The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps held their first annual Faculty / Administrator appreciation luncheon in Barton Hall on Friday. Close to a hundred faculty and ROTC members were in attendance along with President Jeffrey S. Lehman ’77.
“The purpose of this event is to foster an understanding with faculty and administration,” said Capt. Christopher Klyne ’78, naval sciences.
Prof. Peter Gray, aerospace studies, agreed saying that “dialogue hasn’t been good” between the University and ROTC and that this conference was geared toward learning how to “bridge the gap.”
Gray and Isaac Kramnick, vice provost of undergraduate education, developed the idea for the event.
The luncheon featured a panel of students who made presentations about different aspects of being in ROTC.
“The two most frequently asked questions I receive are ‘What do you make your kids do?’ and ‘What do they do when they leave?'” Klyne said. The presentations made by the students answered these questions.
David Stanford ’05 discussed Cornell’s military history. He recounted how ROTC has been an integral part of Cornell for a long time. From 1918 until 1962, the University had a requirement of “four semesters of participation in ROTC,” Stanford said. He also reported that Barton hall “was built not as an indoor track, but as an armory and drill hall.”
Another interesting military history fact that Stanford pointed out was that Cornellians have “given their lives in every war since the founding of our university 140 years ago.” From the Spanish-American war and World War I– where 264 Cornellians died, including Willard Straight 1901– to the current war in Iraq where a Cornell alumnus died just last year, Stanford emphasized Cornell’s impact on the military.
By the end of World War I, he told the audience, “two percent of all commissioned officers in the three services had graduated from Cornell.”
ROTC student Kristina Skovron ’05 also presented.
According to Skovron, unlike at West Point and the Air Force Academy, “[Cornell] cadets and midshipmen must learn to survive in a dual environment.”
She stated that the stress of academics in their training and their “ability to evolve make [them] the highest caliber officers in the military.”
After the presentations, Lehman spoke, praising the ROTC members for hosting the event. To the professors he said, “I want to make a special mention for making the ROTC students intellectually sharp and ethically sophisticated.”
He also called the ROTC program a “uniquely powerful educational experience”, saying how special it was to see the students talk “seriously and intelligently about debatable issues” concerning the military.
Lehman was presented with a plaque from the ROTC members in sincere thanks for his support.
Archived article by Emily Gordon
Sun Staff Writer