URIs ROTC alumni establish
scholarship at alma mater
KINGSTON, R.I. -- September 9, 2003 -- University of Rhode Island Army Reserve Officers Training Program (ROTC) alumni developed responsibility, self-confidence, and leadership ability to be successful, not only in the military, but in civilian life as well. Now those alumni want to help cadets do the same at their alma mater.
To accomplish that the URI ROTC Alumni Association kicked off an endowment campaign this month designed to help recruit outstanding candidates to the program. The initial goal is to raise $20,000.
"The leadership of our Army of the future comes from our military academies AND from the Reserve Officers Training Program with its many college campus academic programs," said Lt. Col. (retired) Paul Helweg, 70, past president of the URI ROTC Alumni Association who helped spearhead the endowment initiative. "The degree of excellence is largely measured by the quality of the student entering the program. We expect to be able to attract the best and the brightest candidates with the added support this endowment can provide.
The need for an endowment came out of discussion with Lt. Col. Paul Krajeski, professor of military science and head of the ROTC program.
"Its fantastic. They really care," said Krajeski of the alumni association efforts, noting that the ROTC program was established at URI in 1916. There are about 140 officers on active duty today and dozens more in the reserve component who graduated from the URI program.
Competition among colleges and universities for the top-notch cadets is intense. "There are 21 schools that offer Army ROTC in the northeast," says Krajeski. "All of them, including URI, offer cadets four-year tuition scholarships. Those schools that are able to provide a full room and board incentive with the tuition scholarship have a competitive advantage. Combined with funds graciously provided by the University of Rhode Island, the new endowment will undoubtedly improve our competitiveness."
"Why not bring in talented academic candidates who will graduate from our university and excel in all academic endeavors here? We hope to be in a position someday to present a senior with his or her degree, a commission in the U.S. Army, and an academic recognition such as a Rhodes Scholarship," said Helweg.
The alumni association will initiate a fundraising activity this fall, according to Helweg who with Maj. Gen. Ken Quinlan, 73; Col. (Retired) Phil Saulnier, 62, and Lt. Col. (Retired) Ted Higgins, 71 have made leadership endowment gifts.
"We also received a $1,000 gift from the undergraduate ROTC cadets at URI," noted Helweg. "What an incredible donation on their part."
Helweg said the association will be contacting other ROTC alumni and friends worldwide. The past president said there is enthusiastic, early support from many of the alumni, including the 127 newly "found" alumni that were located last spring and added to a master ROTC e-mail address book. There are now 357 active ROTC alumni.
Anyone interested in donating to the "The University of Rhode Cramers Sabers Reserve Officer Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) Battalion Fund, should contact Tom Zorabedian, senior development officer for the College of Arts and Sciences, 401-874-2853 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.