Clarkson University
Golden Knight Battalion History

A cadet formation circa 1958

Golden Knight Battalion History

Golden Knight Battalion History

The Clarkson University Reserve Officers' Training Corps was established atClarkson in 1936 during the tenure of College President James S. Thomas. In anaddress marking the occasion, Dr. Thomas emphasized that ROTC was being startedfor the benefit of the student, and with no thought of promoting the spirit ofmilitarism. He also stressed that membership in ROTC would be entirely electiveand could substitute for shop or physical training. He wanted the training tobe tough and meaningful so that, if and when an emergency arose, the studentstrained at Clarkson would be able to take their rightful place of leadership insuch an emergency.

The Clarkson College of Technology ROTC Unit was activated in May 1936, underthe command of Captain T. L. Mulligan, Corps of Engineers. The enrollment forthe first class numbered 60 cadets. The first year also saw the formation ofthe Pershing Rifles and the ROTC Rifle Team at the College.

The Clarkson Guard was formed in 1937 under the supervision of First LieutenantW. Kreuger, Corps of Engineers. Enrollment figures for 1937 showed 96 freshmenenrolled, or about three quarters of the entire class. The figures by 1940showed over 300 cadets in ROTC.

The beginning of World War II dipped into the Advanced Class and many wereimmediately called into active duty. Summer Camp at Fort Belvoir was canceledin 1942 and the cadet corps was down to 250 men.

The year 1943 saw the setting up of the Army specialized Training Program atClarkson, with plans laid to handle 200 - 500 men. Colonel Crossen was named asthe commanding officer of the detachment. May obstacles had to be overcome tohandle this influx of students, not the least being the billeting problem. TheCivic Center was converted into barracks, as were some of the presentfraternity houses. The ROTC program during this year was cut to include thebasic course only, with the graduating class of 1942 terminating the advancedcourses at the college indefinitely.

General James A. Van Fleet, Commanding General, First Army, visited the collegeduring 1946 to check on facilities to be sure enough were available to handlethe steady influx of students after the war. The School of the Deaf of NorthernNew York, at nearby Malone was turned into an Extension of Clarkson, and by1947, there were 1,757 students enrolled with 290 being ROTC cadets.

The ROTC program at Clarkson began as a Corps of Engineers Battalion with allcadets being branched accordingly. In 1950, Signal Corps training was added andin 1973, the Corps welcomed its first women members. Effective August 1988,Clarkson began affiliation with the Signal Corps and its first Signal CorpsPMS, LTC Lawrence G. Shackleton was assigned. Today, cadets are branched intoall branches of the Army.

In 1970, the New York State Board of Regents approved the creation of theColleges of the St. Lawrence Valley. This consortium pools the resourcesavailable at each of the member institutions for the benefit of all students.The four members of this consortium (Clarkson, St. Lawrence, SUNY-Potsdam, andSUNY-Canton) all fall, for ROTC purposes, under the Host program at Clarksonand enroll for their classes at Clarkson.

In 1986, Clarkson University's Corps of Cadets was redesignated as the GoldenKnight Battalion. The majority are studying engineering and are on scholarship.The Clarkson Cadet Corps has commissioned over 1,150 officers and presently isrepresented at each level of the Army Officer Corps, from Second Lieutenant toGeneral.