The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets is a tradition that is as old as the university itself. With each passing year, the corps’s varied achievements become more noteworthy.
For the seventh consecutive year, a cadet has been recognized as the Undergraduate Student Leader of the Year. John Steger of Springfield, Va., a recent graduate who received his bachelor’s degree in history from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences was the honored recipient. While Steger may personify the university’s motto Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), he isn’t alone. The entire corps works to uphold that philosophy.
In 2009, the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets won the Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Award in the government/education category. For the 2009-2010 academic year, the corps gave more than 9,700 hours of its time serving others in the community.
On the academic side, the corps of cadets achieved new heights in 2010. The overall grade point average for the corps was a 3.03 in the spring 2010 semester. There were 395 cadets who made the Commandants List, which means they earned a 3.0 GPA or higher. Ten corps members earned a 4.0 GPA, the highest average at Virginia Tech.
“This achievement reflects the hard work of all of our cadets and the exemplary efforts of our cadet leaders who focused on academic success and made it the highest priority for the entire corps,” said corps Commandant Jerry Allen, a retired major general from the U.S. Air Force.
Blood drives sponsored by the corps represent one of the most notable service projects for the entire regiment. In 2010, the corps sponsored 10 blood drives that yielded 516 units of blood, surpassing its goal of 500 units. The 2010 amount surpassed the 200 units the corps collected in 2009. The 10 blood drives yielded more than 17 percent of the on-campus donations from students, yet cadets comprise just 3 percent of the undergraduate student population at Virginia Tech.
In addition to projects for the entire corps, service projects among individual companies include supporting the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, participating as a “Volunteer to Cheer” group for Special Olympics, supporting the YMCA Community Gardens by installing heavy duty deer fencing and mulching, participating in the Stroubles Creek cleanup and restoration, coordinating the campus-wide White Ribbon Campaign as a part of Women’s Month, cleaning up the Virginia Tech Police Firing Range, participating in Renew the New to help clean the New River, and cleaning, painting, and mulching at four park sites for the Town of Blacksburg.
Besides its on-campus display of service, the corps also has a long-standing relationship of support of the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. For the last several years, during the corps’s homecoming football game, cadets collect donations intended for the memorial. To date, the corps has collected and donated more than $178,000. The corps is the largest non-corporate sponsor of the memorial. For 2010, donations will be collected Sept. 11 in Lane Stadium when Virginia Tech plays James Madison.
Each fall semester, thanks to the generous support of corps alumnus, Raymond Reed, a 1957 graduate, and his wife Peggy, first-year cadets have an opportunity to visit the D-Day Memorial for a tour, and to learn about the special relationship the corps has with the memorial. During the motivational venture, new cadets also learn about the 20 Virginia Tech alumni who lost their lives on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
Just like their predecessors, cadets continue to achieve the corps’ mission, which is to develop leaders who have the highest standards of integrity, and a lifelong commitment to the university’s motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).
Members of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets learn to become leaders by first obeying, then leading their fellow cadets.
Ashley Tomisek (left) and Kelsie A. Ostergaard, a member of the corps of cadets, were named as the 2009 recipients of the Women in Leadership Award by the Women in Leadership and Philanthropy (WLP) Council.
Look through previous Spotlight stories