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Bronco Battalion Instructors Honored with 2012 Cadet Command Awards for Excellence
SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 21, 2012— Fresh from winning the MacArthur Award for best battalion in the 8th Brigade for the 2010-2011 school year, Santa Clara University’s ROTC “Bronco Battalion” has won top honors yet again: Two instructors from the University’s Army ROTC program each recently received a 2012 Award for Excellence from the U.S. Army’s Cadet Command.
Lt. Col. John Tao, the director of SCU’s Military Science Department, was named 2012’s Cadet Command Professor of Military Science of the Year, awarded to the top college- or university-based ROTC leader in charge of recruitment, training and commissioning cadets.
"These national awards recognize the phenomenal impact that Lt. Col. Tao and Capt. Pope have had on the U.S. Army, Santa Clara University, and our cadets," said SCU Provost Dennis Jacobs. "We are grateful for their extraordinary leadership."
A native of West Covina, Calif., Lt. Col. Tao was chosen from a field of 273 military-science department leaders, and is the first from SCU ever to win this honor.
Capt. Michael T. Pope, enrollment officer for SCU’s Military Science Department, won the Recruiting Operations Officer of the Year award, for excellence in marketing, recruiting and scholarship management of cadets.
Lt. Col. Tao, who graduated and received his commission from the University of Notre Dame, credited in part the support of Santa Clara University’s community for the caliber of his program.
"Everyone in the administration, from President Michael Engh, S.J., to Dr. Atom Yee, the dean of College of Arts and Sciences, has instituted an always-positive and nurturing environment within which our cadre and Cadets are able to excel and succeed," he said.
He also credited his department’s dedicated cadre of ROTC instructors and support personnel "who will settle for nothing but excellence."
Capt. Pope, who graduated in 2003 from South Carolina State University, said he feels particularly suited to his position, having attended college on a four-year Army ROTC scholarship himself.
"This position has provided me the chance to pass on the opportunity that was given to me," said Capt. Pope. "It has been rewarding over the last two years to see so many students gain a scholarship into our program."
Santa Clara has one of the oldest Army ROTC programs on the West Coast, and the officers said the support they receive from the University community has helped their battalion meet or exceed its commissioning mission for three of the last five years.