instrument as Brodie—the trumpet—and he also played the herald trumpet, used for ceremonial occasions on post, and the bugle. Over two decades later, Gelormine can still recall how Band Company was the glue that held everything else together. “The thing about [Brodie] was that he made us all want to belong,” he noted. “Coming in, especially as a rat, when you don’t know which direction you should be running in … you’re trying to figure everything out. But Colonel Brodie made it seem like band was home—a home base for everything.”

Brodie’s clear leadership also made a big impression on Gelormine. “He always gave clear guidance and direction,” he said. “We never wondered where we stood with him.”

Over the years, Brodie’s commitment to the Institute and the Corps of Cadets has been recognized many times over. He was honored with the VMI Foundation Distinguished Service Award in 1991, the VMI Achievement Medal in 1999, and the Faculty Mentor Award in 2004 and 2005. In addition to being an honorary alumnus of the Institute—a status bestowed upon him by the VMI Alumni Association Board of Directors in 2008—he is also an honorary brother rat of the Class of 1992.

On the day of the Band Reunion, a sunny and warm Friday, those gathering to honor Brodie were welcomed at a reception in Moody Hall before the retirement parade. After the parade, Band Reunion attendees went to Memorial Garden for a group photo, breaking out into chants of “Brodie! Brodie! Brodie!” as the retiring band director appeared. In brief remarks, Brodie noted he was “overwhelmed” by the attendance and admiration of those who’d come from near and far to celebrate the conclusion of his musical journey at VMI.

And although the 2024–25 academic year will open without Brodie in Shell Hall or elsewhere on post, Brodie’s legacy will continue in the form of a scholarship established through the generosity of his wife, Sarah Brodie. The scholarship will support 1st and 2nd Class cadets who are members of the Regimental Band. “In just a few months, more than 155 donors gave outright gifts and commitments totaling $135,000,” said Meade B. King ’85, VMI Foundation chief operating officer and VMI Alumni Agencies director of advancement. “This amount included a challenge gift, which was met within less than two weeks of its mention. Sarah Brodie envisioned surprising John with the gift of a legacy scholarship. What she gave him, and all who joined the fun, was one more unforgettable memory from a VMI great.”

Ed Johnson ’79, VMI Alumni Association chief operating officer, noted that the impressive turnout for the Band Reunion highlights music’s importance to life on post. “The band was an all-volunteer group starting in 1947, meaning they agreed to serve as musical ambassadors for the Institute during their time in barracks,” he stated. “To see alumni representing classes as far back as 1957 to the present was an amazing sight to see.”

First and Second Spring Reunions

The Class of 1974 presented its 50th Reunion gift of $8,891,974 to the Institute during the reunion parade April 27, 2024. “With the goal of enjoying the company of as many brother rats as possible and building the best possible gift, the Class of 1974 50th Reunion Committee should feel buoyed by their success,” said Meade B. King ’85, VMI Foundation chief operating officer and Alumni Agencies director of advancement. “From those of us on staff privileged to work with them, we offer our unanimous and heartfelt congratulations and thanks.”

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  • Mattie Montgomery

    Mattie Montgomery Assistant Editor

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