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Enjoy Winter Furlough!

by Elizabeth (Liz.) Kocevar-Weidinger on 2021-12-20T16:30:38-05:00 | 0 Comments

Following the demands of the fall semester and a week of exams, Winter Furlough allows cadets to get away from Post, take a break from their busy schedules, and enjoy the holidays with family and friends. Today’s cadets may be especially appreciative of the Winter Furlough after learning that it did not exist for the first 80 years of VMI’s history.

Cadets and the administration undertook numerous attempts to establish a Winter Furlough (previously called Christmas Furlough) over the years. In 1902 cadets tried to organize to take an “unofficial furlough,” but the administration intervened to discourage the planned mass insubordination. At a January 1912 meeting, the academic board debated the topic of a Christmas Furlough, and it remained a frequent topic of discussion for several years.

In 1920 Superintendent Edward W. Nichols sought the advice of General John J. Pershing on the subject of the Christmas Furlough. General Pershing responded that he favored the idea, but that only cadets with satisfactory academic (a grade of 7.5 out of 10 or higher in each class) and conduct (less than 35 demerits) records should be allowed to take leave.

An article in the December 18, 1920, issue of The Cadet newspaper explained the rationale behind the limited furlough by noting, “This is the first time the Institute has ever granted a Christmas leave and it was granted on the merit system in an effort to raise the standard of efficiency both in academic work and conduct.” The first year of the Christmas Furlough, 374 cadets enjoyed a 7-day furlough, while 192 cadets stayed at VMI.

Each year that followed the number of cadets who qualified for the furlough increased, until 1925 when the entire Corps of Cadets became eligible for the Christmas Furlough. An article in the December 21, 1925, issue of The Cadet, described this event as “an epoch in the history of V.M.I.” The duration of the Christmas Furlough gradually increased from 7 days, to 10 days, to 12 days. This year cadets will enjoy a 22-day break.

The Preston Library Staff wishes all cadets, faculty, and staff an enjoyable and relaxing Winter Furlough.


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