Cadet scores highest national ranking in school history
May 23, 2006
By Jessica Zibbel
Each year, nearly 5,000 senior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets nationwide are ranked on the National Order of Merit list. Ohio University Cadet Drew Ferguson is on this year's list as No. 13, the highest ranking in the school's history. Those who receive higher rankings have an increased influence on choosing the branch for which they would like to work or future location after graduation. They also bring prestige and honor to their ROTC programs and their schools.
"I'm honored to receive this award," said Ferguson, who was ranked among 4,848 cadets based on factors including physical fitness and academics. "I like to look beyond ROTC to other personal goals that are army-related, and receiving this award helps me to know that I am on the right track. I try to strive for the best in everything I do."
Army ROTC is an elective course that can be taken during the first two years of college without a commitment to serve in the Army. Students who choose to make a commitment can receive scholarships that include tuition and room and board paid in full, a monthly stipend and a book allowance. Typically a cadet's week involves two physical fitness training sessions, military class and lab, as well as additional activities that may include color guard and field training exercises.
Serving as cadet battalion commander, Ferguson has made significant contributions to the Ohio University ROTC program. His responsibilities include running weekly staff meetings, planning training, commanding fellow cadets and making monthly assessments about present and future ROTC goals in areas such as physical training, combat water survival training and field training.
"Cadet Ferguson exhibits unmatched maturity in thought and action," said Lieutenant Colonel David Chase, a former professor of military science at Ohio University. "He is admired and respected by not only his peers, but also by his subordinates and superiors alike. His fine honed leadership skills, when combined with his unequaled intellect, sense of humor, attention to detail and self-discipline, will allow for success in any field or profession that he selects."
Ferguson received the Superior Cadet Award in 2002 and 2005, and is also the recipient of this year's George C. Marshall Leadership Award, presented to the most outstanding cadet of each of the 272 universities with Army ROTC programs nationwide. "Cadet Ferguson was selected to receive this award for his professional excellence, leadership, personal integrity and selfless service to the nation," Chase said.
The Avon Lake, Ohio, native, was attracted to the leadership aspect of the military from a young age, knowing that he would learn skills that would help him in the future. The benefits of ROTC outweigh the time commitment and extra stress that a cadet faces, according to Ferguson. "ROTC helps you to work on time management skills and adds to your social life by providing a group of people with similar interests to hang out with," Ferguson said.
An adventure recreation major, Ferguson's interests include the outdoors and athletics. He completed an internship in Australia during winter quarter at a surf school, teaching children to surf. Throughout high school he was actively involved in sports, participating in pole vaulting, track and football.
After graduation, he plans to serve on active duty in the Army. Someday, after a career in the Army, he plans to move west or overseas to work for an adventure outfitter, showing clients different aspects of the wilderness in the area of ecotourism.
Ohio University's Army ROTC program is ranked in the top 10 percent of programs nationwide. During last year's Leadership Development and Accessions Course, Ohio University Army cadets exceeded all performances at the brigade (Ohio and Kentucky schools), region (all schools east of the Mississippi River) and national levels. The cadets were recognized for receiving the second highest physical fitness test score.
Jessica Zibbel is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.