Col. David L. Coggins, President of Fork Union Military Academy, is pleased to announce that Blake Sundel has accepted the Academy’s invitation to deliver the commencement address to the Class of 2021 at their graduation ceremony on May 21, 2021.
Blake Sundel, the son of Lystra Blake and Michael Sundel, attended Fork Union Military Academy for grades 10-12 from 2008-2011, achieving high levels of success in every facet of cadet life during his three years at the Academy. In the classroom, Sundel maintained straight A’s during his entire time at the Academy and graduated as valedictorian in 2011. Achieving similar levels of success in athletics, Sundel achieved all-America honors five times and all-state honors eight times in various events as a swimmer for the Academy. Between 2009 to 2011, he swam on the 200-freestyle and 200-medley relay teams that set Academy and state records. The 200-freesyle relay record still stands as a school record. Additionally, he served as captain of the 2010 and 2011 swimming and diving teams that won the first two state swimming and diving titles in the Academy’s history. Outside of the classroom and pool, Sundel served in various leadership capacities within the cadet corps. During his junior year he served as a middle school advisor and was named the Greenbriar Cadet. During his senior year,he served as company commander of Echo and Alpha companies.
Upon graduating from FUMA, Sundel attended Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he swam four years and was a member of the 2014 Crimson swimming and diving team that won the Ivy League Championship. In 2015, Sundel graduated magna cum laude from Harvard with a Bachelor’s in History of Art and Architecture and a minor in History. Following his time at Harvard, Sundel taught English and History for three years at Belmont Hill School, an independent school for boys grades 7-12, located in Belmont, Massachusetts. In 2018, he enrolled in the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and graduated in 2020 with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Sundel currently resides in Falls Church, Virginia and serves as a Marketing Manager for Envista Holdings Corporation, one of the world’s largest dental product companies.
Since departing the Academy in 2011, Sundel has remained a very active alumnus. He currently serves on the Alumni Board and consistently returns to campus for Alumni Speaker Day and other alumni-related events each year. In addition, he is working with the Academy’s administration to develop an alumni mentorship program that seeks to establish mentor/mentee relationships between alumni and current cadets. Asked about his time at the Academy, Blake reminisced about the “long bus rides and weekend trips with teammates, home basketball games, and winning state championships.” Additionally, he spoke of the “lifelong friendships with teachers, coaches, and fellow students,” expressing gratitude to each for “helping me become the man I am today.”