Andrew Upshaw ’06 is an active-duty U.S. Army officer who moves frequently. Through all the changes his career brings, he keeps reminders of VMI close: His VMI diploma always hangs behind his desk, and his VMI ring is always on his finger.
Though not as visible, the tenets he learned at VMI are also with him wherever he goes. “People don’t steal at VMI. People don’t cheat at VMI. Those standards helped me as a young leader,” he said. “I did the best I could to live by that and to set the example for young soldiers and officers to follow.”
Upshaw decided to attend VMI partially because of tradition—many family members, including his grandfather, are alumni—and partially because he wanted to follow a different path. He didn’t sleep the night before matriculation, and once he received his rat haircut, he was committed. He couldn’t go back home “looking like that,” he remembered.
From Matriculation Day through his graduation, Upshaw was—putting it mildly—a busy young man. “I’ve never had to balance so many things … like I had to do here.” The Institute, he says, “prepared me very well for military service.”
The “transformational experience” Upshaw had at VMI led to his current personal and professional success.
“As soon as I graduated and started getting a paycheck, I started donating to the VMI Foundation,” he said. “Giving back a little money here and there to help the Institute was an easy thing to do, and it’s something I take pride in doing.”
Christian Heilman Digital Content Manager
The digital content manager is responsible for creating original video and multimedia materials, as well as developing and editing web and digital content. The manager is responsible for platform coordination and troubleshooting, to include the VMI Alumni Agencies’ primary websites, digital newsletter and other digital platforms.
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.