Mike Starling is a member of Randolph-Macon Academy’s class of 1988 and has returned to “The Hill” to join the Academy staff as the Chair of Leadership and Character Development. In March of 2019, he was promoted to his current position of Commandant of Cadets.
After R-MA, Starling graduated from the Virginia Military Institute and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. His service took him around the globe as he trained many men and women for a variety of missions as well as in character and leadership development.
Over his 20-year career, he was trained in infantry, intelligence and light armored reconnaissance and served as a leader, commander, operations or executive officer in numerous battalions. Much of this time was spent training Marines and units for deployments and as part of an alert force. Starling also had tours in recruit training, intelligence operations, and with the Marine Corps’ honor guard in Washington, DC. Later in his career, he was part of a small training cadre which provided training for the Marine Corps’ contingency response forces, embarked on amphibious assault ships, prepared to perform missions “from the sea.” For his last assignment, he served on the headquarters of one of these response forces for his final deployment which performed missions in Pakistan and the Middle East, as well as Egypt, Libya, and other locations in Africa.
He enjoyed opportunity to train and operate alongside sister US services – Army, Air Force and Navy, as well as with forces from allied nations - Singapore, Japan, Korea, Spain, France, United Kingdom, and Turkey among others to improve international security cooperation. After his transition from active military service he was involved in defense contracting as well as serving as an operations manager for a service disabled, veteran owned small business.
Like many of our leaders from the armed forces, Starling has become well versed on the subject of character and leadership development through his assignments in training, leading and developing personnel over the years. When the need arose, he returned to assist his alma mater’s effort to make character and leadership development more intentional and pervasive throughout campus life. He will continue to champion leadership and character in his role as Commandant.
- M.A., Marine Corps University
- M.A., Webster University
- B.A., Virginia Military Institute