Military training at Marquette dates to October 1918 when a unit of the Students Army Training Corps of the United States was established on campus as part of the World War I effort—it was demobilized at the end of the war. In 1940, a Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps unit was established at Marquette, and in 1951, the United States Army Corps of Engineers started an Army ROTC branch at the university’s request.
The program has been highly successful since. The Marquette ROTC Wall of Fame includes four alumni who have the rank of Brigadier General or higher. And out of 270 ROTC programs across the United States, the Marquette Army ROTC program ranks in the top 10% of units nationwide in a five-year average. Today there are nearly 85 cadets enrolled in the program from across the U.S.
Lt. Col. Timothy Shebesta, professor of military science and commander of the Marquette Army ROTC Golden Eagle Battalion, credits the program’s success to its dedicated cadre and faculty who train and develop quality cadets year after year.
“Once in the program, the cadets work hard to make themselves better,” Shebesta says. “They train together during personal time, increasing their physical fitness and knowledge. They also create clubs, like our Recondo Club, where they study techniques and materials in great detail.”
For junior Shea O’Connor, the Marquette’s Army ROTC program has helped her grow in every aspect of her life.
“Through this program, I have been able to challenge myself in new ways— balancing ROTC, academics and my personal life. Over the years, I have learned my leadership style, how to best communicate with others and help them become the best they can be,” she says.
It’s a reciprocal relationship between Marquette and the Army ROTC program— the university enrolls academically excellent students and, in turn, ROTC receives highly qualified cadets who go on to serve our country with a grounding in Marquette’s Catholic, Jesuit mission and values.
“The Army ROTC program is proud to be part of Maquette and help provide financial and moral support to students earning prestigious degrees,” Shebesta says. “We offer incredible scholarships to students, including tuition, monthly stipends and school supply money. When this is paired with room and board proposals from the university, cadets are able to focus on their studies without financial worries.”
For O’Connor, ROTC has become a second home.
“I was able to find a family at school that challenges and supports me, and the friends I’ve made in ROTC have been some of the greatest people I have ever met,” she says. “It sounds cliché, but it really has become my home away from home.”