Virginia Tech Magazine
Corps of Cadets -|- Fall 2006

Corps maintains its legacy of leadership
by Rock Roszak '71

The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets (VTCC) is known for its embodiment of the traditions at Virginia Tech and its focus on the university motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). The corps also has an enviable track record in producing leaders. More than 100 alumni have risen to the rank of general or admiral and seven alumni have been awarded the Medal of Honor, numbers surpassed only by West Point and Annapolis.

What many don't know, however, is that the corps has undergone a significant restructuring since the mid '90s under the leadership of two commandants of cadets, Maj. Gen. Stan Musser and Maj. Gen. Jerry Allen. A generous gift from Bill Goodwin (mechanical engineering '62) in honor of Clifford A. Cutchins (accounting '44) and Maj. Gen. W. Thomas Rice (civil engineering '34) spurred this revitalization of the corps by establishing the Cutchins Distinguished Lecture Series and the Rice Center for Leader Development. Underlying both of these programs is Cadet Leader School, three five-session classes taught each spring to the rising sophomore, junior, and senior classes to help them prepare for their greater leadership responsibilities the following year.

Corps of Cadets
2006 Undergraduate Student Leader of the Year Christina Royal (sociology '06),
the second consecutive female cadet to earn this award.

The renewed focus on the corps of cadets is paying off tangibly. For example, the number of Virginia Tech cadets commissioned into the armed services has risen dramatically during the past 10 years. Our Navy ROTC detachment produces the most naval and marine officers outside of Annapolis, and the Army and Air Force ROTC detachments are among the largest in the nation. Each year, the VTCC commissions twice the percentage of graduating students compared to other senior military colleges, such as VMI, Texas A&M, and The Citadel.

The revitalization of the corps of cadets has been visible on campus. Four times in the past eight years, the university has named a cadet as its Undergraduate Man of the Year, the past three undergraduate student leaders of the year have been cadets, and senior cadets are selected to Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities at five times the rate of civilian students. These numbers are significant because the VTCC comprises just 3 percent of the undergraduate student body.

Corps of Cadets
One stellar representative of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets is the 2006 Undergraduate Man of the Year, Ben Thomas (mechanical engineering '06). An outstanding engineering student, Thomas served as the drum major of the Highty-Tighties two years ago and last year chaired the Corps Executive Committee, running the cadet disciplinary system. Thomas, who joined the Air Force, is now working on his master's degree in engineering management from the Air Force Institute of Technology.

Another exemplary cadet is 2006 Undergraduate Student Leader of the Year Christina Royal (sociology '06), the second consecutive female cadet to earn this award. During the fall 2005 semester, Royal not only served as regimental commander, overseeing a 750-member regiment, but also showcased her academic excellence by achieving a perfect 4.0 GPA. Now in the Air Force, Royal serves as an officer in the Office of Special Investigations in Texas.

2006 Undergraduate Man of the Year Ben Thomas (mechanical engineering '06) leading the Highty-Tighties.

The leadership legacy of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets remains strong. Ours is a learning environment in which, 24/7, cadets study, observe, and practice leadership and hear lectures from leaders so that they are prepared for life after graduation--whether in the military or as leaders in business and education. The results tell us that the program is working.

Col. Rock Roszak '71, USAF (Ret.), is the alumni director for the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets.

Corps of Cadets

A formation of some of the 224 members of the new cadet Class of 2010 passes by the "That I May Serve: Nick Brantley Memorial" HokieBird on the Upper Quad.

One of 75 decorated HokieBirds stationed around Blacksburg as part of "Gobble de Art," this statue was purchased by family, friends, and members of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Class of 2001 to honor the memory of Navy Lt. Thomas N. "Nick" Brantley (communication '01), who was lost in September 2005 when his SH-60 helicopter went down off the Carolina coast during night training operations.

For more on today’s corps, read the new Corps of Cadets page in each issue of Virginia Tech Magazine.

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