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Historical Note

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Title:Reserve Officers’ Training Corps records
Dates:1949-1981 (bulk 1951-1969)
Call Number:A38

Historical Note

Northeastern's Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) division was formed in January 1951 with two units, the Corps of Engineers and the Signal Corps.  Actual instruction began the following September.  ROTC trained young men (and later young women) to become officers in the United States Army by providing both academic instruction and physical training.  A military presence was not a novelty; in both 1918 and 1943-1944 the United States government implemented military training programs at Northeastern.  The Student Army Training Corps (1918) and the Army Specialized Training Program (1943-1944), however, disbanded once the wars ended.

ROTC enrolled 886 men in its inaugural year, and at the end of the decade membership reached 2,800.  By the early 1960s, the University's ROTC program had become the largest in the country.  The creation of numerous ROTC-related clubs throughout the 1950s, such as the ROTC Band, the Military Affiliate Radio System Radio Club, the Society of Military Engineers, and the Student Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, attested to its growing popularity.  By the mid-1960s, however, enrollment began to decline.  Only 200 students participated in ROTC in 1975, and at the end of the 1990s approximately 120 were involved.  Partially to blame for this decrease in enrollment throughout the 1960s and early 1970s was anti-war sentiment held by a segment of the student body and University faculty.  Protesting ROTC on campus during this time became part of an overall anti-Vietnam War campaign.  Although both student and faculty groups tried repeatedly, through demonstrations and formal complaints, to dissolve the ROTC at Northeastern, a majority of the campus population supported the organization, allowing it to survive.
Jan 1951NU receives approval for an Army ROTC program.
Sep 1951ROTC instruction begins.
1959ROTC receives a "Certificate of Achievement" from Secretary of the Army William M. Brucker.
1964ROTC Vitalization Act passed. The Corps of Engineers and the Signal Corps become the General Military Science program.
1967Anti-ROTC sentiment begins to appear.
1973Women allowed to join.
1951-1953Col. Howard Price
1953-1958Col. Murray D. Harris
1958-1960Col. Sidney S. Davis
1960-1961Lt. Col. Arthur E. Cotter
1961-1963Col. John David Evans Jr.
1963-1965Col. Donald L. Adams
1965-1969Col. Frederick H. Palmbland
1969-1972Col. Richard C. Moran
1972-1973Lt. Col. Robert D. Sullivan
1973-1976Lt. Col. Clifford J. Fralen
1976-1980Lt. Col. John W. Peters
1980-1985Lt. Col. Richard A. James
1985-1988Lt. Col. Thomas J. Griffin III
1988-1993Lt. Col. Anthony J. Hoss
1993-1997Lt. Col. Marion M. Ferguson
1997-1998Lt. Col. Richard W. Lacroix
1998-2000Lt. Col. Richard D. Bourgault
2000-2005Lt. Col. Thomas Crea
2005-Lt. Col. David C. Nadeau

Frederick, Antoinette. Northeastern University - An Emerging Giant: 1959-1975. Boston, Massachusetts: Northeastern University, 1982.

Marston, Everett C. Origin and Development of Northeastern University 1898-1960. Boston, Massachusetts: Northeastern University, 1961.

Northeastern University Colleges General Information. Northeastern University ROTC website (