Education 2023: MAJ. GEN. CEDRIC T. WINS (U.S. ARMY, RET.)
SUPERINTENDENT, VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE, LEXINGTON
A 34-year U.S. Army veteran and 1985 VMI alumnus, Wins became the first Black superintendent to lead “the West Point of the South,” the nation’s oldest state military college, following the resignation of his predecessor in 2020.
Wins joined at a time when VMI, known for its demanding “Rat Line” boot camp, was the subject of a state-ordered investigation that found instances of racism against Black cadets, as well as reports of sexual assaults and harassment of women cadets. Amid demands for reform from VMI alum Gov. Ralph Northam and Democratic state lawmakers, Wins hired VMI’s first chief diversity officer and oversaw the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson.
The changes resulted in vitriolic criticism of Wins by alums who decried his tenure as a “woke assault” on VMI’s culture and traditions. Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who ran on a platform that included opposition to critical race theory, appointed conservative members to VMI’s board of visitors. Amid the backlash, VMI’s chief diversity officer, Jamica Love, resigned in June, two months after the state’s new chief diversity officer, Martin D. Brown, told an audience of VMI faculty and staff that “DEI is dead.”