History major Ryan Cronin ’13 drops and gives 20 during a ROTC drill on campus. The program formally returned to W&J in the fall after a 20-year hiatus.
The start of the fall term at Washington & Jefferson College brought the return of camouflage-clad students and sounds of military commands to campus for the first time in 20 years.
Once vibrant at W&J, the U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corp. (ROTC) program was removed from the curriculum in 1991 as part of a cost-saving strategy in the military. Today, in collaboration with the Three Rivers Battalion, students can choose from eight ROTC electives to take along with their required college classes.
“W&J is proud to once again be a home to a renowned program that has benefitted the lives of so many people,” Charles Hannon, Ph.D., associate dean of faculty at W&J, said. He noted that while students continued to attend W&J on ROTC scholarships, they previously were required to take classes at regional universities and transfer their credits back to W&J. The College’s new partnership with the Three Rivers Battalion keeps these students on campus while giving W&J the ability to better control the way credits are granted.
“There is no question that our students have interest,” added Hannon, who said that 13 W&J students attended the basic course last spring for no academic credit. Even without the promise of scholarship aid, he says that the program appeals to students interested in learning about military history, developing leadership skills and receiving organizational training.
“Beyond the curriculum, a formal return of ROTC to the campus increases the visibility of the program at W&J and the financial opportunities it makes available for students who might want to pursue the military as a future career,” Hannon said.
For more information, visit www.washjeff.edu/rotc.