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Collins sees the SU ROTC program as an important stepping stone in her career. "The whole experience at SU had an impact on me," Collins says. "Being an SU student, living in the dorms, the hours I spent in the library studying. I learned discipline and leadership in the ROTC. It was a way to perfect your leadership skills in a laboratory atmosphere before you had to use them in the real world."|
Collins still recalls the first time she made a presentation to her fellow ROTC cadets. "I gave a talk on leadership to about 20 people and I was scared to death," she says. "But since I've graduated from ROTC, I've been an instructor in three different kinds of airplanes, I've been a classroom instructor. When I was honored as the first woman shuttle commander in a White House ceremony, I stood up with the President and Mrs. Clinton and gave a talk. I wasn't even nervous. I wanted to say the right thing to the people in the audience, but I wasn't nearly as nervous as I was in that ROTC class back in 1976."
College of Visual and Performing Arts alumnus Donald Rorke '54, G'64, is president and chief executive officer of Steuben, a division of Corning Incorporated. He was an Army ROTC cadet for two years during his undergraduate studies in industrial design. With Maj. Gen. Max Baratz, Rorke is one of two former cadets named last year to the SU Army ROTC Hall of Fame. For Rorke, ROTC was where he grew up. "
The leadership elements and principles that were taught in ROTC were certainly part of my maturing process," he says. "For me ROTC and design represented the transition from theoretical, purely academic work, to the applied, where you were actually dealing with circumstances that were real. ROTC helped me in the transition from being a young student in a fraternity on a college campus to being an adult with a lot of direct responsibility, dealing with a lot of people and their morale and welfare. After graduation and going on active duty, there you are, faced with a couple hundred people who you're responsible for. There is a dramatic and quick maturing process that takes place because it is so real."
Army Maj. Gen. Max Baratz '56 is a College of Arts and Sciences graduate who recently retired from his posts as chief of Army Reserve and commander of the Army Reserve Command. He remembers meeting on the SU Quad "before it was all full of buildings" and when Skytop was nothing but prefabricated structures left over from World War II. Of the 11,000 undergraduate students on campus at the time, 1,500 were ROTC cadets, according to Baratz. "If you were a freshman or sophomore, you could go to a large class and find 20 percent of the class in uniform," he says. "In those days, there was both the draft and a commitment when you left college. I graduated in uniform under my cap and gown and was commissioned as a second lieutenant that same day. I went into active duty, then came out and went into the Army Reserve. All of that helped me throughout my career. I owned a seat on the Midwest Stock Exchange, now the Chicago Stock Exchange, for years. But I stayed in the reserves all that time."
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