Case Study – Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, VA

Just before the Civil War’s battle of Chancellorsville, General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, who perished that day, surveyed the field and saw many men from Virginia Military Institute around him. It was at that time that he spoke the oft-quoted words:” The Institute will be heard from today.” It’s still being heard from today. Approximately 1,300 Cadets currently attend VMI which was founded in 1839 and stakes the claim as being the nation’s first state military college. Window replication at VMI began in 2005. To date, five buildings have been completed. Completed buildings thus far include:

1) Nichols Engineering Hall. Built in 1931, this building’s namesake is Lt. Gen. Edward West Nichols, longtime professor of mathematics and the Institute’s third superintendent. Nichols Engineering Hall house VMI’s Civil and Environmental, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering Departments as well as the Dept. of Information System Technology and the Geology classroom.

2) Jackson Memorial Hall. This architecturally imposing structure is named in memory of the fore-mentioned Gen. Jackson, a member of the VMI faculty for ten years before the Civil War. Jackson Hall was erected in 1915 with funds paid by the federal government in restitution for damages inflicted on the Institute during the Civil War. Inside Jackson Hall, the sights are grand. As you enter, you’re immediately drawn to an immense oil painting, which is the work of an 1880 VMI grad and depicts the Corps of Cadets’ charge at New Market. VA during the Civil War. Elsewhere on the walls are portraits of distinguished men who have been associated with VMI. Around the balcony hang 26 flags, which represent the states in the union at the time VMI was founded. The assembly hall, which has a seating capacity of about 1,150, has two additional floors below. The first of which houses the VMI museum.

3)Mallory Hall. VMI’s Department of Physics and Astronomy as well as the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science occupy this building named for Brigadier General Francis Mallory, who taught physics and electrical engineering at the Institute for many years. Completed in September 1952, the building has a large amount of classrooms, offices and laboratories, plus two large lecture-demonstration room.

4) Cocke Hall. More commonly known on campus as “The Thunderdome”, it has been the home of VMI’s wrestling program since it was constructed in 1926. The building received its nickname from an assistant coach during a public address announcement in 1992.

5) Kilbourne Hall. Many know this as the Department of Building & Grounds, but originally it was the Institute’s stables. In 1968, it was re-named Kilbourne hall after Lt. Gen. Charles Kilbourne, a 1894 VMI Graduate, WWI veteran and 38-year member of the Army. he later taught at VMI and eventually served as VMI’s superintendent from 1937-1946. Kilbourne Hall today houses classrooms and offices for ROTC departments.

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Nichols Engineering Hall

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Jackson Memorial Hall

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Mallory Hall