Reviving a Tradition: Military Ball Returns to Tech

The Arkansas Tech U.S. Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) is bringing back a piece of university history.

Arkansas Tech will host its first Military Ball in more than 20 years at the Chambers Cafeteria East Banquet Hall beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 15. The event is by invitation only.

The ROTC Military Ball at Arkansas Tech dates back at least 57 years. The first mention of an ROTC Military Ball in the pages of the Agricola yearbook was in the 1954 edition (photographed).

Lieutenant Colonel Vixen James, professor of military science at Arkansas Tech, said that a number of alumni from the Army ROTC program at Tech will be in attendance at the 2011 event.

Major General William E. Harmon (Ret.), a member of the Arkansas Tech Class of 1960 and the first graduate of the Tech ROTC program to achieve the rank of general, will be the featured speaker.

The list of special guests will also include:

  • Brigadier General Richard E. Swan, chief of staff, Joint Force Headquarters Arkansas
  • Colonel Michael D. Merritt, commander of the Fort Chaffee Maneuver Training Center and a 1984 Arkansas Tech graduate
  • Brigadier General Gracus K. Dunn, deputy commanding general for the 377th Theatre Support Command and a 1982 Arkansas Tech graduate
  • Colonel Bill Eaton (Ret.), mayor of Russellville and a 1968 Arkansas Tech graduate
  • Lieutenant Colonel Michael Spraggins, commander of the 206th Field Artillery Regiment
  • Captain Jonathan Metcalf, a member of the 206th Field Artillery Regiment and a 2004 Arkansas Tech graduate
  • Major Anthony Sanders, a member of the 206th Field Artillery Regiment
  • Dr. Micheal Tarver, dean of the Arkansas Tech College of Arts and Humanities

Army ROTC at Arkansas Tech dates back to 1952, when Tech President Joseph W. Hull succeeded in signing an agreement with the U.S. Army after seven years of trying to bring the program to campus.

Arkansas Tech produced 745 commissioned officers from its ROTC program from 1952-91. The program was phased out at Tech for a time because of funding cutbacks through the U.S. Army, but ROTC has returned to Arkansas Tech in recent years.

Today, the U.S. Army ROTC program at Tech is housed in Bryan Hall.

Click here to learn more about the program.