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The Marines The Institute
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In an age when many colleges seem to coddle and cater to students, VMI stands out as a historic exception. Cadets wear uniforms, march to every meal, sleep in four- and five-man rooms with plain wood furniture. A four-year college built around a tough, demanding system of military discipline, "the Institute" does little to make life easy for its charges, particularly not for first-year cadets, who are called Rats.

But in spite or perhaps because of its demanding nature, "the I" inspires an intense and protective loyalty, a sense of community and even love, that students and alumni sometimes have difficulty explaining. "You wouldn't understand unless you went there," they will often say.

Anthony Edgeworth went there. For one year, accompanied by writer Geoffrey Norman. In dramatic photos, Edgeworth records the special quality of VMI life ant the VMI spirit, while Norman's text chronicles, from the inside, a year in the life of VMI and its cadets - from the agonies of the Rats to the pageantry of full dress parades.

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