VA Tech Cadet Issac Lerner earns Association’s Highest award

Feb 28, 2024

VA Tech cadet Issac Lerner was awarded the 2023 General H. J. Binford Peay III Legacy of Leadership Award at the Association’s 110th Annual Conference.


School: Virginia Tech

Category (College or College Prep):  College

Cadet’s Name (as desired on award):  Isaac Lerner

Cadet’s Current Year: Senior (Spring 2024 Graduate)





Leadership:  Cadet Lerner is the Regimental Commander for the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. He served in multiple leadership positions within the Corps, including Alpha Company First Sergeant and the Corps’ Command Sergeant Major (the highest-ranking position for a junior). He also served as the lead trainer for the Corps’ rappel team and the cadet officer in charge of our prestigious Global Scholars cohort. Isaac’s leadership extended well beyond the Corps of Cadets. He is a leader in Virginia Tech’s student government and a member of The Order of the Gavel (Virginia Tech’s leadership honor society). Isaac is also a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa organization, a National Leadership Honor Society. Dr. Frances Keene, the VT Vice President for Student Affairs, recently commented that Isaac was the most engaged and impactful regimental commander she’s seen in her 13 years at the university, illustrating Isaac’s engagement and influence on the university.

Character:  Isaac is a leader of impeccable character. While his membership in multiple honor societies implies superior character, his willingness to hold standards in difficult situations sets him apart from his peers. As the lead trainer for the Corps’ rappel team, Isaac saw a significant gap in leader training and certification. He immediately implemented a rappel certification program that disqualified many of his peers from training fellow cadets until they completed the program. Isaac did not yield the standard when his peers protested and asked for their certification to be “grandfathered in” because of their experience. Instead, he invested numerous hours of personal time certifying his teammates and ensuring they executed the training to an exacting standard. Another example of Isaac’s character was when he served as the Alpha Company First Sergeant. Isaac observed two peer cadets acting improperly toward new cadets (first-year cadets). First, Isaac confronted the cadets, admonished them, and told them they needed to stop immediately. A couple of days later, Isaac saw their unprofessional conduct again. He immediately removed them from their leadership positions and worked with the cadet chain of command to hold his peers accountable. While we often see cadets holding first-year cadets accountable, Isaac’s character demanded that he hold his peers accountable when they failed to uphold the standard. Isaac repeatedly demonstrated that when there is a choice between the hard right and easy wrong, he chose the hard right even when it meant going against his peers. That is true character.

Service:  Isaac’s service in various organizations sets him apart from his peers. Whether it was student government or national honor societies, Isaac always put the welfare of others ahead of himself. The anecdote that best exemplifies Isaac’s selfless service is his organizing a 5 KM “Ruck March” supporting APK Charities. APK is a charity in honor of Special Forces Captain Andrew Peterson-Keel, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2013. Isaac organized and led the largest group in the country (nearly 50 fellow cadets), raising funds that supported over 100 military and Gold Star families in need of assistance (Gold Star families are families who lost a loved one in combat operations).

Academics: Isaac is a stellar student. He maintains a 3.86 GPA in Political Science (with a concentration in National Security) and has a double minor in Leadership and Strategic Communications. Isaac earned a 4.0 during the fall semester while serving as the Corps’ Regimental Commander. During the academic year 22-23, Isaac was a tutor and the company’s academic officer. In recognition of his academic excellence, Isaac was selected for a highly competitive honors internship with the federal government for the past two years, and was selected to represent the Corp of Cadets at the 2024 International Forum for Peace, Security and Prosperity in Palermo, Italy.

Athletics:  Cadet Lerner is a standout athlete on his unit’s intramural sports teams and the Army’s ROTC Ranger Challenge Team. Isaac completed the Army’s rigorous Air Assault School and is the senior member of the Corps’ rappel team. He has also scored a perfect 600 on the Army Combat Fitness Test.







Maj Gen Randy Fullhart, USAF (ret), VA Tech Cadet Issac Lerner, General H. J. Binford Peay III, USA (ret)