Students & Faculty Attend VMI Leadership Conference

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Celeste Brooks P'12, '21, Director of Public Relations

A group of R-MA students and faculty members attended the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) 2017 Leadership and Ethics Conference on October 30th and 31st. This year’s topic was Speaking Truth to Power: Candid Courageous Civil Discourse.

R-MA attendees included faculty members Dr. Larry Cousineau, James Taafel ‘05, LtCol Mike Starling ’88, and Mariola Cuffe. The R-MA students who attended were Hamid Elias ‘19, Ian Whalen ‘18, Fatoumata Diallo ‘19, Nathan Stewart ‘19, Brittany Rojas ’19, Grayson Galeone ’18, Yusra Hassen ’19, and Evan Toloczko ’19. The group heard from various personnel, from military leaders such as LtGen Gregory Newbold, USMC (Ret), who had served as the Military Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy and the Director of Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to college professors such as Dr. Eliot Cohen, the Robert E. Osgood Professor of Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). These prominent speakers led discussion topics covering civil-military relations, media, and higher education. The keynote speaker was Andrew Napolitano, the youngest life-tenured Superior Court judge in the history of New Jersey and a judicial and legal analyst on Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, as well as several prominent college professors. 

Starling, who is R-MA’s Chairman for Leadership and Character, arranged the trip. He stated, “All the cadets articulated logical opinions and arguments, ‘hanging with’ VMI, Norwich and VT [Virginia Tech] cadets.” He recognized Elias for confidently approaching the panel of Aly Colon (the Knight Professor of Media Ethics in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications at Washington and Lee University), Matt Gertz (senior fellow at the progressive media watchdog Media Matters for America) and Seth Mandel (the op-ed editor of the New York Post ) to ask about plagiarism in journalism.

R-MA students attended the 2017 Leadership Conference held at Virginia Military Institute. In addition to learning leadership skills, the group met up with a couple of R-MA graduates.

At the conference, the students and faculty members met up with John Camarella ’15, who is currently enrolled at VMI, and Naji Bseiso, R-MA Falcon Class of 2014, who is currently enrolled in the U.S. Air Force Academy.