The cool climes didn’t dampen the spirits of the newly minted officers during their official joint Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) commissioning ceremony in Tercentenary Theatre on Wednesday. Seven Harvard undergraduates received their first military assignments during a celebratory service that included comments from Harvard President Larry Bacow, an address by Gen. Mark A. Milley, the 39th chief of staff of the U.S. Army, and rounds of hearty applause, handshakes, and hugs from family and friends.
Bacow told the soon-to-be-commissioned officers they would carry the enduring values of “libertas and veritas — liberty and truth” upheld by the military and by Harvard, and head into the future “prepared for the life that awaits you both by the training you have received here and by the education and knowledge you have gained here.”
Harvard’s 29th president called military service “the greatest demonstration of public service.” He said he hopes to strengthen the way in which Harvard acknowledges students and alumni who choose paths in the military, and to see more students receiving their commissions in coming years, “inspired and emboldened by the example set for them” by this year’s graduating seniors.
“You are — and you always will be — part of Harvard College Class of 2019,” said Bacow. “But you stand apart from your classmates. Your courage and your selflessness are worthy of praise, and your devotion to the ideals that created the United States of America is an inspiration to us all. Today, we honor your choice and we honor your service.”