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 UMBC selected to open first Naval ROTC unit in Maryland

Department of Naval Sciences to be established, UMBC cadets to be eligible for full four-year scholarships

On March 12, President Freeman Hrabowski and Provost Philip Rous sent an email to the UMBC community that announced a partnership with the United States Navy in order to create the first Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in the state of Maryland.

The Naval ROTC unit, one of 75 nationwide, will launch in the fall of 2016. Current freshmen as well as any other incoming freshman class will be eligible to participate in the unit. Junior year is the last year a student can be eligible to join the unit. Due to this fact, no other current students aside from the current freshman class will be able to participate.

The program spans over the course of multiple years of a student’s college career, eventually culminating in the student earning commission in the US Navy as an ensign, the junior commissioned officer ranking.

Select UMBC students who engage in this program will be receiving full four-year scholarships from the Naval Service Training Command, in order “to support their education and training for leadership positions as US Navy officers while pursuing undergraduate degrees [at UMBC],” according to the email released by Hrabowski and Rous.

The scholarships will cover all academic tuition and fees, and include a stipend for any books and living expenses. Any major is eligible to apply, and the first application period opened on April 1.

Any student who participates in this program would take courses at UMBC focusing on naval sciences while simultaneously participating in the unit’s physical training, drills and other activities.

In addition, UMBC will be establishing a Department of Naval Sciences in the College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences. A designated NSTC professor of Naval Science will be approved by UMBC and assigned to chair the department, paving and leading the way for the development and direction of the department.

On February 4, Hrabowski met with the Chief of Naval Operations Admiral, Jonathan Greenert, in order to discuss the establishment of a Naval ROTC unit at UMBC. Hrabowski gave Greenert a tour of the UMBC campus during the visit, apparently impressing Greenert with the talent of the “diverse student body and their potential to support STEM and cyber security careers upon graduation,” according to the US Navy’s website.

Currently, UMBC participates in a cross-town affiliation program with Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, College Park that enables UMBC students to participate in an Army ROTC unit and an Air Force ROTC unit, respectively.

However, cross-town affiliation means that the ROTC units are not based on UMBC campus, and so once a week each member of the ROTC unit must drive to the respective university in order to participate in unit activities and training.

With the announcement of this new Naval ROTC unit based on UMBC campus, students        will not have to leave campus in order to participate in the unit. Instead, any future cross-town university affiliates will have to come to UMBC to participate in the UMBC Naval ROTC unit.

“I am so pleased that the US Navy is establishing an NROTC program at UMBC,” said Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski. “Maryland has a strong history of supporting those who sacrifice so much to keep us safe. Now, UMBC, a longtime leader in math and science education, will grow that historic relationship as it teaches and trains our young leaders for the jobs of tomorrow.”