At a time when the armed forces are struggling to recruit, Andrew Archut still believes "there is no greater honor than to lead the sons and daughters of America who bear our nation's cloth."

The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Emerging Leaders Scholarship recipient, who recently graduated magna cum laude from the university and with honors from the U.S. Marine Corps’ Officer Candidates School, plans to put his considerable talents to use for his country.

An Ashburn, Va., native, Archut was recognized as Virginia Tech’s Undergraduate Leader of the Year for 2007. He has been commissioned as a second lieutenant.

"I strive to lead by example because as a leader, everything I do or say—or fail to do or say—will set the tone for this regiment," Archut says of his time in the corps of cadets (VTCC).

The corps, which has an 80 percent rate of graduates becoming commissioned officers, is seeking to increase its membership by 25 percent, to 1,000 cadets. VTCC officials view scholarships as an important tool for reaching that goal and are looking to boost the amount of assistance they can offer.

In that, they are not alone. Across all university programs, Virginia Tech officials are raising money for scholarships to try to enhance the undergraduate experience—one of the major priorities of the $1 billion Campaign for Virginia Tech: Invent the Future.

The rationale: scholarships allow talented students to attend regardless of their economic circumstances, and draw the highest-caliber students, who have many schools from which to choose.

Frequently, such students become leaders, like Archut, and make the university better by their presence.

"We must all strive to live by the university’s values of Duty, Honor, Service, Sacrifice, Loyalty, Leadership, Brotherhood, and UT Prosim [That I may serve]," Archut says. "These are not just words in stone; these are cornerstones and the foundation of a successful and moral life."

The Campaign for Virginia Tech: Invent the Future has a university-wide goal of $144 million to enhance the undergraduate experience. Funds donated for that purpose will allow additional scholarships, facility improvements, increased study abroad options and multicultural initiatives, as well as strong support for university tradition, as embodied by athletic programs and the corps of cadets.

With a total goal of $1 billion, The Campaign for Virginia Tech: Invent the Future marks a new era in private fundraising for the most comprehensive university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The campaign's funding priorities target five goals: academic excellence, the undergraduate experience, research and academic facilities, Virginia Tech and the community, and the President’s Discovery Fund, a pool of unrestricted funds.