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Virginia Military Institute was established in 1839 as America’s first state-supported military college. In 1841, the Board of Visitors adopted the uniform of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with Institute buttons, as the VMI personnel uniform.

After John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry, it was apparent that an improved militia system was essential for the State ofVirginia.The chairman of the Military Affairs Committee of theVirginia House of Delegates, Major General James L. Kemper, devoted intense study to legislation. Under the militia bill (the Virginia Code of 1860) officers of VMI were recognized as part of the military establishment of the State, and the Governor had authority to issue commissions to them in accordance with Institute regulations.

Although current law makes officers of the Virginia Militia subject to orders of the Governor, there is no instance in recent history where military service, except as related to the administration of the Corps of Cadets, was required of a VMI faculty/ staff officer of the Virginia Militia.

The Virginia Militia, as it applies to the personnel of VMI, contributes to the Institute’s military character by authorizing the wearing of uniforms while on duty. The Militia has no federal status, but is remotely related to the Virginia National Guard.

InsTITUTe PolICY on CoMMIssIons

Appointments of persons to positions on the Faculty are made by the Board of Visitors upon recommendation of the Superintendent. The Superintendent determines whether they are to be commissioned officers in the Virginia Militia (Unorganized).

It is customary for teaching faculty and staff to accept Virginia Militia commissions and wear the uniform on all appropriate occasions. Requests for exceptions to this policy will be directed to the Superintendent.

Commissions for appointees selected at the discretion of the Superintendent will become effective on the date of employment or at any future date specified by the Superintendent.

In unusual circumstances, an officer commissioned in theVirginia Militia may be permitted to resign the commission for reasons satisfactory to the Superintendent and duly approved by the Board of Visitors.

PURCHase of UnIfoRMs

Officers of the faculty and staff will receive an initial uniform issue from VMI’s Military Store (464-7303) as part of their initial employment


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