“VWIL has shaped me by emphasizing that professionalism is one of the keys to success. When I put on my uniform, I am held to a higher standard. It also keeps me focused on my work because I have to manage my time wisely and stay organized.”
Jasmin Bailey ’11
Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership
Mary Baldwin College
215 N. Market St.
Staunton, VA 24401
Brigadier General Mike Bissell, Commandant of Cadets
Colonel Melissa E. Patrick (USA, RET), Deputy Commandant/Director, Academic Affairs
Karen Parker, Director of Admissions for VWIL/Athletic Recruitment
Gretchen Domaleski, Assistant Director of Admissions, RD VWIL
About the VWIL Leadership:
Brigadier General Mike Bissell
Commandant of Cadets
Brigadier General Mike Bissell graduated from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and was commissioned into the U.S. Army as an infantryman and aviator. He retired from the Army to become the Program Manager for the new Army stealth helicopter for the Boeing and Sikorsky Aircraft Team. After winning the contract competition, he returned to VMI in 1990 to become the first full time Commandant of cadets. Bissell later became the Deputy Assistant to the Superintendent, responsible for the assimilation of women into the VMI Corps of Cadets. While at the same time, he was performing the duties of the Commandant at VWIL helping to design the structure of the new VWIL Corps of Cadets. In 1999 he became the first full time Commandant of Cadets at VWIL.
He received his Bachelor of Arts from VMI and a Master of Arts from the University of Missouri. Bissell was selected by the Army Chief of Staff to be the Army Senior Fellow at Harvard University. He is also a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College and the Army War College.
Bissell served two combat tours in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Included among his other awards are the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster, The Bronze Star with V Device, the Air Medal with V Device and 26 Oak Leaf clusters and the Purple Heart. In 2002, he was awarded The Gold Order of Saint Michael by the Army Aviation Association of America and, most recently, inducted into the Army Aviation Hall of Fame for his career contributions to Army Aviation.
General Bissell’s command assignments include Commander of the 17th Aviation Group in Korea and Commander of the joint U.S. Army and Republic of Korea Army Aviation Forces in Korea. He was the Director for Army Aviation Flight Training at Fort Rucker, Alabama and Executive Officer for the Director for operations in the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as the Assistant Secretary of the Army during his career.
General Bissell and his wife, Jan, have seven children and 14 grand-children. He is a Eucharist Minister in Lexington.