University of Tampa

Brief History of University of Tampa Army ROTC

The University of Tampa has enjoyed a long and extraordinary relationship with the United States military, from the Rough Riders staging at The Tampa Bay Hotel prior to their invasion of Cuba, to commissioning today’s Spartan Battalion officers with the expectation to lead our Nation’s sons and daughters in the most complex operational environment our military has ever faced. Military presence at UT rose dramatically during the height of the Bootstrap Program in the 1960s when military officers were placed on temporary duty at various colleges to complete their undergraduate degrees. The University of Tampa was a popular choice with over 600 military students enrolled. Among these officers were three Medal of Honor recipients from the Vietnam War, Hal Fritz, Ron Ray and Jim Taylor. These three gentlemen are honored for their heroism with displays in the entryway of the General Peter J. Schoomaker ROTC and Athletics Building, as well as in the Macdonald-Kelce Library.

Since its inception in 1971, the University of Tampa Army ROTC Program has maintained its status as one of the finest leadership development programs in the Nation. The Program is consistently ranked amongst the very best within 6th Brigade, which consists of the 40 Army ROTC host programs in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. This distinction is a direct result of the high quality Cadets that the University attracts, shown in the areas of cumulative GPA, Army Physical Fitness Test performance, retention and graduation rates, Cadet diversity, STEM major selection, and performance at Cadet Summer Training. Similarly, the Program is recognized for producing some of the strongest candidates for service as Army Nurses. Since 2005, the extraordinary UT Nursing Program has graciously guaranteed two ROTC seats annually in the upper division of the BSN program. Finally, through many generous donors, UT provided the Program with its new home in the General Schoomaker ROTC and Athletics Building in 2013, and the campus community continues to support Army ROTC in every aspect of Cadet leader development.

Another outstanding aspect of the University of Tampa Army ROTC Program is the manner in which it honors is fallen members. The Annual Lisa Pauchey JROTC Drill Meet is hosted by the Spartan Battalion each February. More than 1,100 high school students from 30 JROTC programs across the State of Florida participate in this meet. The drill meet, which has been hosted at UT since 1973, honors Lisa Pauchey, a former Spartan Battalion Cadet and student at University of Tampa. Lisa distinguished herself both in ROTC, academics, and campus life. Tragically, Lisa was killed in a vehicle accident right before graduation and commissioning in 1982. The JROTC Drill Meet was renamed in Lisa’s honor, and her family continues to support the UT Army ROTC Program with an annual Cadet award. Similarly, the program honors former Cadet, Victor Strizzi, annually with the Victor Strizzi Iron Spartan Award given to the Cadet with the highest APFT score, and an annual fundraising event that supports Spartan Battalion activities throughout the year. Victor was an outstanding Cadet at the top of his ROTC cohort whose life was taken in a motorcycle accident in 2009. His father and step-mother are close friends of the program to this day, and they generously support Cadet development activities. The Program considers it an honor each year to recognize these two extraordinary former Cadets.

The UT Army ROTC Program’s mission is to recruit, retain, educate, train, inspire, and commission leaders of character for the Total Army. With the unwavering support of our UT family, alumni, and the Tampa Bay community, we’re extremely excited to continue to carry out this mission and see where the years ahead take this extraordinary program. "Spartans Lead the Way!"