Colonel Bissell Appointed as Commandant of VWIL

May 13, 1999

Mary Baldwin University recently announced the appointment of Colonel Norman Michael ‘Mike’ Bissell to the position of Commandant of the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership (VWIL), effective July 1, 1999.

Among other duties, the commandant is responsible for the discipline of the corps and for drills and ceremonies.

Colonel Bissell currently serves as Protocol Officer and as Special Assistant to the Superintendent of Virginia Military Institute (VMI) as well as coordinating Mary Baldwin’s VWIL and VMI’s joint activities. He was responsible for the assimilation of women into the Corps of Cadets at VMI.

A graduate of VMI, Colonel Bissell served in the United States Army as a second lieutenant in the infantry. In 1987, he retired from the Army and worked as Program Manager for the U.S. Army’s new stealth helicopter (Commanche) for the Boeing and Sikorsky Team.

Colonel Bissell earned his M.A. from the University of Missouri and was selected by the Army Chief of Staff to be Senior Army Fellow at Harvard University in 1985. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Army War College.

He served two tours as a combat helicopter pilot in Vietnam, where he was nominated for the Medal of Honor and received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and an Air Medal with V and 24 Oak Leaf Clusters.

A resident of Lexington, Colonel Bissell is a Eucharistic Minister in St. Patrick’s Church. He and his wife are the parents of seven children, including three sons who attended VMI.