Photos by Taylor Ha

Thirty-three cadets officially began their military leadership careers on May 17 at Fordham’s Rose Hill campus. At the 94th commissioning ceremony for Fordham’s Army and Navy ROTC program, speakers praised this year’s cadets for all they had accomplished so far while also describing what’s required of those who lead America’s soldiers and sailors.

For one thing, the guest speaker said, there are no days off.

“You are leaders 24/7, 365,” said Lt. Gen. Maria Barrett, commanding general of the U.S. Army Cyber Command, at the ceremony held at the University Church. “Lead by example. … You should hold yourself to a higher standard, because trust me, soldiers notice everything their leaders do.”

She conferred several other lessons gleaned from her 36-year career: Get to know your troops. Listen to noncommissioned officers; they’ll tell you what you need to hear. When you inevitably make a mistake, “get over it, fast,” and learn from it. Enjoy yourselves, as hard as it may be sometimes, and serve with passion and zest. Set high standards, communicate them clearly, and hold your service members accountable.

“At the end of the day, soldiers want to be part of a winning team, and they want a leader they trust and respect,” Barrett said.

Love-Driven Leadership

She then administered the oath of office to the cadets, who came from several New York-area universities including Fordham, which was to hold its University-wide commencement the next day. Most cadets were bound for the Army, the Army Reserve, and Army National Guard. One was commissioned in the Navy and one in the Marine Corps. One cadet, Miguel Angel-Sandoval, was an Army enlistee who would take part in a Yellow Ribbon ceremony honoring Fordham’s student veterans later that day.

Lt. Col. Paul Tanghe, Ph.D., professor of military science and the officer in charge of the Army ROTC program, noted the diversity of the cadets: they comprised 24 ethnicities and hailed from 11 states as well as countries as far away as South Korea and Senegal. And 40% were multilingual, speaking a total of 13 languages, Tanghe said in his remarks.

He lauded the cadets for demonstrating the love-driven leadership exhorted by two of their recent class dinner speakers, not to mention St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order, and legendary football coach Vince Lombardi, FCRH ’37.

“Love-driven leadership is how great officers lead, it’s how the Jesuits educate, it’s why ROTC has the home and the partnership that we have here at Fordham,” Tanghe said.

Cadets received various awards and honors, including the President’s Saber, presented to Brian T. Inguanti, a member of Fordham College at Rose Hill’s Class of 2024 who was headed for the Army Corps of Engineers. The Rev. Joseph M. McShane Award for Excellence in Faculty Support to ROTC was presented to Matthew Butler, PCS ’17, senior director of military and veterans’ services at Fordham.

In her own address, Fordham’s president, Tania Tetlow, noted the essential role played by the cadets’ family members gathered in the University Church.

“You have raised, supported, challenged, inspired these extraordinary men and women graduating here today,” she said. “You have rooted them in service, you imbued them with courage, and so we are so grateful for you this morning.” 


Chris Gosier is research news director for Fordham Now. He can be reached at (646) 312-8267 or [email protected].