The U.S. Army Cadet Command at Fort Knox, Ky., announced last week that Georgia Southern University's Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program was one of the eight winners of the prestigious MacArthur Award for the 2014-2015 school year.
Georgia Southern was selected as the top program from the 6th Brigade Army ROTC, which includes 39 programs from six states and Puerto Rico. This marks the Eagle Battalion's third MacArthur Award since 2009.
Lt. Col. Erik Kjonnerod, professor of military science, praised the Battalion for its recent accolades.
"Congratulations to all of our cadets, cadre and staff on winning the coveted General Douglas MacArthur Award for 2015," he said. "Your commitment, dedication and determination is evident on a daily basis. I am proud to serve with all of you and thank you for consistently going above and beyond the call of duty! Strength and Honor!"
Cadet Command oversees eight Brigades comprised of 275 senior Army ROTC programs nationwide. The award recognizes the top program from each of the eight Brigades and is presented by Cadet Command and the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Foundation. Awards are based on overall performance, National Order of Merit List standings and cadet retention rate.
"This award is a well-deserved honor and a testament to the dedication of those involved in the ROTC program. We are excited to watch these cadets continue to excel in their endeavors," said Interim university President Jean Bartels, Ph.D, R.N.
Other MacArthur Award winners for FY15 include:
• 1st Brigade - Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Virginia
• 2nd Brigade - University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont
• 3rd Brigade - University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, Wisconsin
• 4th Brigade - University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
• 5th Brigade - University of Houston, Houston, Texas
• 7th Brigade - Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee
• 8th Brigade - University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon
The Eagle Battalion was also recently recognized by the 6th Brigade for having the Top Nursing Program for 2015, Highest GPA for Mission Set 17, and exceeded the contract goal for STEM Cadets for Mission Set 17.
The Eagle Battalion ROTC program soon will have a new home on campus with construction currently underway for the university's Military Science building. The new 32,000-square-foot building, located on campus at the corner of Forest Drive and Old Register Road, will consist of a large auditorium, meeting rooms, classrooms, storage space and faculty and administrative offices.
In April 2014, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal approved the state budget, which included $9.5 million in funding allocated to build the new building.