Old Dominion University

History of Army ROTC at Old Dominion University

Army ROTC was established at Old Dominion University in September 1969 as part of the Darden School of Education.  Since its inception, the program has grown in quality and scope as seen in the establishment in the 1974-75 school year of a Military Science curriculum fully recognized by the University for academic credit.  That milestone was followed in 2003 by the Faculty Senate approval of an academic minor in Military Leadership Studies.  The first commissioning ceremony was held on 4 July 1971 with six Cadets receiving their appointments as Second Lieutenants.  As of December 2010, 721 young men and women have joined a distinguished formation of Army ROTC graduates from Old Dominion University and have served their country with pride and honor.  There are currently three active serving general officers who earned their commission through Army ROTC at Old Dominion University, LTG Kathleen M. Gainey, MG J. Michael Bednarek, and BG Mark Perrin.  The Department of Military Science and Leadership is part of the Office of Military Activities under the leadership of Mr. F. Richard Whalen and is academically aligned under the College of Business and Public Administration.

A battalion tradition established by a former Professor of Military Science is the presentation of a battalion coin to a newly commissioned Second Lieutenant.  This coin is unique in that it is engraved with the commissionee’s sequence number in the roll of ROTC commissions at Old Dominion University.  Because of this tradition, we do not give unit coins as is customary in many Army units.  There have been three individuals who have been inducted as Honorary Members of the Monarch Battalion and given the coins inscribed with H1, H2, and H3.

Old Dominion University Army ROTC Patch

The patch of Old Dominion University Army ROTC was designed by the original cadre and staff of the Army ROTC department in the summer of 1969 and approved by the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry on 25 November 1969.  The design consists of an inner light blue disc, representing the color of the Infantry; a yellow enflamed torch representing knowledge, tradition, and military leadership; and a yellow quill representing academic excellence and scholarship.  In the center is a while representation of the City of Norfolk’s historic Mace.  Around the inner disc is a white band edged with a light blue border and inscribed with “Old Dominion” at the top and “University” around the bottom light blue letters.

History of the Monarch at Old Dominion University

For many years, the athletic team of the Norfolk Division of the College of William & Mary (as Old Dominion was formally called) were known as the Braves. This was a derivation of the William & Mary nickname of the Indians.  As Old Dominion achieved its own four-year status and saw its enrollment surpass that of its Williamsburg neighbor, it was not longer suitable or acceptable to have its teams called the Braves.

The name Monarchs evokes much of the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia and of Old Dominion’s mother institution, the College of William & Mary.  The nickname “Old Dominion” was first coined to the Virginia colony by King Charles II after Virginia’s loyalty to the crown during the English Civil War.  Furthermore, William III & Mary II, whose patronage helped found the College of William & Mary in Virginia in 1693, ruled England at the invitation of Parliament as “joint monarchs.”

The Monarch used by Old Dominion has a royal crown on a lion’s head, representing an historic and strong future.  The school’s current family of athletic logos was adopted in April of 2002.