On Veterans Day, November 11, Bob Jones University held an Army/Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) contracting ceremony, at 11 a.m. in Founder’s Memorial Amphitorium.
Launched in 2018, crosstown partnerships with Furman University (Army) and Clemson University (Air Force) allow BJU students to participate in their respective ROTC battalions. While most BJU students are qualified to join either of the two programs and thereby wear the uniform and hold the title “cadet,” exceptional cadets who stand out as scholars, athletes, and leaders may be offered scholarship contracts that cover their costs of tuition, fees, and books and receive a monthly stipend.
Cadets who accept a scholarship commit themselves, upon graduation, to be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant with their respective military branch. For these cadets, a contracting ceremony is often held to publicly acknowledge their commitment to continue their preparation as military officers and to accept a commission at the end of their academic training.
This semester’s program featured three Army cadets, sophomore Luke Wess, of Greer, South Carolina; sophomore Braden Thacker, of Wintersville, Ohio; and junior Jon Hallas (Army National Guard), of Taylors, South Carolina. Air Force cadet, junior Brandon Swain, of Sevierville, Tennessee, also received a contract.
BJU business faculty member, Al Carper (Commander U.S. Navy (ret.), ROTC Coordinator); Lt. Colonel Sarah Whitten (Professor of Military Science, Paladin Battalion, U.S. Army ROTC) and Captain Nikita Albert (Contracting Officer, Clemson University, Det-770, U.S. Air Force ROTC) presided over the ceremony.
The ceremony included the presentation of scholarships and a formal swearing-in. Second Lt. Josh Bakr, a 2020 BJU Army ROTC graduate, gave the keynote address.
Upon graduation, contracted cadets participate in a Commissioning Ceremony during which they receive their commissions as second lieutenants and become official members of their military branch. As commissioned officers, they fulfill their commitments by serving either on active duty for four years or in their branch’s reserve or guard component for eight years.
“As the BJU ROTC Mission Statement says ‘the program exists to train young men and women for a lifetime of leadership by challenging cadets to grow and improve physically, intellectually and spiritually with a biblical worldview,’” said Carper. “Our crosstown partnerships combined with our student’s education here at the University help us to accomplish this objective.”
For more information about BJU’s ROTC program, click here.