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History of the Alumni Fund

The Alumni Fund was initiated in 1984 by Maj. Gen. Joseph Ambrose and Emil Fleischaker, members of the Class of 1942, to support the participation of Harvard students in ROTC. Harvard students had been participating in ROTC at MIT since 1976. With about 200 names on their mailing list, they invited "members" to pay "dues" of $10 per year to provide annual awards for outstanding cadets and midshipmen and to cover the expenses of the annual commissioning ceremony in Harvard Yard. For several years Gen. Ambrose personally presented the Harvard ROTC Alumni Awards at MIT and presided over the commissioning ceremony. In 1988 Commander Richard Bennink '38 invited his classmate former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger to be the principal speaker and thereby initiated a 50th Reunion tradition that has been maintained by most subsequent classes. After Gen. Ambrose passed away in 1996, the status of the "Alumni Fund" was uncertain for a few years, but in 1999 it was reactivated and in 2000 the Harvard ROTC Alumni Fund, Inc., was incorporated and received preliminary approval by the Internal Revenue Service to operate as a tax-exempt publicly supported charity. In March 2005 the IRS approved the Alumni Fund as a Section 501(c)(3) charity.

The Alumni Fund operates with an annual budget of about $10,000. The directors invite all alumni and friends of Harvard ROTC to support the fund.

Leadership

Emil Fleischaker was the first president and was president emeritus when he passed away in 2005. The current officers are Malcolm Hill '59, president; Arthur Levin '54, clerk; and Col. James Metcalf '67, treasurer. The other directors are Eugene Reilly '42, Capt. Warren Coulter '62, Capt. Warren Schur '69, Brig. Gen. Oscar DePriest '74, and Erik Sand '07.

Recent Activities

The Fund continues to support the traditions initiated by Gen. Ambrose, Emil Fleischaker, and Cdr. Bennink. The Fund works with the undergraduate Harvard ROTC Association, a recognized student organization at Harvard, to develop educational activities for the benefit not only of cadets and midshipmen but also of the university community. The Fund also supports activities of the Advocates for Harvard ROTC. In recent years the Alumni Fund has supported the following activities:

  • The annual Harvard ROTC Alumni Awards to outstanding cadets and midshipmen. Originally these awards were plaques, but since 2004 we have presented books. Each year we select a distinctive book on a topic relevant to military leadership.
  • The Harvard ROTC Aviation Award, created in 2004 at the suggestion of Joseph Gano, Jr. '64, to encourage cadets and midshipmen to pursue careers in military aviation. We have awarded it nine times since then, and Joe has honored the recipients by inviting them to ride in one of his aircraft.
  • Activities to promote mentor relationships for cadets and midshipmen with on-campus veterans, in collaboration with the Harvard Veterans Organization.
  • The commissioning ceremony in Harvard Yard (invitations, programs, military band, photographer, speaker's gift, and catered reception).
  • Support of individual cadets and midshipmen in unique educational and training activities.
  • Printing and distribution of newsletters of the Advocates for Harvard ROTC.

The 2015 issue of the Newsletter of the Advocates for Harvard ROTC included a report of the Alumni Fund for the years 2010-2014, describing our activities and acknowledging our donors. Interested parties may obtain copies of the report by writing to the Fund at PO Box 282, Weston MA 02493.

 

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