HARVARD YARD, 7 June 2006 -- Outgoing Harvard President Lawrence Summers received a letter of thanks for his support of ROTC from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at the annual Commissioning Ceremony for Harvard's graduating ROTC students. On a day filled with drenching rainstorms, brightly lit electronic signs guided the way to the ceremony in Harvard Yard's Tercentenary Theatre where 3 Army cadets and 6 Midshipmen received their commissions.
President Summers said "our country is best served when great universities like this one stand with those who defend the freedom that makes it possible for us to do all the wonderful things that we are able to do here". He received many expressions of appreciation, including a letter of thanks from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who wrote "As you depart your duties as President of one of America's most renowned institutions, I ask that you accept my thanks for your support of another great institution -- the Armed Forces, and in particular its Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). Your support has been enormously constructive to the objectives of both our institutions". Summers responded "I look forward to the day when it will be a matter of routine, and not reason for comment, that the leader of an Ivy League university will be a strong supporter of ROTC".
Roger Pardo-Maurer (Yale '84), Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs came to commissioning to honor graduating midshipman Peter H. Brooks, who did an internship with him in the summer of 2003. Pardo-Maurer recounted how Brooks took a large leadership role in conceiving and implementing the Enduring Friendship Initiative for hemispheric cooperation, the only new foreign military cooperation program funded by Congress this year. Describing the graduating cadets and midshipmen, Pardo-Maurer said "Our country is literally getting refreshed before our eyes".
LTC Leo McGonagle, Professor of Military Science at MIT and leader of the Army ROTC Brigade in which Harvard students serve noted that all this year's graduates were post 9/11 volunteers, and he urged them "don't compromise on standards". COL (ret) Kenneth G. Swan '56 MD spoke to the graduates and asked "why are there so few of you" and told of many Harvard graduates who were great military heroes. The accomplishments of Chairman emeritus of Advocates for Harvard ROTC David Clayman '38 were noted and he received particular expressions of appreciation from President Summers, the graduates and members of Advocates for Harvard ROTC and the Harvard ROTC Alumni Fund.
Receiving Army commissions were Second Lieutenants James T. Dowell, Rachel R. Sarvis, and Brandon M. Trama. Receiving Navy commissions were Second Lieutenant Peter H. Brooks (USMC), and Ensigns Catherine A. Cohn, William W. Craig, Joseph S. Payne, Andrew M. Salamon and Charles W. Schellhorn Jr.
(click photos for more detail)