Today in NC State History: No more mandatory ROTC

November 10, 2012
By Bill Krueger

PrintFor years, every student at NC State was required to take part in military training through ROTC. It was an essential part of the campus experience for any student who studied at NC State.

That changed in the 1960s.

“Though long a source of campus pride, the Air Force and Army programs came under increasing fire in the early 1960s from faculty members who considered them extra-curricular activities,” Alice Elizabeth Reagan wrote in North Carolina State University: A Narrative History. “Students also expressed some discontent with the mandatory two-year course because it was time consuming.”

Reagan says Washington officials were interested in scaling back ROTC programs. They were not convinced that it made sense to provide officers and the materials necessary to provide the training to all university students. In 1963, officials replaced the basic ROTC course with a summer camp, hoping to attract better students.

Students from Meredith College have fun with ROTC cadets during their initiation into the National Society of Pershing Rifles in 1962

Students from Meredith College have fun with ROTC cadets during their initiation into the National Society of Pershing Rifles in 1962

In response to the changes coming from Washington, the Faculty Senate at NC State voted on this day in 1964 to abolish compulsory ROTC. The trustees for the state university system approved the change the following year, ending the days of compulsory military training for all NC State students.

“ROTC continued to have a special place at NC State, however, and many students elected to include military science in their studies,” Reagan wrote.

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