Featured Article

Mary Grace Lemon ’14: Why I VMI

Mary Grace Lemon ’14


Mary Grace Lemon ’14 remembers her first day as a rat. At the obstacle course, she couldn’t make it to the top of the rope.

“I couldn’t climb to the top. I couldn’t yell, ‘Hard Chargin’ Hotel.’ It really messed with me,” said the track and field thrower. She remembered thinking, “I’m an athletic person; I should be able to do this.”

The Rat Crucible came a few short (or long, for those in the Rat Line) days later. After completing several other physical challenges, Lemon found herself again facing the rope. This time, she made it to the top and yelled, “Hard Chargin’ Hotel!”

Lemon saw this improvement just nine days into her cadetship. After seeing what VMI could do in less than two weeks, she started thinking about her future and how much she could grow in five or 10 years. Every time she had doubts about continuing, she would remember, “I climbed the rope. I hit the top.”

An athletic scholarship helped Lemon pay for VMI. Without that, she said, she might not have been able to attend the Institute.

“I give back to VMI because VMI has given so much to me,” she said about why she donates to the Institute. “I can take a little bit of a cut to help someone else get through VMI.”

  • Victoria Ferris

    Victoria Ferris Social Media and Communications Strategist

    The social media and communications strategist is responsible for creating compelling, audience-appropriate, multi-channel content for social media, and for monitoring the VMI Alumni Agencies' social media accounts. The strategist supports all communications efforts, including email marketing deployment and training, website updating, and video editing.

    Molly Rolon

    Molly Rolon Editorial Specialist