President George W. Bush will host a commissioning ceremony on Thursday, May 17, for 55 ROTC Cadets and Midshipmen from the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force representing all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and territories during a ceremony at the White House. Army ROTC Cadets comprise 23 of the 55 men and women selected to participate in this historic event. They will represent the more than 28,000 young Americans who have decided to make Army ROTC a part of their total college experience.

Like the more than half a million men and women commissioned through the Army ROTC program since its inception in 1916, these 23 Cadets gained invaluable leadership skills while enrolled in the program. Those skills will serve them well as they embark upon their careers as officers in America's Army.

"I am immensely proud of these 23 Army ROTC Cadets who will participate in the commissioning at the White House," said Maj. Gen. W. Montague Winfield, commanding general, United States Army Cadet Command. He adds that each year the Army ROTC program produces over 60 percent of the officers entering our Army. "Simply put, the Army ROTC program produces tomorrow's leaders. Those who participate in Army ROTC gain world-class leadership and managerial skills that will serve them well in the Army - or in any civilian career they may ultimately pursue."

Cadet Jason P. LaCerda, a graduate of Virginia Military Institute, is a prime example of the Cadets who will be commissioned at the ceremony. Earning the number one position of the Army ROTC Order of Merit List, LaCerda, 21, of Mahopac, N.Y., is fluent in four languages, is a Rhodes Scholarship finalist and is a Division I NCAA lacrosse defenseman.

"My experience in the ROTC program has equipped me to take on real world endeavors as a resourceful citizen and Soldier," says LaCerda. "The challenges have been constant and I have learned to react and make decisions while gauging the long-term effects of my actions."

There are 22 other Cadets representing the best of America, who will join LaCerda at the ceremony. Each will be accompanied by parents, spouses, loved ones and other family members and friends at the historic event.

Army ROTC is an elective curriculum, taken along with required college classes, by students at nearly 1,400 colleges and universities around the Nation. It provides the tools, training and experiences that will help them succeed in any competitive environment. To learn more about Army ROTC programs, please visit


An Electronic Press Kit of the commissioning ceremony can be found at outbind://9/>. The site contains profiles and interviews with the Army Cadets and Maj. Gen. Winfield, ROTC informational materials and downloadable videos and images.

Cadets will be available for phone or television interviews (via satellite truck in D.C.) May 16 and 17. Reporters interested in a media opportunity can contact (703) 724-6011/6012/6013. These numbers will be operational on 15 May at Noon. Secondary contacts include Liz Miklya, 612-817-1784, or Maj. Amy Hannah at Army Public Affairs, 703-614-2459 (office) or 703-347-5187 or Paul Kotakis at 757-788-4610 (office) or 866-382-6587.