Corps Life Makes the VMI Education Unique
James Rogers ’67: ‘Every Alumnus Should Give Back’
James E. Rogers ’67 believes so strongly in Virginia Military Institute that he’s now helping to lead his second capital campaign for VMI.
From 1998 to 2004, Rogers helped to lead Reveille: A Call to Excel, which raised $207 million. Now, the longtime Richmond business and civic leader—who also has served as the VMI Foundation’s president and a vice president of the VMI Board of Visitors—is a vice chairman of An Uncommon Purpose: A Glorious Past, An Brilliant Future: The Campaign for VMI.
Giving back, he believes, is an obligation for alumni, all of whom were recipients of others’ generosity when they were cadets.
“When I think back over the years, private support has been one-third of the cost to attend VMI,” he said. “We have an obligation to pay back to VMI what was used to support our education. … Every alumnus should give back.”
For Rogers, supporting Corps life, which includes the ROTC units and club sports, as well as the regimental structure, is vital to maintaining the uniqueness of the VMI experience.
“Commonality of purpose is important to the Corps of Cadets,” Rogers noted
While at VMI, Rogers, a physics major, was a member of the track and field team, president of the Sigma Phi Sigma physics honor society, and a member of the Honor Court. He credits the VMI experience for his later success in the business world, at first in the paper industry and then in the investment management field.
“Supporting the Corps life dimension of VMI is very important to me,” he commented. “Extracurricular activities are very important. They’re critical for making cadets successful and the VMI education unique.”