Five Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets alumni will share their life experiences during two events this week, one that will celebrate Black History Month and a second meant to inspire young cadets.

On Feb. 15, three corps alumni will return to campus for the Black Corps Alumni Panel from 6 to 8 p.m. in 102 Johnston Student Center. In honor of Black History Month and the month's theme, "I, Too, Am American" and organized by the Black Organizations Council, the panel will feature:

  • Beverly Henderson Davis, who graduated in 1980 with a degree in business management. She spent 21 years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as the chief of information technology capital investment/control at Air Education and Training Command, where she led a capital investment program for a 60,000-person organization. She is now a doctoral student at the University of San Francisco, studying organization and leadership with a concentration of women in the military.
  • Air Force Maj. Ernest Cage, who graduated in 2002 with a degree in psychology and a minor in leadership studies from the corps’ Rice Center for Leader Development. He is the commander of the 11th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, which provides logistics support to the U.S. president, international VIPs, and more than 40,000 airmen stationed in the National Capital Region.
  • Casey M. Roberts, who graduated with a degree in history in 2006 and a minor in leadership studies. An educator, he has been principal at Smithfield High School since 2015.

Isaiah Johnson, a senior from Cumberland County, Virginia, majoring in building construction, said the goal of the event is to build more connections between black cadets and the black community, acknowledge obstacles the black community faces, and learn from alumni. Specially, Johnson said he would like to learn tips on being resilient and be inspired to continue to give back to campus and the corps.

At 3:30 p.m. Feb. 16, two more corps alumni will speak during the spring Gunfighter Panel in Burruss Auditorium.

The panel is part of the Leaders in Action lecture series hosted each semester by the Rice Center for Leader Development. Alumni offer cadets lessons in leadership and discuss how their corps experiences prepared them for life after college.

Speakers will be:

  • Army Capt. Thomas Lenz, who graduated from the corps in 2008 with a degree in history and minors in leadership and classical studies. He is the Delta Company commander for the 52nd Brigade Engineer Battalion at Fort Carson, Colorado.
  • Marine Lt. Austin Dickey, who graduated from the corps in 2015 with a degree in business management and a minor in leadership studies. He is stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, as commander of 3rd Platoon, Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines.

The Gunfighter Panel started in 2004, when the United States entered combat in Iraq, increasing the potential for cadets to be in combat shortly after graduation. The series has since evolved to focus more broadly on leadership.

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