N. Michael Bissell, Commandant of the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership at Mary Baldwin University, has been promoted from the rank of Colonel to the rank of Brigadier General in the Virginia Militia.
Brigadier General Bissell has served as Commandant since 1999. He formerly served as Protocol Officer and Special Assistant to the Superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI). He was responsible for the assimilation of women into the Corps of Cadets at VMI.
A graduate of VMI, Brigadier General 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 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.
Mary Baldwin University is a multi-faceted liberal arts college in Staunton, Virginia, with three residential programs for women – the traditional program, the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted, and the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership – as well as coeducational, non-residential Adult Degree and master’s programs. Mary Baldwin offers the B.A. and/or the B.S. in 32 majors, the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) with K-8 emphasis, the Master of Letters (M.Litt.) in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance, and post-graduate teaching licensure (PGTL). The oldest women’s college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., Mary Baldwin was founded in 1842 and is also the first women’s college to be granted a circle of the national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa. It is one of only 262 colleges and universities to house a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society.