More Than 25 Rensselaer Students To Graduate From ROTC Programs

May 19, 2020

More Than 25 Rensselaer Students To Graduate From ROTC Programs

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

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


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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community made up of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include upwards of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit