The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


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February 23, 2024

ROTC cadets receive honor

Gannon University ROTC cadets Mitchell Carroll and Eric Stormer have recently been recognized with the distinction of the Distinguished Military Graduate this fall, as both students were ranked in the top 20 percent of all ROTC graduates in the nation for 2014.

According to Raymond Patterson, ROTC recruitment officer, the Distinguished Military Graduate is a recognition received based on academic performance, leadership and physical fitness over the course of three years of being in the program. The award is the only recognition that will go into the cadets’ official army personnel file after graduating in May.

The cadets were among the 1,095 students who received the recognition nationwide. A total of 5,478 seniors competed for the award across the United States.

Receiving the award wasn’t an easy task for either Stormer or Mitchell. Both cadets have a hectic schedule. The two are usually awake by 5:30 a.m. to attend physical training from 6-7 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Their days might last until 6 p.m. or later, depending on the number of meetings and classes they have scheduled.

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On Tuesdays and Thursdays, cadets attend ROTC class and a weekly staff call, a meeting of ROTC cadets at Gannon, Mercyhurst University and Penn State University.

Lt. Col. Bradley Nadig, a professor of military science, said Stormer and Carroll are “phenomenal” leaders by example, who possess the work ethic, desire and a love of learning.

“The fact the United States Army has recognized them as National Distinguished Military Graduates is no small feat – it’s a recognition that speaks volumes about the academic standards enforced by Gannon University,” he said. “Both Eric and Mitchhave maintained a cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.8 and higher while simultaneously balancing their day between academics, extra-curricular activities and their military requirements as cadets.”

Carroll and Stormer devote about 15 hours a week to ROTC, in addition to the number of hours both allocate to their full-time studies. These time commitments, Stormer said, limit his ability to participate in other extracurricular clubs and organizations.

“I think the biggest thing is just that I couldn’t get involved in clubs or sports more,” Stormer, who is a senior political science major, said. “Some kids are involved in sports and that definitely takes from their time in ROTC and academics.”

Carroll, who is a senior criminal justice major, echoed Stormer’s sentiments, saying that their schedules leave little room for much else.

“The time adds up when you consider everything, especially the time you devote to things at home after you get out of school,” he said. “If you have a training event on the weekend then you’re gonna get taken away and miss out on some opportunities to be with your friends.

“ROTC comes first before anything.”

Nadig said Stormer and Carroll allowed their discipline in academic learning to carry over in their military requirements.

“The greatest challenge is to establish the correct priorities in your day-to-day schedule to allow yourself to succeed in both military and academic requirements,” he said.

One way Carroll stays on top of things is by creating a checklist and using a daily planner.

“You just have to wake up every day and see what you have on that planner for the day and then break it down and hit it one by one,” he said.

Being an ROTC student proved both challenging and beneficial for Stormer, who said the program taught him life-long lessons.

“I learned time management and how to focus on getting a task or a goal done,” he said. “I learned how to work with other people both as a leader and a follower – as part of a group with the same mission.

“The program also teaches you how you’re expected to carry yourself and expected to get things done and take your own initiative – not to sit around and wait for people to tell you what to do.”

Nadig said both cadets have grown in several areas during their time at Gannon. He said he witnessed a growth of confidence in their decision-making abilities.

“Eric is our battalion commander this year and Mitch is our battalion executive officer – the two toughest jobs in the battalion that have the greatest impact on how the organization runs,” he said. “They both have made very tough decisions this year that literally will have a very positive impact for next year’s seniors who will be in charge of the ‘Pride of Pennsylvania’ Army ROTC Battalion.”

With more than three years of experience under his belt, Carroll advises future ROTC cadets to be aware of how they’re perceived by those around them.

“Pay attention to how you’re viewed, pay attention to your senior cadets and your senior officers and just take it all in for the first couple of years and then when it’s your turn to become a leader, make sure you hit the ground running and do it full force,” he said.

“You’re wearing a uniform, you’re representing something bigger than yourself so you can’t act inappropriately.”

Upon graduation, both Carroll and Stormer plan to go to military police school at Fort Leonard, in Missouri. Afterward, Carroll said he hopes to get into Fort Carson army installation in Colorado while Stormer said he hopes to get into Fort Campbell army installation in Kentucky.

Gannon currently has 40 cadets enrolled. ROTC began at the University in the 1947-1948 academic school year and since this time, Gannon University has commissioned 1,143 officers. The university has been recognized by the Department of Defense as a Military Commemorative Community based on its contributions to the military during World War II. 


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