Five Army ROTC Cadets Commissioned

May 03, 2016

Five graduating students from Saint Leo University’s ROTC program at University Campus were commissioned as second lieutenants into the U.S. Army in an evening ceremony on April 30. The new officers were also recognized during the undergraduate commencement held earlier in the day at University Campus.

Cadets receive bachelor’s degrees and complete U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps requirements through Saint Leo and the Suncoast Battalion, which encompasses several area colleges and universities. They generally receive postings starting immediately after graduation.

ROTC-Cadets -at -sculpture

Left to right: 2nd Lt. Hickman, 2nd Lt. Navarro, 2nd Lt. 2nd Lt. Singer, 2nd Lt. Torres-Davila, and 2nd Lt. Basin

The new Army officers are:

  • Second Lieutenant Matthew Basin, who majored in criminal justice. He will be posted to Fort Belvoir, VA, to work in military intelligence. 
  • Second Lieutenant Robert Hickman, who received his BA in psychology with a minor in anthropology. He received an appointment to the infantry branch and will be assigned to Fort Benning, GA, for training.
  • Second Lieutenant Gabriela Navarro, who majored in criminal justice. She will be stationed in Queens, NY, and will be assigned to the field artillery branch.
  • Second Lieutenant Cody Singer, who majored in criminal justice with a specialization in homeland security. His National Guard unit is in Leesburg, FL, and he will be assigned to the infantry corps.
  • Second Lieutenant Stephanie Torres-Davila, who majored in criminal justice with a specialization in homeland security. She will be assigned to the transportation corps. 

During the afternoon undergraduate commencement, Cadet Ryan Hart (pictured), who graduatedsumma cum laudewith a bachelor’s degree in global studies, received the Thomas B. Southard Leadership Award Sabre. This award is given at the determination of leadership, and only in years when an exceptional student leader emerges—one who demonstrates leadership achievement in ROTC Cadet Summer Training, classes, and labs. The honor is named for Dr. Thomas B. Southard, who served as Saint Leo College’s fifth president from 1971 to 1985.

Cadet -Hart -accepting -sabre

ROTC Cadet Ryan Hart receiving the Thomas B. Southard Leadership Award Sabre from Mrs. Virginia M. “Ginger” Judge, Saint Leo University Trustee 

An outstanding student, Hart was honored recently on Academic Excellence Day with the School of Arts and Sciences Excellence in Academic Leadership Award for his invaluable contribution to the development of the Global Studies Program at Saint Leo University. During the 2014-2015 academic year, he also won the Scholastic Excellence Award for maintaining a 4.00 academic GPA. In addition, he is the founder/president of the Saint Leo University Global Studies Club, and a member of Delta Epsilon Sigma National Scholastic Honor Society. In 2016, Hart represented the university on the Model Area League.

“Throughout his time at Saint Leo, Hart has proven to be a motivated leader, a person who strives for excellence in every task that he faces,” said Captain Fernando L. Sostre Aleman, Army ROTC assistant professor of military science at Saint Leo University. “Cadet Hart, who will be commissioned in December, epitomizes leadership symbolized by the Southard Sabre.”

Dr. William J. Lennox Jr., president of Saint Leo University, was the guest speaker. A retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, Dr. Lennox served as the superintendent of the United Stated Military Academy at West Point (2001-2006). He told the newly commissioned officers he was very proud of them for electing to serve our nation, especially during a time of war, and wasn’t surprised that they had chosen this calling. He offered these words of wisdom in the form of five letters – four L’s and a T:

  • Lead – have confidence in yourself; step forward as leaders and try.
  • Listen – meld your confidence with the advice from your leaders.
  • Learn – never stop learning at every opportunity.
  • Live your values – never compromise your values; you are held to the highest standard.
  • Take care of your soldiers – they are the best this country has to offer.