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Valley Forge Military College last of its kind to become co-ed

After almost 78 years, Valley Forge Military College is opening its academic doors to women in fall 2006. VFMC is the last military college of its kind in the country to become a coeducational institution.

There are four other two-year military colleges in the United States: Wentworth Military Academy, Marion Military Institute, New Mexico Military Institute and Georgia Military College. These institutions implemented coeducational programs in the late 1960’s and the 1970’s. Wentworth Military Academy opened its Junior College to women in 1968, but did not open its full cadet program to women until 1993, according to their website.

According to VFMC cadet, class president and ROTC Battalion Commander Matt Ciurej, this drastic change in tradition was influenced by VFMC’s new president, Charles A. McGeorge. “He brought more of a business perspective [to the situation],” Ciurej said. McGeorge is the first non-military president in VFMC history.

According to VFMC’s website, discussion of opening enrollment to women began a year and a half ago and a final decision was made in July 2005. “For us at Valley Forge, this change is about more than just gender. It brings the circle of our revolutionary heritage to completeness. Just as the intrepid men and women persevered together to forge a future of self determination, courage and hope 277 years ago at Valley Forge, our cadets will now fully preserve that legacy through their accomplishments and leadership,” McGeorge said, according to VFMC website.

Ciurej said that this decision will come as a great benefit to the college. “I think it will make the college more mature and diversified,” he said.

McGeorge was also quoted on the website saying, “Women attending our college is a natural step in creating a more robust and diverse learning environment.”

Ciurej mentioned that college cadets are more optimistic and excited for the upcoming integration of the school than the academy cadets. According to Ciurej, the academy cadets are concerned that women cadets will receive preferential treatment and take away opportunities for rank. “I think it’s an immature perspective and most of the college thinks it’s a good idea,” he said.

This revolutionary decision breaks close to eight decades of tradition, but cadets and administration alike are positive that it is the right move to make.

“I just think it’s the right time and the right thing to do,” Ciurej said.

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