‘We are all trailblazers’: VMI celebrates 25th anniversary of women

Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 12:27 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia Military Institute (VMI) is celebrating a historical moment-- the 25th anniversary of the day women were first admitted.

WDBJ7 was at VMI as the first group of women enrolled in 1997. Since then, many women have attended --some rising to top leadership roles at the institute and beyond -- including VMI alumnae Lara Tyler Chambers.

Chambers matriculated in 1999 and graduated in 2003-- the third class of women to attend VMI.

During her cadetship Chambers, joins the list of ‘firsts’ at VMI.

She is back at VMI for one weekend to speak and celebrate their history—and her family’s legacy.

During her cadetship Chambers, joined the list of ‘firsts’ at VMI.

She served as the Institute’s first S7 responsible for cadet life and corps morale.

During her time at the school, she did a lot for the community and also saw the last class of all males graduate.

She says it meant a lot to see that piece of history because the school has always had a special place in her family.

Chambers is a third-generation graduate of VMI.

“My grandfather and great uncle were graduates, my father and uncle were graduates, and my little brother had the provisional appointment hanging over his crib. So, you know, I grew up with VMI and I loved VMI since I was a little girl and then but never expected that I would go there at all -- until my junior year ---not really was the between my junior and senior year in high school,” said Lara Tyler Chambers.

After graduating with a degree in civil engineering, Chambers became an entrepreneur. She started an engineering and real estate development group.

Now, she lives in Richmond with her family, still making history continuing her term as the first female alumnus appointed to the VMI Board of Visitors.

She encourages women who would like to go to VMI to go for it, and those who went to VMI to come back and celebrate the legacy they helped transform.

VMI will hold a weekend full of events to celebrate the 25th anniversary of women being admitted. You can read more by visiting VMI’s website.