Building Bridges Between the Military and Universities

Professor Van Ry

The music of the brass and drum section set the cadence for the midshipmen marching into the hall, turning sharp corners and snapping to attention in front of the distinguished guests, faculty and veterans eager to celebrate the return of the Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps to Columbia University after an absence of more than 40 years.

The president of Columbia, Lee C. Bollinger, stood beside retired Rear Adm. James Lowe, class of 1951, and Assistant Secretary of the Navy Juan Garcia III in a ceremony that, according to Mr. Bollinger, officially “healed the breech” between the university and the military that developed during the Vietnam War and continued until the university senate voted in April 2011 to allow the Naval ROTC program’s return.

But only 50 blocks downtown, at the Macaulay Honors College of the City University of New York, an attempt to integrate the military with academia has…

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