When ETSU president Dr. Brian Noland arrived on the campus of Emory & Henry College last Thursday morning, the deep roots and family connections that bind our region were clearly on his mind.Noland was on the scenic campus located just up the road from Abingdon, Virginia, along with Lt. Col. Shawn Dodge, the chair of military science at ETSU, to formalize an agreement that will allow Emory & Henry to start an Army ROTC program this fall with support from ETSU.
As he took the podium, Noland talked about the shared vision of the two institutions and how partnering on the creation of an ROTC program will help open up new opportunities for young people from around the region.
“The mission of this institution is similar to that of East Tennessee State University – to make a difference in the lives of the people who call this region home,” Noland said. “This program will provide service opportunities. It will provide access opportunities, and it will make it possible for individuals to realize their dreams.”
Thanks to this agreement, Emory & Henry becomes only the fifth private institution in Virginia to offer its students an ROTC program. Students will have the opportunity to become cadets and participate in leadership and physical training courses at ETSU while continuing their academic studies.ETSU has commissioned over 1,500 men and women as U.S. Army second lieutenants since its first commissioning ceremony in 1953 with 17 of those cadets going on to become flag officers.
“I just can’t say enough about the impact that this program is going to have on our institution, our community and those who participate,” said Charlie Quillen, Veteran Services Coordinator at Emory & Henry. “This will be a life-changing experience for those who participate, with lessons on character, self-discipline, teamwork and service to community.”
Like Noland, Dodge expressed his excitement at the prospect of strengthening the regional ties that bind our area together.
“I’m pleased to be part of a winning team at ETSU, and I support the regionalism that today’s event promotes,” Dodge said. “We are pleased to add more cadets into our battalion and eventually more commissioned officers as this partnership grows.”