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President's Blog

Happy Easter!

News Type:  President's Blog Date:  Sunday, April 4, 2021 Byline:  Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)


Greetings, FUMA Family and Friends! 

Our cadets are here on campus for this Easter Weekend. We have had many events throughout the weekend, including an Easter Egg Hunt Saturday morning and an outdoor Sunday service with Chaplain Benson at the Stadium Field. The Easter festivities will be capped off with our annual Easter Brunch at the dining hall. 

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

John 3:16 NIV

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

In Jesus' name, God bless our Academy, our cadets, the faculty, staff, alumni, the entire FUMA Family and the community of Fork Union. 

He has risen from the grave and he is Lord!


Best regards,
Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)
Fork Union Military Academy



Back from Our Break

News Type:  President's Blog Date:  Tuesday, March 9, 2021 Byline:  Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)


We had an early Spring Break and now we are back on campus with in-person classes, clubs, sports, drill, chapel and colors each morning... when we stand and salute our nation's flag as it is raised over Fraley Circle.

Welcome back, cadets, and let’s press on towards graduation and our last day of the academic year. 

Yesterday—our first day back from break—we had class, band, football, basketball, baseball, swimming, diving, lacrosse, Judo, tennis, golf, conditioning/off season/wellness, yearbook, and drill. We gave haircuts, conducted personnel inspections, offered refresher/re-orientation training, continued our college counseling, emphasized our COVID-19 mitigation protocols, served up great food, shared an inspirational sermon/Bible study, and enjoyed warm temperatures, sunny skies, and fresh country air.

God is good, God is...Great! Bless you all in Jesus' name. Welcome back! And... 


This is going to be a great year. Thank you to our cadets, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, Board of Trustees, and our FUMA friends! Thank you all. 


Best regards,
Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)
Fork Union Military Academy



The Comfort of the Rock

News Type:  President's Blog Date:  Friday, March 5, 2021 Byline:  Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)


Today, we are preparing for our cadets to return to campus on Sunday, and making ready for our staff and faculty to begin in-person classes once again on Monday morning. I have been thinking about each one of our cadets. I have prayed for each one today, as well as for our entire faculty and staff, that all would have safe travels on their return.

God will provide all that we need. He is our Rock!

In my 33 years as a Marine, from being an officer candidate to retiring as a Colonel, I was in the field at each level and that often meant sleeping on the ground. Sometimes we had tents or slept on the armored vehicles, but most of the time we slept on the ground. It was a lot safer when you could sleep in a cave or under a rock. To me, there is just something about a rock that is comforting.

In the same way, the Psalmist, David, (after whom my father and mother purposefully named me) spoke about God as the Rock. He said, “Lead me to the Rock!” So, as you prepare to return to FUMA, lean into it and seek the comfort of the Rock...the comfort of God in your life.

Lead Me to the Rock

Psalm 61 (ESV)

1 Hear my cry, O God,
    listen to my prayer;
2 from the end of the earth I call to you
    when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
    that is higher than I,
3 for you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the enemy.


God bless you as you return to FUMA.  Together, we will finish the good work we started.  



Best regards,
Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)
Fork Union Military Academy



Where We've Been in 2020 and Where We're Heading in 2021

News Type:  President's Blog Date:  Monday, January 25, 2021 Byline:  Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)


To the Parents and Family of our Cadets, Thank you for sending your young man to FUMA.  We know God’s plans for us are for good and FUMA is part of that good with preparation of our young men for the future.  As we begin the new year, it’s important to provide you with an update on the Academy.  We remain one of the largest military prep schools in the United States with over 330 young men enrolled during the school year so far.  We are following COVID-19 protocols as we strive to provide a safe and meaningful on-campus experience.  You made the right choice.

To our Alumni, Friends, and Supporters, thank you for remaining connected to Fork Union Military Academy and staying interested in our school's well-being. We value you and appreciate your involvement with us.


Update on Our School Year So Far:

  • Our Department of College Counseling & Scheduling is the best I’ve seen in my three years at FUMA with a systematic and personalized approach.
  • During COVID-19, everything seems to take twice as long and is only half as effective so we are putting extra time and effort into our college placement, counseling, and “next steps” process.
  • I just found out recently that one of our seniors was accepted to the US Coast Guard Academy!
  • Alumni who are now in college come back to visit and tell us our academics prepared them well for the next level.
  • Our dual-enrollment program is helping our cadets save time and money by earning high school AND college credit for certain courses.
  • Many of our fall sports student-athletes are already receiving scholarship offers.
  • I noted several alumni in college bowl games, NFL playoffs, in the NBA, one playing for a professional basketball team in Doha, Qatar, and one will swim for the Egyptian team in the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
  • Our winter sports are practicing and we are able to do so with the COVID-19 protocols in place—it takes extra work, but our cadets are disciplined and follow the rules.
  • Clubs have restarted and are providing significant extra-curricular experiences and fun for cadets.
  • Many cadets become friends for life.


