Northern Arizona University’s Department of Military Science received an award this year as the most outstanding Army ROTC program in 14th U.S. Army Cadet Command Brigade.

NAU is one of 14 programs out of 271 nationally to receive the award for the most outstanding program in its respective region for 2007. The Southwest region includes Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah.

The cadets were judged based on athletic and academic abilities, grade point averages, physical fitness levels, military training scores and overall national standings. The criteria were gathered at an intensive 33-day training program at Fort Lewis Washington, where cadets were judged on their performance at a Leaders Development and Assessment Course.

“The university has really embraced this program,” said retired Lt. Col. Andrew Griffin, assistant professor of military science. “The outstanding support from the professors, administration and staff has really helped our program grow.”

Last year NAU received an award based on the same criteria for the Best Large ROTC Program in the 14th U.S. Army Cadet Command Brigade, but this year was the first time NAU won most outstanding Army ROTC program.

“This award is very competitive and a direct reflection of the quality of outstanding students that make up our core cadet,” Griffin said.

The ROTC program started at NAU in 1983 and has expanded over the years, growing from less than 30 students in 2000 to 105 students this fall. The cadets come from across the nation, represent almost every academic major at NAU and have diverse gender and demographic backgrounds.

This fall the NAU Army ROTC has expanded its program to Coconino Community College in support of the CCC2NAU partnership between the two academic institutions.