Virginia Women's Institute of Leadership (VWIL) celebrates 20 years, earns major grant

Published: Apr. 22, 2016 at 6:10 PM EDT
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It was a day of pride on the campus of Mary Baldwin College on Friday as female cadets marched in honor of a big day. It marked 20 years of Virginia Women's Institute of Leadership.

In 1996, VWIL was created. The program is the country's only all-female corps of cadets.

VWIL recently received a $200,000 grant from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. Half of the money will go towards teaching current cadets leadership skills they will need to further their careers.

The other half with go toward scholarships for incoming freshman cadets.

"It's a wonderful feeling that people value this education so much and their children hear them talk about it with such passion, that they want to go there too," said Commandant of Cadets, Terry Djuric.

Djuric said they usually received 150 applicants every year attempting to enter the program. This year they have received almost 900.

A parade and awards celebration took place at Mary Baldwin College on Friday as well. Alumni and parents filled the gym as the cadets marched in. A military ball followed the parade that night.