Excitement for the New Year:

  • We are in the process of making decisions regarding Spring Break and will communicate those as soon as possible.
  • We continue to plan a full schedule of academic, athletic, and special events, though our event calendars are subject to change based on the situation with COVID-19 (Link to School Calendar).
  • We are making plans for an Alumni Weekend event, though we may have to hold it later in the year than we traditionally do. We'll put out more details soon.
  • We’ll graduate our Middle School on May 19 and our Upper School on May 21.
  • We are planning on having Summer School and Summer Camps such as football, basketball, and father-and-son.



We have a strong foundation and one that will not be washed away in sinking sand. We stand on the solid rock which is the word of the Lord. We stand, we pledge, we pray, we do push-ups, and physics. God has blessed FUMA. Tough times never last, but tough people do. Be tough and press on doing good.




Best regards,
Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)
Fork Union Military Academy



Welcome Back, Cadets!

News Type:  President's Blog Date:  Friday, January 8, 2021 Byline:  Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)



Welcome back! I am excited to have our FUMA Family together again as we return to campus and begin classes on campus again on Monday morning.

We are praying for your safe travel. God bless you.

See you soon.



Best regards,
Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)
Fork Union Military Academy



A Christmas Message from Chaplain Benson

News Type:  President's Blog Date:  Friday, December 18, 2020 Byline:  LTC James Benson, Chaplain


FUMA faculty, staff, and cadets:

As Christians around the world celebrate Christmas, we must be reminded as we look back on this most difficult year of the basic message of Christmas.  God cared enough about this broken world that He gave us all an incredible gift – eternal salvation – that was made possible by the birth of Christ over 2000 years ago.  Emmanuel, “God with us,” took on human flesh and walked among His creation.  His teachings and example set the standard which so many of us aspire to in our lives.  God’s incredible love for us produced the vessel in which we can base unending hope for our lives.
God’s love for us has not dimmed in the time since, and therefore our hope should always be strong.  Our outlook on life should reflect that hope, and our own lives should reflect hope to all around us.
As we wrap up an eventful 2020, please do not forget the messages of Christmas: hope and love.  More than ever, this world needs hope and love.  And the world doesn’t need to simply hear about them, the world needs to see them lived out.  I hope and pray that our FUMA community provides the foundation by which hope and love can be displayed to the world.
I am beyond blessed to serve as your chaplain.  I pray that you and your family have a wonderful, safe, and meaningful Christmas.  And for those of you who might not celebrate Christmas, I pray that we who do will exemplify to you the hope and love of Christmas in our interactions. 


“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness... For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
(Isaiah 9:2,6 HCSB)


May you be richly blessed during this Christmas break, and may you be a blessing to all you meet.  And may God hold you in the palm of His mighty hand until we see each other again.


Very respectfully,
Chaplain Benson


LTC James Benson
Fork Union Military Academy
D.Min, Liberty University
M.Div, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond








We are Looking Forward to Reopening Our Campus in January

News Type:  President's Blog Date:  Friday, December 18, 2020 Byline:  Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)


We successfully opened up this past fall and held in-person classes and fielded athletic teams in interscholastic competition. The protocols and procedures we put in place to protect our campus from COVID-19 worked well and we have had ZERO cases of COVID-19 on campus so far this year. We dealt with one situation in which a day student was exposed to a family member who contracted COVID-19, but we quickly responded to that report, we quarantined a few students who had close contact with that student, and none of our boarding students tested positive for the virus. Our protocols worked to keep our campus safe, and we have a high level of confidence that we can continue to keep our campus safe.

As we prepare to reopen our campus in January, I want to remind you of the steps we have taken and will continue to take in the weeks ahead.

While there will be much that continues to be challenging in this school year amidst the concerns of COVID-19, we are working to keep our mission, values, and methodologies as consistent as possible with what we have found to work effectively for our students throughout our 122-year history.

Our Guiding Principles in Dealing with COVID-19

1. The safety and well-being of our cadets, staff, and Fork Union Military Academy community is our highest priority.

While we recognize that no one can guarantee 100% safety from the risk of COVID-19, we will take all reasonable precautions to keep everyone on our campus as safe and healthy as possible. We will continue to follow the best advice of health professionals, which may include steps such as:

  • conducting daily health screens with symptom and temperature checks
  • following social distancing guidelines on campus
  • appropriate wearing of cloth face coverings or masks by staff and cadets
  • providing additional facilities for hand washing as well as hand sanitizer stations
  • increased cleaning and disinfecting of shared spaces and living quarters
  • modifying dining hall and food service protocols
  • limiting the size of any gatherings on campus to appropriate levels
  • strictly limiting outside visitors to campus

As in past years, the Yeatman Infirmary on campus will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by registered nurses. Our Academy Physician will hold morning sick call hours on campus for our cadets. We have the capability of performing appropriate testing on campus as needed, and we have bed space in our infirmary for the isolation of cadets who may need to be quarantined. 

2. The campus of Fork Union Military Academy, comprising over 1,000 acres located within a rural setting, offers an ideal sanctuary that is separated and insulated from the high-density population areas in which Virginia's COVID-19 cases have been primarily centered.

