A Reserve Officers’ Training Corps was established at UC in 1919, following the conclusion of World War I. The plan was to have four units, Coast (heavy) Artillery, Infantry, Engineers, and Signal Corps, however initially only the Coast Artillery and Engineers were created. At the outset of the program, all male students in the College of Engineering and Commerce were required to complete the first two years of the program and the second two years were voluntary. Those completing all four years and summer camps were commissioned as officers in the U.S. Army Officers’ Reserve Corps. The program consisted of a mixture of classroom instruction, military drill, and physical training for a total of 108 hours per year in the first two years and 180 hours per year in the advanced years.

In 1923, an Ordnance Unit was added to the ROTC program to provide training in Mechanical Engineering for military application. ROTC was suspended from 1942-1946, during World War II. It was reactivated in 1946 with three units, the Army Air Force (which became the independent Air Force ROTC the following year), Coast Artillery Corps, and Ordnance. Most participants were veterans. Former UC student and ROTC cadet Edward Barber, then an army colonel, became professor of military science in the newly activated ROTC.

In the 1960s, with debate about Vietnam raging through the country, a campaign was started by some students to remove the accreditation of ROTC at UC, stating that the role of ROTC was inconsistent with the goals of an educational instititution. With a vote of 22 to 5, the student senate decided that ROTC was appropriate and military courses continued to carry college credit.

1921 Coast Artillery and Engineers


1936 Coast Artillery and Ordnance 


1964 AROTC summer camp


1978 Commissioning

John Cray is commissioned into the U.S. Army.


Disassembling the M16

Cadets at Advanced Camp become familiar with the Army’s M16-A1 rifle.