The University of North Georgia (UNG) welcomed administrators and cadets from the Citadel, Mary Baldwin College, Norwich University, Texas A&M University, Virginia Military Institute (VMI), and Virginia Tech to the Dahlonega Campus this week for the annual Senior Military Colleges (SMC) Conference. The conference, which rotates among the participating schools, features two days of discussions about current issues and concerns that are common among the military colleges.
|Cadets from Virginia Tech, Texas A&M and the Citadel
discuss mentoring younger cadets and building character
during the Senior Military College Conference hosted
UNG President Bonita Jacobs opened the conference on Sept. 21 by welcoming visitors to the university and gave an overview of the school.
"We are very proud of our institution and we are pleased to open our doors and welcome you to be part of our campus and our community during these few brief days," Jacobs said. "It is an honor to have you here."
Retired Col. Ray Rottman, executive director of the Association of Military Colleges & Schools (AMCSUS), expressed his gratitude to Jacobs and UNG as hosts and explained how the annual event benefits participating schools.
"This conference is a great opportunity to share best practices, network with colleagues and engage with Department of Defense and service representatives," Rottman said. "It also offers the chance for a select group of cadets to exchange ideas and gain a better understanding of the diversity of programs offered by our schools. By developing leaders of character, this group is bringing positive change to the lives of cadets and to our nation."
Cadet Col. Nathaniel Cutler, a senior at UNG, said he was proud to have the privilege of hosting the visiting cadets as commander of the university's Boar's Head Brigade.
"Every year cadets visit different campuses, where they see the campus and talk about how they do things at that school. We also talk about issues going on in our own Corps of Cadets so we can tweak things and help solve everyone's problems by working together," Cutler said.
Though initially focused on how operations differ at each school, the cadets found commonalities.
"While we have different ranks and different jobs, we're all going toward the same mission. We're all trying to commission or go into the civilian sector," said Cadet Col. Samantha Reed, regimental commander at Virginia Tech.
Cadet Col. Jimmy Urban, regimental commander at the Citadel, and Cadet 1st Capt. Kaylyn Lonergan of Mary Baldwin agreed that the discussions were beneficial and could help improve the development of cadet leaders at their schools. While Mary Baldwin is not one of the nation's six senior military colleges, representatives of the private school's all-female corps of cadets participate each year.
The results of their discussions were shared with the school's military leaders, and VMI's cadet leader was glad to provide the feedback.
"I think it also gave us a good opportunity to talk to some of the upper leadership within Army Cadet Command so that we could provide good feedback to them in terms of what our peers are telling us about training so they can enhance it," said Cadet Capt. Patrick Eberhart, regimental commander at VMI.
Cadet Col. Jacob Zerr, corps chief of staff at Texas A&M, said he enjoyed meeting colleagues and "developing relationships that are going to be really important when we actually go out and join the military and we're all wearing the same uniform."