The Ohio State University Alumni Association

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Buckeyes in service

From its earliest years, Ohio State has had a deep connection with military education and service. Today, it is considered one of the nation’s best universities for veterans. “Our programs have been successful in attracting, enrolling, supporting and getting military-connected students to graduation,” says Mike Carrell, a retired Air Force colonel who leads the university’s Office of Military and Veterans Services. “The Buckeye military family brings tremendous diversity to our daily experiences and conversations.”

1800s

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1878  University Hall and Cadets

University Archives

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1892  Military Cadets at Mirror Lake Grotto

University Archives

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1893  A Cadet Combo

University Archives

1874

Ohio State’s first recorded classes in military tactics and drill are held. Math and engineering professor Robert McFarland, a former Union officer, is the first tactics instructor.

1878

The military fife and drum corps that preceded The Ohio State University Marching Band performs for drills on campus.

1900s

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1918  School of Military Aeronautics bunk room in Hayes Hall

University Archives

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1950  ROTC review on the Oval

University Archives

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1965  Members of the voluntary Coed Cadet Corps

University Archives

1916

The Ohio Plan for Reserve Officers is co-authored by Ohio State leaders Col. George Converse and President William Oxley Thompson and alumni Gen. Edward Orton Jr. and Ralph D. Mershon. It outlines civilian training and calls for mandatory drills and courses for first- and second-year male students at land-grant institutions. It becomes part of the National Defense Act, which establishes ROTC.

1917

The War Department establishes schools of military aeronautics at six universities, including Ohio State, setting the foundation for aeronautical engineering courses.

1919

With an observance on the Oval to honor Ohio State’s fallen war heroes, a century-old tradition — the Rock Ceremony — is born.

1929

Curtis LeMay earns a degree in civil engineering. He goes on to become a four-star general who commands the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and the Strategic Air Command.

1943

Former Buckeye All-American athlete Don Scott dies in a bomber crash in England while training for WWII. A university airfield is named in his honor.

1945-46

Ohio State adds Naval ROTC, followed by Air Force ROTC.

1947

G.I. Village, now Buckeye Village family housing, opens to accommodate an influx of male students after WWII. It expands a year later to house veterans and their families.

1952

Mershon Center for International Security Studies is established.

1958

The voluntary Coed Cadet Corps is formed, laying the groundwork for women to join ROTC units nationwide in 1973.

Ohio State’s Armory, used for military science and physical education, is destroyed by fire.

1960

The university ends compulsory military education.

1967

Clotilde Bowen ’43, ’47 MD, the first African American woman to graduate from Ohio State’s medical school, becomes the Army’s first African American physician.

Maj. Robert H. Lawrence Jr. ’65 PhD becomes the first African American astronaut.Clotilde Bowen ’43, ’47 MD, the first African American woman to graduate from Ohio State’s medical school, becomes the Army’s first African American physician.

1998

Lt. Col. Nancy J. Currie-Gregg ’80 serves on the first shuttle mission to the International Space Station.

2010s

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2011  Remembrance Park is dedicated to honor all Ohio State veterans.

Jo McCulty

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2015  North Residential District buildings are named for service members.

Jo McCulty

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2016  The POW-MIA Chair is dedicated in Ohio Stadium. The seat will always remain empty.

Kevin Fitzsimons

2011

Remembrance Park is dedicated to honor all Ohio State veterans.

2012

The Office of Military and Veterans Services opens, expanding services for veterans and military students.

2015

USA Today ranks Ohio State the nation’s No. 1 university for veterans.

North Residential District buildings are named for service members.

2016

The POW-MIA Chair is dedicated in Ohio Stadium. The seat will always remain empty.

2018

John Murray ’82 and Maryanne Miller ’81 are promoted to four-star general. Murray leads the new U.S. Army Futures Command and Miller the Air Forces’s Air Mobility Command.

About the author

Joe Arnold is associate director of communications in Fisher College of Business.