More Than 25 Rensselaer Students To Graduate From ROTC Programs

Commissioning signifies the beginning of a student’s active military service

May 19, 2020


This month, more than 25 students from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will graduate from Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs.

Commissioning signifies the beginning of a student’s active military service. Each student will take an oath of office in his or her respective branch of service in one of three commissioning ceremonies scheduled during the month of May, coinciding with the Virtual Commencement ceremony that will be hosted by the Institute at noon on Saturday, May 23.

From Naval ROTC, 14 students will be commissioned as ensigns into active duty in the United States Navy. Future career paths for those commissioned include two surface warfare officers, three submarine officers, six student naval aviators, two student naval flight officers, and one nuclear surface warfare officer. The commissioning ceremony will be held on Friday, May 22, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will be livestreamed on the unit’s Facebook account. Rear Admiral Karl Thomas, USN, will deliver the keynote address.

The Air Force ROTC Detachment 550 at Rensselaer will commission eight graduates as second lieutenants in the United States Air Force and Space Force. These new officers will begin training to become pilots, operations analysts, tactical air control party officers, aircraft maintenance officers, intelligence officers, civil engineering officers, and space operations officers. The graduates successfully completed four years of officer training concurrent with their collegiate careers. The commissioning ceremony will take place remotely on Friday, May 22, and will include Detachment 550 cadre, graduates, cadets, and family and friends. Lieutenant Colonel Nick Graham, Commander of Air Force ROTC Det 550 and a professor of aerospace studies at Rensselaer, will deliver the keynote address.

In the Army, the Mohawk Battalion operates as the Army’s only commissioning source for colleges and universities throughout the Capital Region. Of the 14 graduates who were commissioned as second lieutenants, four were from Rensselaer. Of the 14 total commissionees, nine will go into active duty, three will go into the National Guard, and one will go into the Reserve. Five more cadets will commission at a later date. Assignment locations for the new lieutenants include: Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and Germany. The commissioning ceremony was held, virtually, on Saturday, May 16, at 2:30 p.m.

Rensselaer students engaged in ROTC programs exemplify the spirit of The New Polytechnic, a model for research and education at Rensselaer that encourages interdisciplinary collaboration to address global challenges. More info about these programs can be found at

Written By SCER Staff
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