We believe that once our cadets are on campus, they will be safer from exposure to Coronavirus if we place appropriate restrictions on non-essential travel. For this reason, we adjusted our Academic Calendar to limit the movement of cadets off-campus until our first major leave for Thanksgiving/Christmas. Some of those restrictions will remain in place as we reconvene in January 2021. We do hope to enjoy a Spring Break as scheduled, though we will adjust those plans if conditions require. Our campus has excellent outdoor facilities where cadets can get fresh air, enjoy athletics and recreation time, and remain removed from greater risk of exposure in the community beyond our campus.

3. Our One Subject Plan curriculum helps ensure that student and staff groupings are as small and static as possible and helps limit widespread mixing between larger groups within enclosed spaces.

One of the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is that schools practice cohorting--keeping small groups of students and staff together for as much of the class day as possible, and limiting the mixing between groups. This almost perfectly describes our One Subject Plan curriculum. At Fork Union Military Academy, students in class (typically fewer than fifteen) spend all day, every day, with one teacher for the entire 7-week grading term. We avoid the frequent changing of classes and rooms throughout the day, and other such exposure risks.

4. Our on-campus cadet environment provides structure, social support, and a system of accountability that is central to the success of our students.

We believe that the structured environment we provide on our campus is one of the biggest reasons our young men achieve success in the classroom, on the playing fields, and in their development of life skills and foundational values. While we are prepared to provide distance education if circumstances require it during the school year, we remain committed to providing a full boarding experience, with classroom instruction, athletic competition, and residential life activities to the fullest extent possible.

For more information...

We will continue to update our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page regarding our COVID-19 procedures located at this URL:


School Choices...Life Decisions

As I think about all the young people across our nation who have been pushed back into online learning for another school year with no sports and limited social contact with others their age, it breaks my heart.

  • I think of the seniors, just like those of our Class of 2020 whose all-important final year of high school seemingly limped to a close without the normal celebrations of achievement.
  • I worry about the college-bound athletes who miss out on a year of preparation.
  • I'm concerned for the student struggling with a challenging subject who needs the support of an experienced teacher, skilled in delivering learning in just the way the student needs to receive it.

The effects of this pandemic have already been devastating to students, and may still bring potentially life-changing consequences.

Tuition, fees, room and board, uniforms...these costs are measurable...but the return on investment of a school experience such as Fork Union Military Academy may be immeasurable.

We often point with pride to our alumni who gained service academy appointments, or who won the Heisman Trophy at college, or who have become successful business entrepreneurs or community leaders. I believe that the school choices facing students and their families today will have tremendous impact on the lives those young men will lead.

Thank you

Thank you for your trust in Fork Union Military Academy. 


"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)


Best regards,
Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)
Fork Union Military Academy




News Type:  President's Blog Date:  Friday, December 11, 2020 Byline:  Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)


To our Corps of Cadets,

Greeting from campus! I miss you and am praying for you.

This is a challenging year with COVID, switching from on-campus to distance education for part of the 3rd Term, being at home and missing friends, sports, and activities on campus.

We can be crushed by the weight of uncertainty and worry, or we can change, adapt and overcome. God wants us to be overcomers.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
- Philippians 4:6. 


I once heard someone say that “IF” is the central word in "LIFE."

So, what about "if?" There is a lot involved in that little word, "if."

Rudyard Kipling wrote an entire poem based around the word "if," and you may have heard it or read it before. Rudyard Kipling was a very popular writer, and you may have seen movies like "The Jungle Book" or "Mowgli" that were based on his children's books. But in "If," his most popular poem, Kipling wrote about the big consequences that are related to how you deal with the "ifs" in your life. 

I suggest that you read this poem three times. Read it once to yourself. Read it aloud the second time. The third time, read it aloud...and believe it.



If you can keep your head when all about you
   Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
   But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
   Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
   And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
   If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
   And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
   Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
   And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
   And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
   And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
   To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
   Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
   Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
   If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
   Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!



Cadets, press on doing good. I believe in you. I am praying for each one of you, by name.

God bless you. 



Best regards,
Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)
Fork Union Military Academy



Distance Education in December

News Type:  President's Blog Date:  Tuesday, December 8, 2020 Byline:  Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)


As we shift to distance education for a few weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years we encourage our cadets to stay in shape, study hard, and continue to pray and seek Gods wisdom in your life. Body, mind and spirit.

Best wishes to you all.


Best regards,
Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)
Fork Union Military Academy



Happy Thanksgiving!

News Type:  President's Blog Date:  Monday, November 23, 2020 Byline:  Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)


Greetings, FUMA Family and Friends! Happy Thanksgiving!

Our Cadets departed campus for an extended break on November 20th and will return on January 10th. 

We have had zero cases of COVID-19 on campus. Just let that sink in for a moment...

This pandemic could have been a disaster for our school and community, but our cadets were tough. They followed the protocols and they did not complain. They went 120 days straight on campus with no break, not even a Day Pass to get off campus with their parents. I am so thankful for them and for everyone who supported them. I give thanks to God for His Divine protection of our Academy. It is good to give thanks. 

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” 
1 Chronicles 16:34 

Thank you for being part of our team. Happy Thanksgiving!



Best regards,
Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)
Fork Union Military Academy



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