On Nov. 11, 2019, the VMI Foundation hosted the 45th Institute Society Dinner in the Hall of Valor in Marshall Hall. This annual event recognizes the hundreds of alumni and friends whose generosity in making unrestricted gifts through the Foundation Fund marks them as leaders in support of the Institute and the Corps of Cadets. In Fiscal Year 2019, its 798 members gave almost $2 million to the Foundation Fund as well as millions of dollars in other gifts and commitments.
Stephen E. Hupp ’84, VMI Foundation president, thanked the Institute Society members for their giving, saying, “Your generosity has strengthened the Institute and made it better prepared to execute its 180-year-old mission: to provide our great state and great country with well-educated, purposeful and honorable citizen-soldier graduates.”
After dinner, the VMI Foundation honored Warren J. “Buddy” Bryan ’71 for his more than 43 years of service to the VMI Foundation – including serving as chief operating officer from 2017-19. As part of this recognition, Hupp announced the establishment of the Buddy and Carol Bryan ’71 Unrestricted Endowment in honor of Buddy and his wife, Carol. Doing so at this event was especially meaningful as, for decades, Bryan was responsible for the Institute Society.
In his remarks, Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62, superintendent, thanked the guests for their philanthropy, citing “the incredible impact” they have every day at VMI. “Cadets’ lives continue to be transformed by the VMI experience,” he continued. “Your support has provided many of these special opportunities that have placed our graduates on a strong, forward trajectory.”
After Peay spoke, the guests were inspired by three young alumni: Bess Dobbins Moskowitz ’10, Sean Noll ’13 and Derrick Ziglar ’15. Each of them was preceded by a video of an interview of them when they were cadets. Afterward, they spoke about their experiences as graduates, the lesson learned as cadets that they took with them and their appreciation for the private support they received as cadets. One of the guest speakers, Ziglar, spoke of the generational outcomes of private support. His VMI experience also changed the lives of his brother and mother thanks to his capacity to support them in their endeavors since graduation.
The evening closed with a performance by the VMI Glee Club which ended with “The VMI Spirit” and “The VMI Doxology.”