Governor Youngkin addresses history-making graduates at VMI

Published: May. 16, 2023 at 7:50 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ) - The Virginia Military Institute hosted its spring graduation Tuesday morning and graduates heard from Governor Glenn Youngkin, who was there as the commencement speaker. Some cadets were also making history as they graduated.

312 cadets walked across the stage ready to serve the nation. But the journey to get there wasn’t easy.

“I mean, it’s just amazing, ‘cause everyone here has worked so hard to make it,” said Sarah Robertson. “I mean you heard them talk about it. We started with 515 people who matriculated and now we’re down to almost 300 people”

Robertson is one of four cadets who will be joining the Coast Guard - a first in VMI history.

“The more I looked into the Coast Guard and learned about it, the more I knew it’s what I wanted to do with my life, because it’s service to the nation but more importantly it’s service to others,” explained Robertson.

More than half the graduating class will be joining the armed forces – something Governor Glenn Youngkin highlighted during his commencement speech.

“Collectively you will be part of the greatest armed forces the world has ever seen,” said Youngkin. “You will dominate land, air, sea and space and yes, you will remind all of us that freedom is not free.”

The governor visited VMI to meet the graduating class before his speech. He encouraged the cadets to remember who they are.

“A code that honors our great country, the commonwealth, the core family and friends. A code that demands that you take responsibility for how you present yourself what you say and how you behave,” added Youngkin.

Robertson is part of the first cadets to join the Coast Guard, but she hopes they won’t be the last.

“I’m looking forward to every single year more and more cadets commissioning Coast Guard,” said Robertson.

Other graduates will continue their education or join civilian life.