Pacific Lutheran University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps program earned its third MacArthur Award in the last four years last Friday. Winning this award demonstrates why the program is one of the top eight ROTC programs out of more than 275 in the country.
PLU previously earned the award for the 2009-10 and 2011-12 academic years, according to Lt. Col. Kevin Keller, who said the award was a huge achievement.
“We are very honored to win yet another MacArthur Award,” President Thomas Krise said in a press release.
The MacArthur Award goes to the top program in each of the country’s eight brigades.
PLU represents the Cadet Commands Eighth Brigade, which includes 30 units in Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Guam.
The MacArthur Award is earned, based on the programs’ academics, the cadets nationwide rank on the National Order of Merit List and the cadets’ performance and retention and commissioning rates.
“It feels really good,” junior Connor Rowell said. “It demonstrates our continued effort in and out of the classroom.”
Keller attributes the PLU ROTC’s success to the 90 cadets in the program.
“They are incredibly positive, driven, motivated men and women always pursuing excellence,” Keller said. “I come to work every day honored and proud to work with them. I’m lucky.”
Earning the award also helps the program recruit more cadets.
“I couldn’t have picked a better school to do ROTC at,” Rowell said.
When Keller interviews prospective cadets, he tells them if they join the PLU program, they will be in one of the best in the nation. Keller also tells them about the overall quality of the university and about the benefits of its small community.
Seniors mentor the underclassmen in ROTC, something that might not happen at larger universities.
“They are right down with them,” Keller said.
Sophomore Georgia Lamb said she feels super fortunate to be a part of it.
“For me personally, the award makes me want to push myself harder,” Lamb said. ◼︎

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