ROTC Ceremony Commissions 13 Officers

May 13, 2014  |  by Michael Freedman

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    Niagara University ROTC cadets are sworn in as second lieutenants in the United States Army.

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    Retired Brig. Gen. Mark Bellini

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    Rev. James J. Maher, C.M.

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    Lt. Col. Paul T. Dansereau

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    2nd Lt. Andrew Spacher shares a special moment with retired Staff Sgt. Edward Barkley.

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    Retired Brig. Gen. Mark Bellini administers the oath of office

Thirteen Niagara University Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets were commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army during a ceremony held May 9, 2014, in NU’s Gallagher Center. Another two Niagara ROTC cadets will be commissioned this summer as part of the class of 2014.

This marks the 73rd consecutive year that members of NU’s Purple Eagle Battalion have taken the oath of office.

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Upon completion of the oath, administered by retired Brig. Gen. Mark Bellini, the 49th quartermaster general of the Army, family members pinned gold bars on the shoulders of the new second lieutenants:

  • Christian Beaucage (Syracuse, N.Y.)
  • Kit Burdick (Oswego, N.Y.)
  • Caleb Chin (Albany, N.Y.)
  • Erica Crane (Lockport, N.Y.)
  • Tony Evans (Seattle, Wash.)
  • Ethan Froelich (Rome, N.Y.)
  • Hilary Marshall (Boyers, Pa.)
  • Edmond Moloney (Rock Tavern, N.Y.)
  • William Olszewski (Skaneateles, N.Y.)
  • Tyler O’Neil (Framingham, Mass.)
  • Andrew Spacher (Fairport, N.Y.)
  • Charles Streb (New York, N.Y.)
  • Mitchell Willie (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.)

Ryan Sheehan (Eden, N.Y.) and Matthew Stevens (Wheatland, N.Y.) will be commissioned this summer.

“Here at Niagara University, we are committed to building a bridge to help those who need it most, whether it be in the local community or across the globe,” remarked the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., NU president. “The 15 men and women seated behind me comprise the fabric of this proverbial bridge. They are about to embark on lives and careers that require to them to extend their hand to the poor, to the destitute, to the devastated. We know they will do it well.”

The new officers joined the less than 1 percent of the United States population who have sworn to serve and protect the nation. They are part of an even smaller percentage of the Army who are responsible for the health, welfare and training of the nation’s sons and daughters during a time of continual conflict and uncertainty.

The Army ROTC program is designed to augment the college learning experience by identifying and developing future leaders. Its primary goals are to identify, instruct and commission young men and women for service as officers in the United States Army Reserve or the Army National Guard. Intermediate goals include providing students with the managerial skills necessary to organize and effectively run a student club, small business, or an Army platoon.

Niagara is regularly ranked in the top 10 percent of Army ROTC programs in the United States. The Purple Eagle Battalion’s rise to excellence culminated in 2004, when it was the top-ranked program in the nation.

In March, the Purple Eagle Battalion was one of only eight ROTC programs nationwide to be presented with the prestigious MacArthur Award, which is based on a combination of the achievement of the school’s commissioning mission and its cadets’ performance and standing on the Cadet Command’s National Order of Merit List, and its cadet retention rate.