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Virginia Military Institute

School Overview

    • Founded:
    • 1839
    • Size:
    • Small (<5000 students)
    • Type:
    • Public
    • Category:
    • Universities, colleges
      Military, federal
    • Specialization:
    • Military 1
    • Climate:
    • Temperate
    • Location:
    • 319 Letcher Avenue, Lexington, Virginia, United States, 24450
    • Phone:
    • +15404647211
    • Email Address:
    • N/A
    • Setting:
    • Small City

The History of Virginia Military Institute

The Virginia Military Institute (VMI) is a state-supported military college in Lexington, Virginia, the oldest such institution in the United States. Unlike any other senior military college in the United States, and in keeping with its founding principles, VMI enrolls cadets only and awards baccalaureate degrees exclusively. VMI offers its students, all of whom are cadets, strict military discipline combined with a spartan, physically and academically demanding environment. The Institute grants degrees in 14 disciplines in engineering, the sciences, and the liberal arts.

While (VMI) has been called "The West Point of The South", it differs from the federal military service academies in several respects. For example, VMI numbers only 1700 cadets and the living conditions are more austere. Also, while all cadets must participate in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) of the United States Armed Forces, VMI cadets are afforded the flexibility of pursuing civilian endeavors or accepting an officer's commission in any of the active or reserve components of any of the U.S. military branches upon graduation.

Academic Highlights

(VMI) offers 14 major and 23 minor areas of study, grouped into engineering, liberal arts, humanities, and the sciences. The engineering department has concentrations in three areas: civil and environmental engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical engineering. Most classes are taught by full-time professors, 99 percent of whom hold terminal degrees.

Life in Virginia Military Institute

(VMI) fields 14 teams on the NCAA Division I Level (FCS, formerly I-AA, for football). Varsity sports include baseball, basketball, men's and women's cross country, football, lacrosse,  men's and women's riffle, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's swimming & diving men's and women's track and field and wrestling. 

School Ranking

Forbes 2012 Special Report on America's Best Colleges ranked VMI in the top 25 public universities in the nation, well ahead of any other senior military college in the country. VMI was ranked 14th in the "Top 25 Publics" section, just behind the United States Military Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, and the United States Naval Academy, but ahead of the United State Coast Guard Academy and U.S Merchant Marine Academy.


It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,685, its setting is city, and the campus size is 200 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar.

Notable Alumni

  • Lewis Burwell ''Chesty'' Puller
  • Edward M. Almond
  • Mel Brooks
  • James E. Brown III
  • William A. Brown 
  • Josiah Bunting III

Acceptance Rate

Virginia Military Institute acceptance rate 53.1%

Other Campuses
No other campus yet.



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People who this school

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