Virginia Military Institute honored Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, with the school's Distinguished Diplomat Award.
VMI's Superintendent said it was a sign of respect and deep appreciation for Clinton's years of service to the nation.
Clinton received a warm welcome at the event in Lexington, even though, as one cadet told us, many in the audience didn't vote for her boss.
Clinton honored VMI in her remarks as she made a strong case for the use of diplomacy and international development alongside the nation's military defense.
"I heard about VMI from a very early age," the former First Lady said.
Long before she ever entered public life, Hillary Clinton heard many stories about VMI from a proud graduate who lived next door.
"And to me that was understandable, VMI has created some of the nation's most distinguished leaders," Clinton said.
Addressing the Corps of Cadets, and others hoping for a closer look, Clinton spoke at length about General George C. Marshall, the VMI graduate and architect of the Marshall Plan that helped rebuild Europe after World War II.
"George Marshall believed that to guarantee our own security, we had to draw on all the tools of our power, and that has never been truer than today," Clinton said.
"I actually really enjoyed it," said Samantha Alpert, VMI Class of 2014. "I thought it was very inspiring, the way that she compared General Marshall and really connected to us and our history."
Matthew Dale, VMI Class of 2012 said "She very articulately outlined her vision and the president's vision of what they're trying to do and why they're trying to do it."
Clinton warned against what she described as a dangerous impulse to withdraw from our responsibilities around the world.
Clinton spent about two hours in Lexington.
She met with Superintendent Binford Peay, and visited the Marshall Museum, before leaving for another event in Norfolk.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepted the Distinguished Diplomat Award from Virginia Military Institute on Tuesday.
Clinton also spoke to cadets at VMI for about a half-hour.
In the speech, she talked about former U.S. Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense George Marshall. Marshall graduated from VMI.
"VMI has trained some of our country's most distinguished leaders," Clinton said.
Clinton also spoke about U.S. relations with Iran and the importance of diplomacy.
"We can not solve all the problems in the world, but there is no big problem that can be solved without us," Clinton said.
Clinton just returned from a trip in Syria. She is also scheduled to visit NATO's Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, and deliver remarks at the World Affairs Council at the Sheraton Waterside Hotel in Norfolk on Tuesday.
WDBJ7's Joe Dashiell attended the speech. He will have more tonight on WDBJ7
WDBJ7.com is live streaming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's appearance at Virginia Military Institute. The event is scheduled to start shortly after noon. Clinton is expected to take the podium around 12:15 p.m.
To watch live, click in the box above.
Clinton will be honored by Virginia Military Institute with the Distinguished Diplomat Award.
Clinton will accept the honor on Tuesday and address students and faculty during an address on the Lexington campus.
VMI's superintendent, Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III, calls the award "highly appropriate" based on Clinton's long and varied career on the national and international scene.
Clinton was sworn in as the 67th secretary of state in January 2009.