VMI names interim superintendent amid fallout over allegations of racism

The Virginia Military Institute announced Friday that retired Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins will serve as interim superintendent after the previous superintendent resigned amid allegations of pervasive racism at VMI.

Retired Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III resigned Oct. 26 after The Washington Post uncovered multiple allegations of racist incidents, including lynching threats and a professor reminiscing during class about her father’s membership in the Ku Klux Klan.

Peay had served as superintendent of VMI, the nation’s oldest state-supported military college, for over 17 years.

Wins is a 34-year veteran of the U.S. Army, and a 1985 graduate of the institute. He will be the first Black leader to serve in this role, The Associated Press reported.

Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins will serve as interim superintendent of VMI. (Photo: U.S. Army)

“The VMI Board of Visitors is pleased that Maj. Gen. Wins has agreed to lead the institute during this critical time of transition,” John William Boland, president of the VMI Board of Visitors, said in a news release.

“Gen. Peay’s 17 years of service to the institute were transformative, and I am confident that Maj. Gen. Wins’ experience and values will provide steady and principled leadership as we continue to move the institute forward,” Boland said.

During his time at VMI, Wins was a standout basketball player who finished as one of the top five scorers in school history.

“Now, more than ever, the lessons and values of VMI are needed in the world, and I am humbled to be a part of making that happen,” Wins said in the release.

“I most look forward to leading the cadets and ensuring we have a safe and successful conclusion to the academic year, hit the ground running during the spring sports season, and continue fulfilling our vital mission of producing educated and honorable men and women,” he added.

VMI was the last public college in Virginia to integrate. According to The Washington Post, about 8% of VMI’s 1,700 students are Black, and many of them are athletes.

Virginia lawmakers recently approved $1 million to investigate the allegations of racism at VMI, which received $19 million in state funds in fiscal 2020.

The school is expected to have a new, permanent superintendent during the summer of 2021.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Anna Gawel

Anna Gawel joined WTOP in 2020 and works in both the radio and digital departments. Anna Gawel has spent much of her career as the managing editor of The Washington Diplomat, which has been the flagship publication of D.C.’s diplomatic community for over 25 years.

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