Original ROTC Unit
Army ROTC arrived at The University of Chicago from the persistence of current President Harry Pratt Judson who persuaded the faculty to authorize an ROTC program in late 1916. To encourage military training, the University allowed men to count one military science course towards their degree programs. The majority of the student officers of the first ROTC unit organized on campus, in May 1917, also came from the fraternities (of thirty-six student officers, twenty-five were members of the fraternities).
ROTC operated at The University of Chicago throughout the war, with students attending drills and military science to supplement their existing curriculum. The ROTC unit at one time grew to over 100 cadets.
When the issue of renewing the wartime ROTC program on a postwar basis came before the Board of Trustees in late 1918, James Angell was forced to admit that while President Judson was a steady enthusiast, the faculty were "decidedly opposed" to renewing the program in peacetime. Judson was able to get his way, however, and an ROTC field artillery unit was created under the aegis of a Department of Military Science which was (after 1930) attached to the Division of the Physical Sciences.
The ROTC unit remained at the University of Chicago until the War Department transferred it to Michigan State University in 1936.
UChicago's current ROTC program has gained momentum in recent years. Since the closing of the UChicago ROTC unit, Cadets at University of Chicago participated in ROTC through a relationship with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Fire Battalion. Over these years, Cadets at UChicago were required to commute to neighboring Chicago schools in order to complete their Military Science requirements. However, the program grew, and now UChicago has its own Assistant Professor of Military Science (APMS), and will host almost all trainings on its own campus. The program's focus is to offer unmatched leadership and professional development to students while educating them on opportunities as the future leaders of the U.S. Army.
UChicago Army ROTC began holding Physical Training classes in Winter 2015 and now offers classes on campus 4 times a week. Cadets have organized and participated in on-campus speaking events and discussions, brought Cadets from neighboring schools to train, and led their peers in technical knowledge and leadership proficiency. UChicago Army ROTC gained official status as a Recognized Student Organization in Winter 2016 and was subsequently named "Oustanding New RSO" by the Center for Leadership and Involvement.
Looking ahead to the 2016-2017 academic year, Army ROTC hopes to continue to grow the program with motivated UChicago Students and execute several key events including a Military Ball and the University of Chicago's first commissioning ceremony since the closing of the on-campus ROTC unit in the 1930s.