Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership

The nation’s only all-female cadet corps


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Get ready for a lifetime of taking charge. The nation’s only cadet corps just for women, VWIL is a leadership program that includes military preparation – not a military program with leadership training on the sidelines.

VWIL cadets having fun in the mountains of the Shenandoah Valley


Why it works



The leadership studies minor required for all cadets, combined with an academic major of your choice, prepares you to take the helm in the board room, the classroom, or the briefing room.

Physical Training

PT is a fundamental part of cadet life that not only improves your physical fitness, but also integrates discipline, tenacity, and wellness as a part of daily life.


Meet your new best friends: your sister nULLs. Behind the salute, there is genuine care and mutual respect. One of the most poignant events for first-years and upperclass cadets each year is “rites,” when nULLs become full members of the corps.

Future leaders, military or civilian, we see you here.

Whether you are interested in commissioning into the U.S. Armed Forces, guiding a classroom of students, running a business, or finding exciting work in another field, the VWIL approach will get you there. We help you develop your own leadership style. You take it from there.

Applying to VWIL

Admission to VWIL is competitive. In 2016, we received 950 applications for 55 cadet positions.Your academic record, physical fitness, and leadership performance will contribute to your selection into the program. Apply today.

Financial Aid

100 percent of VWIL students receive a scholarship or grant award. In addition, there are scholarships available for VWIL cadets who choose to participate in ROTC.


95 percent of recent VWIL grads had jobs within 4 months of graduating.

47% Government | 57% Military

47 percent of our alumi are working at the federal, state and local government (civilian and military). In the past 4 years, 57 percent of our VWIL graduates chose the military leader path. Education and Health Sciences are the next most chosen career paths.


95 percent of our alumni thought their VWIL education gave them an edge over those who did not have a military college background. VWIL helped them become independent, structured, and goal oriented.


VWIL alumni have advanced degrees, including 5 with PhDs, with another 29.9% currently enrolled in a formal educational program.


Professional Network is Key. When you graduate, you’ll join a network of over 400 VWIL Corps alumni who share your unique university experience and who can help you find your job.

Proven Alumni Results

Great organizations are ready to employ VWIL graduates because you have a strong work ethic, you’re able to plan and execute, you understand the value of teamwork, and you put service first. The VWIL Corps of Cadets has two paths based on your desired occupation: Citizen Leader or Military Leader.

Effective Military Career Path

Our job is to help each cadet achieve her hopes and dreams. For those interested in serving our military, we have a very successful commissioning record and high commissioning rate compared to other ROTC units. In the past 3 years, 23 VWIL graduates commissioned into all 4 military services. Our first graduates have reached the rank of O-5 (Air Force Lt. Col., Army LTC and Navy CDR). We partner with VMI for ROTC classes and together we commissioned officers in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines. Our ROTC units at VMI are the largest and best in the country, offering more scholarships and more commissions than most other college and university ROTC units.  Through MBU’s VWIL, you’ll have a General Officer supporting you as well as an ROTC staff of 15 active duty officers and enlisted members with a full colonel as their commander for all the Services. You’ll have the same visibility with the Navy ROTC unit whether you attend VWIL or VMI. You’ll have the same opportunity to compete for a Naval Officer commissioning whether you attend VWIL, VMI, or Virginia Tech. So it really comes to best fit!

VWIL Inspires Action

VWIL cadets have marched in Washington DC’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. They’ve gone to Richmond to meet with state representatives and state senators. Our cadets inspired The Hearst Foundation to invest $200,000 in VWIL for scholarships and operations. Our marching band is fantastic and only requires and hour of practice each week. We’ve performed in parades in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian Museum, and for several Virginia gubernatorial inaugurations. Mary Baldwin University has a very bright future as a small, personable university, with VWIL as one of its distinctive programs. This is why applications skyrocketed to 950 applications in to fill 55 cadet positions in 2016.

Cadet life is organized through two systems. For each position in the corps’ regimental system, there is an equal role in the class system. Chances are good that you will hold a leadership position in one or both arenas during your time as a cadet.

Regimental System (Military Leader Track) Class System (Civilian Leader Track)

• Provides military standards, drill and ceremony, accountability, time management

• Rank structure includes commanding officer, executive officer, staff, color guard, rifle platoons, drill team, honor guard, and band platoon (also open to non-VWIL students)

• Participation in ROTC training (all branches of service offered)

• Military leader track

• Governs class privileges and encourages the spirit of the corps

• Leadership structure includes a chair, vice chair, and secretary for each class, in addition to Class Congress and committee chairs

• Prepares cadets for public and private career paths

• Civilian leader track

As a nULL (first-year cadet) you will participate in three formations each week, march in parades each month, and attend leadership seminars oriented towards career interests and leadership development. Activities such as drill teammarching band, Honor Guard, and color guard are optional. Evening study hours are required.

