A small, but highly engaged officer-in-training community has begun to grow in the College, where a new administrator helps support students in ROTC and those who are veterans. Jack Swanson and Philip Geanakoplos found their way to Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Course (PLC), an Officer Candidate School held during the summer that awards commissions to graduates who pursue the military after College. “These are very self-driven, self-motivated students,” said Craig Rodgers, program manager for military student services, a role funded by Todd F. Bourell ’92 and Brooke C. Bailey ’92. The two also endowed ROTC and veterans programming as part of expanded support for military recruitment. The Gazette spoke to Swanson and Geanakoplos about their desire to serve their country.
Philip Geanakoplos ’21 comes from “a very not military family.”
“I had never seen a gun that wasn’t in a police officer’s holster,” said the classics concentrator from New Haven, Conn., who decided to apply for the PLC Combined (rather than the two-summer version of the program) after writing a paper sophomore year for John Stauffer’s course on the Civil War.
“My research was on Memorial Hall, which has the names of every Harvard soldier who fought and died for the Union on the wall. It was built to ask every undergrad what they are doing for mankind, and it got me thinking about what I wanted to do to serve,” Geanakoplos said.
He prepared both mentally and physically for the 10-week intensive summer program, studying the history of the Corps and hiking with a heavy backpack.