Niagara University announced this week that its U.S. Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps - 2nd Brigade, Purple Eagle Battalion - was recognized for excellence during the 2009-10 school year.
The Purple Eagle Battalion completed its assigned mission by commissioning 14 new Army lieutenants, placing Niagara's battalion among the top performers of Cadet Command's 273 units last year. Its achievement demonstrates excellence in the overall Army ROTC program and exemplifies the hard work and dedication of the cadets, cadre and staff.
"This achievement recognizes the commendable support that Niagara University provides to the Purple Eagle Battalion's cadets in the Army ROTC program," wrote U.S. Army Maj. Gen. James M. McDonald in a letter to the Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., NU president. "We sincerely appreciate the tremendous effort on behalf of your administration and faculty, and look forward to continued success in our partnership. We trust you are as proud of these young leaders as we are."
NU's cadets aren't resting on their laurels either, as they are poised to commission an unprecedented 17 second lieutenants at this May's commencement, earning NU the No. 3 ranking out of the 41 universities that are part of the ROTC 2nd Brigade for 2010-11. Two of the class' graduating seniors, Ryan Marquette and Jonathan Liggitt, have earned national rankings of 25 and 45, respectively, out of more than 5,000 cadets training in the Army's 273 ROTC host programs nationwide.
"What an incredible honor it is to receive formal recognition from the United States Army Cadet commanding general," said Lt. Col. Ivan D. Evans, chair of the Department of Military Science in Niagara's Army ROTC program. "The support provided to our program by Niagara University's administrators, faculty and staff forms the bedrock of our many successes."
NU has a long history of honoring and supporting military students, veterans and their families. The university's Army ROTC program is consistently ranked among the best in the country, garnering the No. 1 standing in the U.S. in 2004 for recruitment, retention and quality of training.
Military alumni of NU include two Medal of Honor recipients, Gen. William Donovan and Lt. John Bobo, and a humanitarian nominated for sainthood, Father Nelson Baker. Being in close proximity to the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station and the regional Military Entrance Processing Station, NU is responsive to the unique needs of military students, veterans and dependents.
This past fall, the university was designated by G.I. Jobs magazine as a "Military Friendly School" for 2011. The honor ranks NU in the top 15 percent of all colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide that are doing the most to embrace America's veterans as students.
To that end, NU's Office of Alumni Relations is planning to unveil a "Pantheon of Niagara Warriors" during this October's Alumni Weekend festivities. The monument will honor all graduates of NU's ROTC program who have been commissioned to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. The event will take place in addition to the annual ROTC Military Alumni Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
NU participates in the Department of Veterans Affairs GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program, a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008.
For more information on NU ROTC, visit www.purple.niagara.edu/rotc.