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commencement exercises for the fall of 2019 semester
Five ROTC Army cadets are commissioned during fall 2019 commencement in Thompson-Boling Arena.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Army ROTC program recently received the 2020 MacArthur Award for excellence in performance, retention, and training. UT is one of eight schools selected out of 274 senior Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps units nationwide, showing outstanding work in preparing commissioned officers for service in the US Army.

“Every day I am impressed by our cadets’ commitment and service, and the way they demonstrate what it means to be a Volunteer,” said Chancellor Donde Plowman. “This is a tremendous honor for our cadets and the entire Army ROTC program at UT. I am so proud of this program, our cadets, ROTC alumni, Lt. Col. Howe and his entire leadership team for earning this most-deserved national recognition.”

The awards—which were presented by Major General John Evans, commander of US Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox, and the General Douglas MacArthur Foundation—recognize the ideals of duty, honor, and country as advocated by General Douglas MacArthur. Awards are based on the achievement of the school’s commissioning mission, its cadets’ performance and standing on the command’s National Order of Merit List, and its cadet retention rate. Cadet Command and the General Douglas MacArthur Foundation have given the awards each year since 1989.

“The Volunteer culture embodies selfless service, putting others first, showing dignity, respect, and living a values-based life, making Rocky Top a great environment for our cadets to learn intangible and invaluable leadership traits before they have the opportunity to lead and serve,” said Lieutenant Colonel Justin Howe, professor of military science and the director of Army ROTC at UT.

Howe credits the steadfast support of UT’s administrators and faculty along with the resources of Army headquarters at Fort Knox, Kentucky, as big reasons for the continued success of UT’s Army ROTC program.

“The support that the UT Army ROTC program receives from Chancellor [Donde] Plowman, President [Randy] Boyd, our UT Army ROTC Alumni Council, friends, and families is absolutely unmatched,” he said. “We are able to provide the best training opportunities across US Army Cadet Command for the cadets in our program. As a result, our commissioned second lieutenants are better prepared to immediately lead soldiers when they graduate, attend their Basic Officer Leader Course, and serve at their first assignment.”

Colonel Brent Clemmer will travel from Fort Knox to present the award in May to Howe and Plowman at the Army ROTC spring commissioning ceremony.

UT’s Army ROTC program is one of the oldest in the country, tracing its roots to the founding of the university in 1794. The program was officially founded in 1916 when ROTC was created at the national level. Visit UT’s Army ROTC website to learn more about the program.


Maddie Stephens (865-974-3993,