CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- More than 150 junior and senior Army JROTC students filed in to the Military and Global Leadership Academy campus to hear advice from one of the Army's highest ranking officers, Feb. 26.

Army Materiel Command's Commander Gen. Dennis L. Via, one of only a dozen four-star generals in the Army, shared keys to success he learned through growing up in the small town of Martinsville, Virginia, to commissioning as an Army second lieutenant through the ROTC program, to currently commanding around 64,000 Soldiers, civilians and contractors globally.

Via is one of more than half a million second lieutenants commissioned through Army ROTC since its inception in 1916. With around 300 active ROTC programs across the nation, the Army ROTC program celebrates 100 years in existence this year, a milestone Via is taking on the road to recognize.

Via stressed the foundation he received through Army ROTC set the path for his future success.

"Success is basically preparation and opportunity," he told the JROTC cadets. "You're doing your preparation here, which is critically important for your future. Throughout your life, opportunity will come along. When your preparation meets that opportunity, it will create success."

Via shared the same sentiments with around 20 ROTC cadets from the University of North Carolina Charlotte.

"The Army is world's largest leadership academy," said Via. "We will teach you how to be successful not only in your Army careers, but in life."

While in Charlotte, Via also took the opportunity to capitalize on the 2016 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament, which brought together administration, faculty and students from a dozen Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Via presented ROTC scholarship checks to four students during center court presentations, visited Army recruiters and students participating in "Fan Fest" activities, and interacted with university administration on how the Army can partner with HBCUs.

"HBCUs provide a talent-rich pool from which to build a diverse and highly competent workforce," said Via. "The Army has vast opportunities to work together, in Science and Technology partnerships, recruiting and more. Together, we can build the next generation of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math experts for our Army and nation."