The annual commissioning ceremony for graduates of Xavier’s Reserve Officer Training Corps program on Friday, May 10, featured Brigadier General Margaret W. Burcham as the keynote speaker. She addressed the 17 graduating seniors, including one student from Northern Kentucky University, of Xavier’s All For One ROTC battalion who were commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Army.
The ceremony took place in the Gallagher Student Center Theatre at Xavier. Xavier's seniors also participated in the undergraduate commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11, in the Cintas Center.
Burcham took command of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, headquartered in Cincinnati, on Sept. 19, 2011. Also present was LTC Kevin Wissel, professor of Military Science for Xavier’s ROTC program, who came to Xavier from Charleston, S.C., in August 2012, where he also was the commander of the Army Corps of Engineers for that region.
Military instruction and ROTC are a long tradition at Xavier, which first offered military instruction in 1877. It became a permanent program during and after World War II. The University removed mandatory ROTC instruction in 1971. Women were allowed to enter ROTC in 1974, and in 1976 Xavier became a host school for ROTC instruction for Miami University, Thomas More College, the College of Mount St. Joseph, and Northern Kentucky University.
Xavier’s “All For One” Battalion has a number of distinguished alumni including six general officers. Currently, the highest ranking is Major General Michael Garrett, Chief of Staff XVIII Airborne Corps. Since 1991, Xavier’s ROTC program has received the General MacArthur award seven times, most recently in 2006. It identifies the top ROTC units among 272 programs across the United States, based on assessment of each program, including training, performance and GPA.