VT Stories Oral History with Jess Fowler, May 22, 2015 (Ms2016-015)

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As a Cadet in Virginia Tech’s Corps of Cadets, a student becomes an ethical ambassador for the Virginia Tech student body. Beyond the demanding physical challenges and regimented schedules, Cadets must follow a strict code of behavior. For Jess Fowler, Class of 1964, these principles became the foundation for the rest of his personal and professional career. Serving in the Cadet Senate and the Cadet Honor Corps, Honor is more than one of Virginia Tech’s Pylons–Brotherhood, Honor, Leadership, Sacrifice, Service, Loyalty, Duty, and Ut Prosim–it is a way of life.

Throughout his time in the Corps, Jess experienced the seriousness of these values. In his four years, Jess bore witness to two drumming outs–expulsion from the Corps for ethical reasons. The gravity of these ethical standards did not only allow Jess to live in a community of trust and respect, but they also allowed for him to excel in his professional career. Serving in the military after graduation, Jess found his time in the Corps had prepared him to be a better soldier and, more importantly, a better person. Serving in the Military Assistance Command in Vietnam from 1965-1967, Jess was able to apply the ethical principles he developed at Virginia Tech to the world in a time of need. Jess understood the power of strong, steadfast beliefs–the Virginia Tech Pylons never faded from his life.

As a student, as a soldier, as a Hokie, Jess Fowler is a figurehead for ethical excellence. The Virginia Tech Nation prides itself in Hokies like Jess. In the face of adversity, Jess holds fast to this concrete belief that honorable behavior will always prevail.


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Jess Fowler