Highlighting My First Visit to Marion Military Institute
During the second and final week of Congress’ Easter district work period, I traveled throughout the Second District to visit with constituents, small business owners, and local leaders. I also had the privilege of stopping by both of the fine military installations in our district, Fort Rucker and Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, for meetings with leadership.
In addition to my recent district travel, I had the privilege of visiting Marion Military Institute (MMI) for the first time, and I was truly impressed. During my time on campus, I participated in MMI’s annual Leadership Symposium where I enjoyed lunch with faculty and staff, spoke to the entire student body about the importance of seizing leadership opportunities, and attended a fantastic military parade put on by the students.
MMI’s doors have been open since 1842, making it the oldest military junior college in the country. You may remember that for many years, the school was a private institution that included both a high school and a two-year college. In 2006, the Alabama state Legislature voted to merge MMI into the Alabama Community College System, and today MMI is a fantastic military junior college where students can obtain two years of collegiate education that will prepare them for a wide variety of post-graduate tracks.
When I was on campus, school administrators informed me that MMI’s student body is comprised of students, known as cadets, who will complete their two years and then follow what can become very different paths that are all important. For instance, some MMI graduates will immediately become officers in the U.S. military. Others will go into the civilian workforce without continuing in military service. Still other MMI graduates choose to pursue their higher education by attending one of the United States service academies. In fact, the Service Academy Program that facilitates this transfer began at MMI and has been a great option for students interested in obtaining a degree from a service academy ever since.
As a member of Congress, each year I have the honor of nominating students from the Second District for appointment to one of the U.S. service academies. Every year I have been blown away by the outstanding students I have the privilege of supporting. I firmly believe in the importance of our service academies, especially their unique ability to train future leaders in our country. I was glad to learn more about MMI’s important support for students who desire to pursue this prestigious honor, and I really appreciated being on campus to learn more about their impressive school.
This year, MMI is celebrating its 175th year of educating leaders for both civilian careers and military service at their beautiful, historic campus next door to us in Marion. I am confident that their academics challenge young students while also instilling important leadership qualities and personal values. MMI has produced many noteworthy leaders in our state and nation, and I know they’ll continue to do so for years to come. We are so fortunate to have this fine institution in the State of Alabama.