Harvard Army ROTC Office Opening Ceremony

RADCLIFFE QUADRANGLE, Harvard University, 28 March 2012 -- As Harvard and ROTC officials commemorated the restoration of an Army ROTC presence on the campus of Harvard, Lt. Col. Tim Hall, the ROTC unit commander, announced that the freshmen Army ROTC courses will be offered on Harvard's campus next year on a pilot basis.  A ceremonial ribbon was cut, and the saber originally presented to Capt. Constant Cordier, who founded the unit that became Harvard's ROTC unit, was brought back to Harvard.

Hall prefaced his remarks by relaying greetings from Gen. David Petraeus, USA (Ret), who has encouraged the Harvard-Army association for the past 6 years, both in public and otherwise:

Please pass on to the members of the Crimson Tribe, that I am very pleased to see the vision expressed by President Faust, when I met her at the 2009 commissioning ceremony (of officers trained at MIT!), realized by the opening of the Army ROTC office at Harvard today. 

All of us old soldiers look forward to seeing the commissioning ceremony in Harvard Yard, at which gold bars are pinned on the shoulders of Harvard students who received some ROTC training at Harvard! 

Well done to President Faust, Hooah to the US Army, and congratulations to all who helped this day come to pass!

Hall's remarks detailed the substantive changes resulting from the Harvard-Army agreement on ROTC:

Starting immediately, we will conduct physical training once per week on Harvard’s campus.  Additionally, starting in Fall 2012, we will offer our freshmen courses on Harvard’s campus on a pilot basis, in addition to our offerings at MIT and our North Shore campuses, to determine if there is sufficient student interest to justify further offerings of courses.  It is also my intent to conduct larger leadership training events at Harvard that include the entire Paul Revere Battalion; I will work to identify the best events and will work these closer with Harvard College in the months ahead.  I intend for Army ROTC to be more than simply an office at Harvard; my vision is that Army ROTC will be an integral part of the Harvard community as our Harvard students are fully integrated members of the Paul Revere Battalion.

Col. Twala D. Mathis, Commander of the Second Brigade of Army ROTC, spoke of the long history of close cooperation between Harvard and the military, and said "We are proud to partner with Harvard to commission the future leaders of our Army and our nation in a place that hold such special meaning to America’s Army."  She made use of the occasion to point out that the name Harvard "is cognate with Hereward, literally meaning “Army Guard”". 

Harvard College Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds spoke of the history of cooperation between Harvard and the military and the value of a Harvard education to produce wise military leadership:

I believe the rigorous liberal arts education imparted at Harvard College prepares our students to think critically and to consider the various aspects of complex situations. An officer who has been trained by the College and by the ROTC should be both firm-minded and flexible, able to act quickly when necessary and yet able to view his or her actions in the widest possible context.

Harvard President Drew Faust spoke of the connections between the Harvard community and the military, and concluded:

May the students who visit this space be inspired, as those in our past have been, by the highest ideals of the United States of America, ideals that have stood us in good stead, and ideals that continue to motivate us as we seek liberty and justice for all.

(click photos for more detail)

ribbon saber
Hall Faust
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