Eight cadets from Florida Tech’s ROTC program were commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army at an outdoor ceremony Friday morning on campus.
The cadets are Ballard Barker, Jonathan Bruder, Jacob Hahn, Pearson Kerchner, Kasey Money, Joseph Paolucci, Gianna Petrazzulo and Kevin Taylor.
Florida Tech President Dwayne McCay, an Army veteran, offered opening remarks. “Today is a big day for all of us,” he told the assembled crowd of family, friends and Florida Tech students, faculty and staff. “Appreciate what is happening, appreciate what you are going to do with your life.”
The guest speaker was the Honorable Patrick J. Murphy. A third-generation veteran, Murphy, like the cadets he addressed Friday, was commissioned as a second lieutenant some 25 years ago. He later served in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps as a criminal prosecutor and as an assistant professor in the Department of Law at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. Following the attacks of 9/11, Murphy served two overseas deployments in Bosnia and Iraq. He later served as the U.S. Representative for the 8th Congressional District of Pennsylvania. In 2016, he was appointed as the 32nd undersecretary of the Army and chief management officer by then-President Barack Obama.
He welcomed the newly commissioned cadets to the “warrior class,” noting that less than 1 percent of Americans will answer the call to service.
“The fact that you chose to serve during this defining moment in our history is pretty special. It comes with awesome responsibility,” he said.
Murphy later said, “Use your diploma, use this commissioning, to make a difference. This is your Army. Make a difference. Every single one of you are leaders of character, leaders of character committed to a lifetime of service.”