After more than four decades of absence, the United States Navy will return to the Princeton campus this fall. A new crosstown agreement between the Navy, Rutgers, and Princeton, will revive the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) program that left the university in 1971 after being established there in 1945.
The move represents a resurgence of military training on Ivy League campuses. In 1971 The Navy and Air Force discontinued their programs at Princeton, while the Army chose to stay on and entered into a contract with the University in 1972.
“In 1980 we established a crosstown agreement between Princeton, the Air Force, and Rutgers University,” said Princeton University spokesperson Martin Mbugwa, who noted that a large number of alumni who participated in the Navy ROTC program at Princeton had been encouraging the University to bring it back “in order to give this generation of students a similar opportunity.”
With the re-establishment of the NROTC program, students will have the opportunity to earn a commission in any of the three services: U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Army,” said Mr. Mbugwa.
The NROTC Unit at Rutgers, established in March 2012, was the first NROTC Program in New Jersey in over 40 years.
NROTC spokesperson Lt. Matthew Comer explained that the long absence of the Navy training program stems from the Vietnam era when some of the partnerships between the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps and colleges and universities were dissolved. “After the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Address, many Ivy League universities have once again partnered with the Navy and Marine Corps to educate and commission the future leaders of our military,” he said.
“The Navy has been working with Princeton University throughout the past year to mutually reestablish a Naval ROTC presence at Princeton,” said Lt. Comer. “We are excited at this opportunity, which will be beneficial for both Princeton and the Navy and Marine Corps. Our troops come from every corner of this country: they are black, white, Latino, Asian and Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay,” he said.
This fall, students enrolled at Princeton will be able participate in the NROTC college-option program currently being offered at Rutgers. Active duty Navy and Marine Corps instructors will teach Princeton students seeking a commission in the naval service who will be eligible for two or three-year scholarships. For high school students who have already applied to Princeton for the fall semester, applications for four-year NROTC scholarships are due February 15. The program presently pays full tuition and fees for all midshipmen with NROTC scholarships.
“We are very pleased to be able to provide our students with the opportunity to participate in Naval ROTC,” said Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber. “I have heard from many alumni about how important this program was in their lives. I am glad that this generation of students will have access to the kinds of training that the program provides and to the kinds of leadership positions for which it will prepare them.”
“My staff and I at NROTC Unit Rutgers are delighted to integrate Princeton into our program,” said Commanding Officer Captain Philip Roos of the NROTC at Rutgers University on Monday. “Training and preparing young men and women for naval service as commissioned officers in either the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps is tremendously rewarding and we’re ecstatic about expanding this opportunity with Princeton students who wish to serve. We’re really looking forward to working together with Rutgers and Princeton on building a cohesive battalion of midshipmen that brings the best from both schools and I really feel honored and privileged to command this program during such a historic occasion.”
The NROTC has recently re-established a presence at Harvard University (2011), Yale University (2012), and Columbia University (2013). There is also an NROTC program at Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania.
Princeton University also offers an Army ROTC in addition to a separate Air Force ROTC program run in partnership with Rutgers. Princeton has offered the Army ROTC program since 1919. For program information and to apply for an NROTC scholarship, visit: www.nrotc.navy.mil.