Welcome to the Official Home of Purdue University Army ROTC. We appreciate your interest in our program and look forward to assisting you in becoming the next generation of Army leaders.
Our mission is to partner with Purdue University to recruit, educate, develop, and inspire students to commission as US Army officers of character and to further develop citizens of character for a lifetime of commitment and service to the Nation.
My name is Lieutenant Colonel Stephen T. Schmidt and I am the Department Head and Senior Professor of Army ROTC at Purdue University. I have faithfully served in the US Army for over 23 years, both as an enlisted Soldier and an officer. I am extremely humbled with the task of guiding young adults to achieve their maximum potential and understand the tremendous responsibility of enhancing the military profession through quality recruitment and training.
Did you know that less than 1% of the American population serves in the military? With less than a third of that number serving as officers. As officers, we are a very small group of professions who serve something greater than ourselves, and provide a unique and vital service to society. Furthermore, Army ROTC is one of the three paths to becoming an Army officer (approximately 80% of today’s Army officers come from ROTC programs like ours). The two other commissioning sources for Army officers are West Point and the Officer Candidate School (OCS) located at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Army ROTC is an academic program available to Purdue students. Students receive academic credit for classes in leadership, Army tactics, and most importantly early morning physical fitness training sessions. The 4-year ROTC program is broken into two 2-year groups. The first two years of ROTC is called the Basic Course, which anyone can attend for elective credit. The last 2 years of the program is our Advanced Course, and is more challenging. Only “contracted” cadets can participate in these last 2 years. “Contracted” simply means these students have decided to serve in the Army as an officer after graduation. They can choose active duty (full time), or National Guard or Reserves (part time, in any state they want).
Our program is centered on leader development. Our graduates finish their time at Purdue with a marked advantage over other graduates. Four years of structured developmental opportunities improve leadership abilities that are requisite for any organization. We have very effective ways of challenging students by placing them in charge of other cadets and in stressful situations. Our senior cadets evaluate their actions, and provide verbal and written feedback on their leadership attributes. Our seniors do this as part of their own leadership development and focus their learning on resource management (time, people and logistics).
The Cadre Team. The team of very experienced military staff assesses the seniors as they “run” the program by conducting and evaluating training. It’s a great system that allows us to tap into every ounce of potential in our students and create the best, most capable young leader possible. Being an Army officer is a difficult, and demanding job. It’s not for everyone. Not everyone will be allowed to continue into the Advanced Course. We make our assessment on each student, and then make a deliberate decision whether or not to allow him or her to continue. Only the best 1% of Americans can lead and protect the other 99%. We take our responsibility very seriously.
Financial Resources. Because the Army needs nearly 6,000 new officers each year, Congress has allocated funds to ROTC to provide scholarships and incentives to attract the very best students into our programs. We also have amazing incentives to reward those students who choose to serve beyond their initial obligation term. For high school students, we have the National Scholarship process. This is a web-based application and process for HS juniors and seniors to complete. We award scholarships to the best high school students in the nation. These scholarships pay full tuition (regardless of in-state or out-of-state), books, and a living allowance each month of school. We also have a very limited number of campus-based scholarships that are awarded each year. There is also a summer training program that college sophomores can attend to compete and qualify for a full 2-year scholarship. We also have incentives that pay bonuses to cadets who choose to go into the National Guard or Reserves, which means these officers fulfill their Army role “part-time”, and have a full-time regular job in any state.
For Indiana residents, the National Guard is an AMAZING path to take to pay for college. And, after college/ROTC, you can serve in the Guard/Reserves in any state or ask to be allowed to compete for Active duty if you wish. If you’re interested in this, please contact our Scholarship and Enrollment Officer. If your child’s a high school sophomore, we can tell you how your student can not only get college paid for, but have significant income while going to college and being a student.
I hope this letter helps you understand a little of what we do here, and why it’s vitally important that we commission only the very best officers to lead and to protect our nation. Please explore our website and contact us with any questions.
Wabash College is an all-men’s private university in Crawfordsville, IN that has a satellite Army ROTC program through Purdue Army ROTC established in 2019. Wabash College Cadets perform Physical Training at Wabash College, but they attend Military Science & Leadership classes and Leadership Lab with Purdue ROTC Cadets at Purdue. This is a promising program that seeks to expand the capabilities of Purdue Army ROTC while extending the opportunities that ROTC offers to more potential Cadets.