BJU secures ROTC crosstown partnerships after 9-month process

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April 13, 2018
Column 4/13/18
April 13, 2018

BJU secures ROTC crosstown partnerships after 9-month process

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) recently presented President Steve Pettit and Al Carper of the BJU business faculty a flag that flew above the U.S. Capitol. Beginning in the fall semester, BJU will offer crosstown partnerships with the ROTC programs at Furman and Clemson universities. Graham was a chief supporter of BJU's in acquiring the crosstown partnerships. Carper, retired U.S. Navy Commander, will serve as BJU's ROTC adviser. Photo: BJU Marketing/Hal Cook

In honor of BJU acquiring ROTC partnerships, on Wednesday, April 4, Sen.Lindsey Graham came to the BJU campus and presented President Steve Pettit with a flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol Building.

Beginning in the fall of 2018, Bob Jones University students will be able to apply for enrollment in Air Force or Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

“Providing the ROTC experience for BJU students has been a goal of mine since becoming president,” President Steve Pettit said in a statement.

“We are grateful to both Clemson University and Furman University for including BJU in their crosstown partnerships. I’m also thankful for the encouragement and assistance that Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, along with Congressmen Trey Gowdy and Jeff Duncan, provided during the process.”

Dr. David Fisher, BJU’s vice provost for administration, said these lawmakers were instrumental in helping BJU acquire ROTC partnerships.

“In the process Senator Graham, Senator Scott, Representative Trey Gowdy [and] Representative Jeff Duncan all wrote letters of endorsement for our application,” Fisher said.

“We had various graduates who are in [branches of the military] write letters of recommendation. So, we had good military graduate support and congressional support that [accompanied] our application.”

Al Carper, a member of BJU’s business faculty who will serve as ROTC adviser, said he is exited for students to benefit from ROTC, especially through leadership and character development.

Al Williams, Army enrollment and scholarship officer from Furman University said that students who join the program will have a connection with three universities: Furman University, North Greenville University and BJU.

“When our students put on a uniform, honestly, we see no difference,” Williams said.

“We don’t care what university you’re from. All we care is that you’re in uniform and that [you are] a cadet.”

Both the Army and Air Force programs emphasize leadership.

“Army ROTC is a leadership program,” Williams said. “We like to say that we’re the best leadership program in the country. Our job is to prepare young people to go out and take command of a platoon [and] to give them the skills required to become an Army officer.”

Williams said their program teaches students how to lead and how to take charge.

Fisher said BJU pursued ROTC several years ago but were unable to meet all of the requirements—including regional accreditation.

However, when BJU was granted regional accreditation, Fisher said Pettit immediately wanted to again pursue adding ROTC.

The complete process took about nine months, but BJU has now officially been granted crosstown partnership with Furman for Army ROTC and Clemson for Air Force ROTC.

“We were welcomed all along the way and you could see God’s good hand preparing the contacts,” Fisher said.

Fisher said that BJU students’ reputation of being the kind of people that the military is looking for helped validate BJU’s application.