ENROLLMENT ON THE RISE IN ROTC PROGRAMS
In keeping with Norfolk's strong military tradition, enrollment in Old Dominion's Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) programs continues to grow. This year, nearly 340 cadets, midshipmen and officer candidates were among the university's student population.
Navy ROTC grew to 219 midshipmen and officer candidates, up from 207 last year, while Army ROTC numbers increased from
110 cadets last year to almost 120 candidates at the start of the academic year.
"With 'service to the military' imbedded in the university's mission statement, Old Dominion has a long and rich ROTC history,"
noted Capt. Dick Whalen, director of military activities. "Unlike most institutions supporting ROTC around the country, at Old
Dominion, ROTC is administered within the Office of the President, ensuring maximum program visibility. Beyond the university's Norfolk location, with its unique military professional development opportunities, Old Dominion offers strong financial incentives to attract the nation's best and brightest military candidates to campus."
According to Capt. Patrick Hunt, commanding officer of the Hampton Roads Navy ROTC Consortium of Old Dominion, Norfolk
State and Hampton universities, "Old Dominion is the largest Naval ROTC unit at a nonmilitary school in the country."
Hunt credits Old Dominion's reputation as the number-one reason for the increase in enrollment.
"With the university's TELETECHNET program and courses broadcast to ships at sea, Old Dominion has really marketed itself to the Navy community," Hunt noted. "Lots of people in the Navy community know the name Old Dominion University."
Old Dominion's partnership with the military is also an attraction for many students, Hunt said, explaining that the university
provides substantial credit for incoming enlisted personnel from the Navy's nuclear power community.
Lt. Col. Michael Boyle, commanding officer of the Army ROTC program, said the university is also supportive of students with
active Army service, noting that about one-third of the university's cadets are helping to pay their tuition through the Virginia Army National Guard.
Boyle also credits the battalion's reputation for success as a draw for incoming cadets. It ranks first in physical fitness completion on the East Coast, and fourth nationally.
"If you set expectations high," explained Boyle, "people will achieve high."
Cadet Command Sgt. Maj. Matt Sacra, a senior history major from Glenn Burnie, Md., noted that one of the main reasons he
came here was the reputation of the program. "When I was looking for colleges, I was drawn to Old Dominion's ROTC. It is one of the best," he said.
Cadets in the unit have earned many individual Army honors, including the First Region Pallas Athene Award. This award
recognizes one woman from the First ROTC Region, which includes 101 colleges and universities in the eastern United States. This year's winner was Cadet Jennie Matthews, an Old Dominion senior cytotechnology major from Virginia Beach.
Likewise, success is no stranger to the Navy program. In the past year, the unit has had six nuclear power school candidates,
twice their quota.
According to Matthews, the unit's cadet commander, the program's success comes because the cadets work for it. "If you work hard, you get rewarded," she noted.
Over the past year, cadets in Old Dominion's Army ROTC program have also earned many academic accolades, including six
memberships in Golden Key International Honor Society and three in Phi Kappa Phi Honor Fraternity, as well as 14 cadets named to the "Who's Who in America's Colleges and Universities.".
"The average academic performance of our cadets has continued to grow," said Boyle, who also noted that the battalion's size has nearly doubled the past 10 years.
Likewise, the academic success of the Navy ROTC program has improved, with the average grade point average increasing from 3.18 in 1998-99 to 3.21 in the 1999-2000.
The Navy ROTC program also had two December 2000 honor graduates, one of whom had the highest GPA of all electrical
According to Boyle, another attraction to Old Dominion's Army program is the level of diversity in the battalion. "I've experienced fewer gender and racial problems here than anywhere else I've been in the Army," he said.
Old Dominion's Army ROTC unit boasts a nearly 50/50 gender ratio, and its ethnic demographics are similarly balanced.
From the students' standpoint, perhaps the major selling point of the two ROTC programs is their level of concern and
"There's a family environment here. Everyone really looks out for you," said Cadet Meredith Tillson, a senior psychology major
from Waterville, Maine.
"We're producing very, very high-quality officers that Old Dominion can be proud of," noted Boyle. "It's important to me that they succeed."
Added Whalen, "The levels of academic success, retention through graduation, maturity and leadership enjoyed by our ROTC
students rank them among the campus elite. We're proud and honored to have them."
This article was posted on: April 24, 2001
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Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
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