In the midst of a busy commencement season with ceremonies across seven campuses around Indiana during which Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie and other university leaders address thousands of graduates and their proud friends and family, 19 IU Army ROTC cadets received special recognition.
At the recent IU Army ROTC commissioning ceremony, McRobbie noted that the oath the student soldiers took made the event stand out among the other celebrations over which he would preside.
"The special significance of today’s commissioning ceremony is due above all else to the noble call to leadership and service that you, the Class of 2018, are honoring," he told the students in uniform assembled at Whittenberger Auditorium. "As officers in the United States Army, you will take responsibility for others. The education and training you have received here has prepared you to shoulder this weighty task."
Kevin Carney, IU graduate and 2nd Lieutenant, who took the Oath of Commissioned Officers that day, knows what he has learned will serve him in the future as he prepares to attend an Engineer Basic Officer Leader Course in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and fulfill his active duty service at Fort Hood in Texas.
"Throughout these four years I have been coached, mentored and developed by amazing cadets, cadre and staff of the Bison Battalion, " he said. "The things I have learned here will be carried with me the rest of my career."
During the ceremony, the cadets raised their right hands and took a solemn oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. After taking the oath, they became 2nd Lieutenants in the U.S. Army.
"Taking the Oath of Commissioned Officers was the culmination of four years of hard work and dedication to an outstanding ROTC program," Carney said. "I couldn’t have been happier to share that experience with my classmates, friends and family."
McRobbie acknowledged the academic achievements of the students as well as the distinction the Class of 2018 brought to IU's historic and highly ranked ROTC program.
"The vast majority—89 percent—of the 19 cadets being commissioned today are graduating with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher," McRobbie said. "Nine members of the Bloomington ROTC Class of 2018 are Distinguished Military graduates, which ranks them in the top 20 percent of all cadets in the United States. And two of the cadets being commissioned today rank among the top 10 percent of cadets in the nation. Indiana University is proud of all of you."
For Carney, hearing directly from the university's president gave the ceremony special significance.
"It was very special to have President McRobbie attend and speak to us," he said. "It makes it that much more meaningful that the university and President McRobbie personally wanted to recognize our achievement."
During the ceremony, McRobbie presented Jeff Chitwood with the President's Award, which is given to the outstanding graduating senior commissioned as Second Lieutenant through the IU Army ROTC.
He congratulated all of the graduates.
"You truly represent the very best of IU, including our community values, our pride in serving our nation, and our commitment to excellence in all that we do," he said.