The UNM men’s basketball team returns to its home court, WisePies Arena aka The Pit, on Feb. 13, but Saturday’s game will mark a special celebration of the proud traditions of the state of New Mexico, its flagship university and the United States Army Reserve Officers Training Corps or ROTC.

During halftime of Saturday’s game against San Jose State, UNM’s current Cadre and Cadets, including invited alumni, will conduct a commemoration ceremony for the 100th Anniversary of the U.S. Army’s ROTC.

The event will recognize UNM’s contribution and dedicated service to one of the programs that helps America’s finest young people fulfill their potential. Within that mission, ROTC at UNM has led to the commissioning of 186 officers since 1987.

This ceremony will also serve to bring awareness of the program and its many benefits to future students at UNM as well as future leaders wherever they choose to serve.

“Army ROTC takes young men and women from all walks of life who have a strong desire to serve their country and molds them in to leaders of character for the Nation," said Lt. Col. Kenneth T. Crawford, professor of Military Science, UNM Army ROTC. "Each of them has volunteered for a life that very few of their fellow citizens are either willing, or able, to do.  They represent less than one percent of our Nation’s population – the one percent who shoulder the burden of defending our Nation, our values, and our way of life."

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the Army ROTC, whose history dates back to 1819 when Captain Alden Partridge established a program of military instruction known as the American Literary Scientific and Military Academy. However, the official organization of ROTC was born as a result of President Woodrow Wilson signing the National Defense Act on June 3, 1916, and it has continually grown and evolved to meet the Nation’s demand for quality leaders.

For the past 100 years, the Army ROTC has provided the nation with the right leaders at the right time, yielding visionaries such as Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Alito.

Today, the training corps has grown to 275 programs located at colleges and universities throughout the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. With an enrollment of more than 30,000 cadets, Army ROTC produces more than 70 percent of the second lieutenants that join the active Army, the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve.

For more information about the Army’s ROTC program visit, Army ROTC at UNM.