Types of Transportation Available to Campus
Closest airport - Roanoke VA (ROA) Walking distance to downtown Lexington
Driving Instructions to Campus
VMI is located in historic Lexington, Virginia which is situated at the southern end of the Shenandoah Valley. Interstate 81 passes within just a few miles of Lexington. When you travel north on I-81, exit at 188-B. Take exit 188-B (60 West) and proceed to Lexington (a couple of miles). Turn right on Main St (which is one way north at this point). Immediately move into the left lane. After 2 blocks you will be forced to turn left onto Jefferson St (one way south). Immediately move into the right lane and then turn right onto Letcher Avenue. Proceed on Letcher until you enter VMI. When you travel south on I-81, exit at 195. Take exit 195 and turn right at the end of the exit ramp (11 South). Proceed south on 11 to Lexington (about 5 miles). Follow the signs to downtown Lexington (11 business . . . Main Street). Main Street will split and become Jefferson Street (one way south). Immediately turn right onto Letcher Avenue. Proceed on Letcher until you enter VMI.
VMI, The Nation's Oldest Public Military College, Educates Leaders for Both Military and Civilian Careers
Virginia Military Institute (VMI), established in 1839, is the nation's oldest state-supported military college, and the fourth-oldest technological institution in the United States. The school is committed to educating men and women in a tradition of military discipline and excellence. All students participate in an ROTC program of their choice. Military service to the country is encouraged, but commissioning is not required. Approximately half of VMI graduates choose a civilian career after graduation, and all graduates serve their community and country as leaders in the way that is most acceptable to their individual personalities and goals.
At VMI, Every Cadet is an Athlete and Every Athlete is a Cadet with a Wide Range of Athletic Opportunities
Athletics and competition are integral aspects of the Virginia Military Institute experience. As a part of VMI's commitment to helping students develop leadership skills, all students are expected to participate in sports at some level. The athletics options available to students are many. Students can choose to participate in athletics at the club or intramural levels, and they also have the option of joining one of VMI's competitive NCAA Division I intercollegiate sports teams. VMI game days provide cadets and their parents with an opportunity to gather, beginning with parades by the Corps of Cadets and followed by a tradition of tailgating and getting to know one another. Pride and companionship, as well as leadership, are fostered by the athletic tradition at VMI.
Barracks Life Is Not Dorm Life; Students in the Barracks Form Bonds as They Learn Respect and Discipline
Life in the barracks at Virginia Military Institute is one of the hallmarks of a VMI education. Vastly different from any dorm or fraternity or sorority house at traditional institutions of higher education, the barracks are known for their modest and Spartan nature. Students are provided with the bare essentials as they live with multiple roommates and only a small amount of storage space. They are expected to maintain a commitment to cleanliness and order in their living spaces. Barracks life ensures that cadets get to know one another intimately and develop respectful relationships as equals. Living with individuals from diverse backgrounds and being free from ordinary distractions are two of the benefits of the barracks style. Students are focused and motivated, and they develop lifelong bonds with one another.
Virginia Military Institute Strives for Academic Excellence in Every Field of Study
Another distinctive feature of VMI is its commitment to academic excellence. Military-oriented colleges and universities are often subject to the stereotype that science and engineering fields receive precedence at the expense of the liberal arts. In direct contradiction of this stereotype, Virginia Military Institute has consistently been ranked among the top public colleges in the nation for liberal arts by "US News & World Report." The school is committed to ensuring that cadets receive top-quality educations, no matter what their chosen field of study, because being prepared for success and leadership is equally important in every area of professional life.
Social Activities at VMI Are Part of What Makes Cadet Life a Unique, Memorable Experience
Outside the classroom, Virginia Military Institute provides numerous social events to cadets throughout the year. Like most other aspects of education at VMI, cadet life is unconventional and unique. The most distinctive of the social events at VMI is the second class Ring Figure Ball, which cadets attend in uniform, with their dates dressed in white. The ball celebrates the earning of "The Ring," a longstanding tradition. In addition, movie nights, informal dances, live music, and other activities help to keep morale high throughout each academic year.
The First-Year Experience at Virginia Military Institute is Atypical, Highly Challenging, and Highly Rewarding
At VMI, every first-year cadet is referred to as a Rat. As such, he or she undergoes a unique first-year process known as the Rat Line. The Rat Line involves strict procedures. For example, when in barracks, a rat walks at attention along a prescribed route through the barracks. The Rat Line also requires meticulousness in grooming, personal habits, and memorization of school songs and yells. The Rat system is an initiation process designed to teach students excellence, military bearing and discipline, self-control and humility, respect for authority, habits of neatness, and the history and traditions of Virginia Military Institute.