A year that saw Harvard strengthen its ties to the military culminated in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps commissioning ceremony for four soon-to-be Harvard graduates in Tercentenary Theatre on Wednesday.
Victoria L. Migdal ’12 and extension school student Nicole A. Unis were commissioned into the Army, Evan C. Roth ’12 was commissioned into the Navy, and Isaiah T. Peterson ’12 was commissioned into the Air Force.
“It’s something I’ve looked forward to since freshman year,” Migdal said as family members and friends gathered around her after the ceremony. “It feels really good to finally be at this point.”
After completing their oath of office and receiving their first salute from a senior officer, the new officers handed a traditional silver dollar to the senior officer.
Harvard recognized Naval ROTC in March 2011, and then recognized the Army’s ROTC this past March in an ongoing process to reinstate the ROTC on campus after a 40-year ban.
Students who complete the ROTC program are commissioned as officers in the armed forces. During the ceremony, University President Drew G. Faust, whose family has a long history of military service, reiterated the University’s renewed commitment to the armed forces.
“We must ensure that Harvard students understand military service as a choice to consider and honor even if, and perhaps especially if, they pursue other paths,” Faust said. “And we hope that students from Harvard will dedicate themselves to military service in increasing numbers using their remarkable talents to play a significant part in the responsibility and the privilege of defending our nation.”
Secretary of the Navy Ray E. Mabus, who delivered the keynote address, lauded the graduates for their dedication and diverse skill set. “We have the full range of our military ability, sitting on stage right here,” Mabus said.
At last year’s ceremony, three Harvard College seniors were commissioned into the armed forces.
Migdal said she was pleased to be commissioned in the first ceremony after the Army formally returned to campus. “I’ve worked with my cadre with since freshman year to get it recognized, so it’s definitely nice to see it back on campus,” Migdal said.
Peterson, who said he would like to see the Air Force formally recognized on campus, echoed Migdal’s sentiment.
“I’m really glad to be part of this class because President Faust has reached out to us so much and we’ve made so much process with ROTC the last four years,” Peterson said. “I really like how the relationship between Harvard and the military is improving.”
—Staff writer Rebecca D. Robbins can be reached at email@example.com.