The officer commissioning ceremony for Rebecca Segal ’18—Amherst’s first Army ROTC student in 20 years—was held at Johnson Chapel on Saturday as her family, fellow cadets from the UMass ROTC Minuteman battalion, President Biddy Martin, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton and many members of the College community, including veterans standing at attention, looked on.
“Rebecca is not only the first, but she’s also a shining example of what’s possible,” said Martin in her remarks that day. Amherst and UMass worked together to create a pathway for Segal, who studied at the College and did her reserve officer training at the university.
The ceremony began with the Minuteman cadets marching up the center aisle in tight formation, some shouldering rifles, others carrying the battalion flag and American flag, as the army march “Bravura” played through speakers. Jewish Religious Advisor Bruce Bromberg Seltzer offered a blessing and then, surrounded by those in uniform, Martin rose to offer her congratulations.
She noted that, in 2016, Segal transferred from George Washington University, which has a strong ROTC program. “But she chose to come to Amherst because she had the ambition and desire to get the best possible education in a place where class sizes are small, academic standing is strong and she could be a neuroscience major,” said Martin, adding with a smile: “What she has done in her short time at Amherst is nothing short of incredible.”