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.
“And from the very first day we stepped foot on campus the first thing we were taught was the honor code.”Jess Fowler
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.
“So we were mission-oriented. We got the job done, but we also cared about people. And most of us didn’t really give a damn about a career. We didn’t care if we made the stars. We just wanted to do a good job where we were.”Jess Fowler
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.
“It is so much easier to be honest and truthful and straightforward.”Jess Fowler
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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About this Story
Date Recorded: May 22, 2015
Interviewer: David Cline
Date Posted: October 24, 2016
Editor: Shannon Larkin & Jesse Rogers