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- On March 29, 1839 the General Assembly passed the final version of the act establishing a military school at the Lexington arsenal, where the students would protect the arms while pursuing educational courses. The School was named the Virginia Military Institute and is the nation's oldest state supported military college. The governor appointed nine members to the Board of Visitors to oversee the new school and they elected Claudius Crozet as president of the board and named Francis H. Smith as the first superintendent. On November 11, 1839 the first corps of cadets reported to VMI and officially replaced the arsenal guard. Cadets to this day perform guard duty and serve the state as a military corps.
- VMI is a state-supported, totally undergraduate college organized under the laws of the commonwealth of Virginia and is governed by a Board of Visitors appointed by the governor. The challenging military portion of the VMI program is a distinctive aspect of the VMI college experience, and reflects the Institute's debt to the United States Military Academy and the Ecole Polytechique in France. All students at VMI are members of the Corps of Cadets and all participate in officer training programs associated with Army, Naval or Air Force ROTC. In accordance with the Code of Virginia, the cadets constitute a military corps. Historically, about twenty percent of VMI's graduates have chosen military careers. Members of the faculty and staff are commissioned in the Virginia Militia by the governor, who serves as ex-officio commander-in-chief. While the military program is an important aspect of the educational experience, the VMI program is specifically designed to produce leaders for peace or war.
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