VMI grad encourages students to ‘make a difference’ after college

LEXINGTON, Va. – Four years ago, the Virginia Military Institute Class of 2017 began with 503 cadets. Only a few more than 300 graduated Tuesday with their degrees.
Drew Borinstein preserved through tragedy to become valedictorian of his class.

“I owe it to none other than my brother rats, classmates. They’ve been incredible and all of my four years here,” said Borinstein.

He is one of 319 cadets crossing the stage, earning his degree from one of the most demanding military schools.

“As they say, ‘a great place to be from, but not a great place to be at.’ So I’m very excited to finally graduate from this place,” said Borinstein.

But Borinstein was able to push through after a tough year. In August 2016, his mother, sister and brother died in a plane crash.

“It’s hard but I have so many people here. My entire extended family is here. And I know a lot of people watching the live stream,” said Borinstein.

Borinstein is was named valedictorian with a 4.0 GPA. Standing at the podium, he hopes to inspire and motivate others.

“Go out and make a difference. Earn your place amongst the multitude of successful alumni. Do what you can to make this world a better place.”

Borinstein also made an impact on his classmates.

“On behalf of the class, especially myself, you are definitely someone that we all looked up to all four years. Not just the last year, but you’re a role model for all of us,” said fellow graduate Hamp Beddoes from the podium Tuesday.

Borinstein’s name was the first to be called to walk across the stage for his degree. Working hard is what helped him on his journey.

“That’s something that my dad taught me at a young age,” said Borinstein.

Along with more than 100 other cadets commissioned for military service after college, Borinstein will be going into the Marine Corps as a Second Lieutenant.

Borinstein was awarded The First Jackson-Hope Medal for the highest attainment in scholarship and The Commander Harry Millard Mason Academic Proficiency Award which is presented to the recipient of the First Jackson-Hope Medal.

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