On a clear and pleasant afternoon, Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins ’85 was inaugurated, as is customary, as Virginia Military Institute’s 15th superintendent Friday, Sept. 10, and honored with a parade by the Corps of Cadets and a reception in Marshall Hall.
Wins came to VMI in November 2020 as interim superintendent following a 34-year career in the U.S. Army. In April 2021, he was named superintendent by a unanimous vote of the VMI Board of Visitors. Earlier this year, Wins released his “One Corps-One VMI: A Unifying Action Plan,” which focuses on five goals: Honor, diversity and inclusion, the VMI brand, competing and winning, and one VMI.
Friday’s parade and brief ceremony were marked by a mix of military traditions and those unique to VMI. Prior to the parade, faculty members donned their academic regalia and processed from Moody Hall to the Parade Ground, where they were seated.
Wins was honored with ruffles and flourishes and a 13-gun salute from VMI’s howitzers before trooping the line to inspect the Corps of Cadets with Thomas “Tom” Watjen ’76, president of the VMI Board of Visitors, and Cadet 1st Capt. Kasey Meredith ’22.
After the colors were brought forward and the national anthem was played, Sgt. Maj. William T. “Tom” Sowers passed the VMI regimental flag, a symbol of the Institute, to Watjen, who then passed it to Wins. Later, Wins received the key to the main door of the 1816 arsenal which preceded VMI, becoming the fourth VMI superintendent to take part in this unique tradition.
“VMI is strong and will remain forward focused,” said Wins in brief remarks at the parade. “Since our founding, we have weathered many storms, and they have helped us to improve. Our foundation is solid and not easily shaken … VMI remains what it always has been: a disciplined community for learning and leadership development dedicated to the highest standards of integrity and personal honor.”
Special guests at Friday’s ceremony included Lt. Gen. John W. Knapp ’54, the Institute’s 12th superintendent; Fran Bradford, Virginia deputy secretary of education; Dr. Janice Underwood, Virginia chief diversity officer; and state Sen. Thomas “Tommy” Norment ’68.
Other guests included Wins’ family, friends, and brother rats; current and former members of the VMI Board of Visitors; leadership from colleges and universities from across the commonwealth, as well as from the other senior military colleges; and representatives of local and state government.
Photos by Kelly Nye and H. Lockwood McLaughlin, VMI Communications & Marketing
Mary Price VMI Communications & Marketing