In addition to your freshman academic schedule you will also take:
  • BOLD 101: Orientation to College and to the VWIL Program
  • ROTC: Army, Air Force, Navy/Marines
  • Physical Education: Leadership Challenge, Wilderness Adventure, Advanced Fitness


  1. The Wilderness Adventure:  Start your VWIL experience with a three-day adventure designed to introduce you to your freshman classmates, build your confidence and present the VWIL challenge. The August adventure includes ropes courses, team building initiatives, hiking, climbing, biking and much more.
  2. Cadre Week:  The first time you meet your upper class cadre you know the VWIL experience will be like nothing you have done before.  Study, drill, exercise and learn the meaning of class unity.
  3. Meet Your Calic.  Your VWIL big sister will guide you, counsel you, support you, motivate you and become a life-long mentor.  She is a VWIL upper class cadet and she has traveled the road you have just begun. You meet her after cadre week.
  4. The Induction Parade.  The freshman class joins the upper class on this day.  They sign the cadet oath and begin their nULL experience in full. Families and friends are there to celebrate the beginning of your development as a leader.
  5. Getting Your Green Pants.  The cadet uniform is worn only after you, as a freshman class, have earned the right to wear that uniform and wear it with pride and confidence.  You will gladly leave your first uniform in the closet when your calic delivers your green pants to you.
  6.  “Rites.”  The day you leave your nULLSHIP behind will be unforgettable.  It’s a long day filled with challenge, determination and celebration of your achievements. When?  Not until you are ready!
  7. Military Ball.  Scheduled to coincide with the date of the first VWIL parade, March 22, 1996, the ball is a formal event attended by cadets, alumnae, family and honored guests.
  8. Spirit Missions.  Hmmmmm.  Now some things are a secret.  We just cannot tell you all the ins and outs of spirit missions, but “nULLs unite!” Be creative and outwit the upper class.
  9.  “The Book.”  Know your VWIL history.  Know all cadet leaders by name.  Know your phonetic alphabet.  Know the VWIL traditions.  The Book provides the information and upper class women expect you to be in the know.
  10. Senior Celebration. On this evening before graduation you receive your VWIL certificate, pin and cords to recognize your completion of the program and your readiness to graduate from Mary Baldwin University.
  11. Change of Command.  The final and most significant parade of the year takes place the day before graduation.  The senior class passes their sabers to the rising seniors as they are relieved of duty and depart the field “hats in the air.”


Come Visit!

At VWIL, you have the opportunity to experience a Corps of Cadets, living learning community, cadet-led corps and a traditional college environment. As you make your visits to VMI and Virginia Tech, be sure to put MBU and VWIL on your list of campuses to visit. 

VWIL marching band brass

Have a Question?

Brig. Gen. Terry Djuric (USAF, Retired) is the Commandant of the Cadet Corps and Senior Advisor to the President. She works with cadets daily to help them stay focused on exceeding standards while developing positive and professional leadership skills. She continually adjusts the program so that every process is truly focused on developing purposeful leadership skills, inspiring cadets to achieve their highest potential as a college student, ROTC cadet or whatever direction their hopes and dreams take them.

Email Gen. Djuric at vwil@marybaldwin.edu

‘I’m inspired daily by our cadets who dedicate themselves to leadership development, fitness improvement, academic success, and community service. I’m confident I have the best job and the best Corps of Cadets. We’re small, but mighty.’


Meet the Commandant

Brig. Gen. Terry Djuric (USAF, Retired)

Brig. Gen. Terry Djuric (USAF, Retired)

Commandant of the Cadet Corps and Senior Advisor to the President

‘I’m inspired daily by our cadets who dedicate themselves to leadership development, fitness improvement, academic success, and community service. I’m confident I have the best job and the best Corps of Cadets. We’re small, but mighty.’


Contact Information

Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership

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VWIL Marks 20th Anniversary with Pomp and Ceremony

The Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership (VWIL), the nation’s only all-female corps of cadets and the premier college-level leadership program for women in the United States, on Friday celebrated its 20th anniversary at Mary Baldwin. Current VWIL students, members of the inaugural class, alumnae, community members and distinguished guests attended a special parade sequence, reception, […]

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