The Army ROTC program at the University of Virginia has received an award for excellence from the U.S. Army’s Cadet Command and the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Foundation.
The award, created to memorialize the ideals of duty, honor and country advocated by MacArthur, is given for achievement in the unit’s commissioning goals, its standing on the command’s Order of Merit list and its cadet retention rate. There are 273 Army ROTC programs nationwide divided into eight brigades, with only one MacArthur Award given in each brigade. There are 38 schools in the brigade to which U.Va. belongs, including the University of Delaware, Georgetown, Duke, Wake Forest and last year’s winner, the University of Maryland. This is the first time U.Va. has received the award since the Army started bestowing it in 1989.
“They look at academic grade-point average, and military ranking and leadership development,” said Lt. Col. Michael Binetti, commander of U.Va.’s Army ROTC program. “U.Va. has met or exceeded its goals in commissioning second lieutenants for the last three years.”
Two U.Va. cadets, Aimee Moores and Joseph Riley, rank in the top 10 – out of 5,579 cadets nationwide – in the Army’s Order of Merit list. These rankings are determined by a number of criteria, including grade-point average, strong athletic participation and demonstrated abilities during college ROTC training. Another determining factor for a cadet’s national ranking is performance during the Leader Development and Assessment Course, held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash.
Moores, of Gaithersburg, Md., plans to attend medical school and follow the example of her parents, who are both doctors and Army colonels. She is currently a mathematics major with a pre-med concentration in the College of Arts & Sciences.
Riley, of Etowah, Tenn., a double-major in Mandarin Chinese and the politics honors program in the College, has received a Rhodes Scholarship, a Truman Scholarship and a language scholarship through "Project GO," as well as being a Jefferson Scholar, an Echols Scholar and a Lawn resident.
Having students such as Moores and Riley help the program, Binetti said, but the program also attracts cadets of their caliber.
“U.Va. is a great, high-performing university,” Binetti said. “The quality of the student here is unsurpassed and the University has embraced the ROTC program.”
He said the MacArthur Award, which will be represented by a wall plaque, gives the program a mark of distinction.
“It gives U.Va. an advantage to compete against the service academies such as West Point,” Binetti said.