The department of the army established the Reserve Officers Training Corp at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in November 1967. While established in 1967, the first classes were not held until September 1968. The establishment of the ROTC program fulfilled the statutes of the Morrill Act of 1890, which required the University to instruct Military Science. Since the establishment of the program, over 500 officers have received their commission through this program. As of the publish date of this document, the highest rank attained by an officer commissioned through the UAPB ROTC program is Major General (MG)-MG Aundre Piggee.
The first class that was enrolled had to makeup both their Military Science I & Military Science II years (freshman & sophomore) by attending what was known as an Army ROTC summer camp, which was held at Fort Benning, Georgia. Among the first group of cadets was (Ret.) LTC Grover L. Gibson. In an interview, he described his experience in Georgia as that of a regular Army Boot Camp; as he goes on to explain that the company besides his consisted of actual enlisted soldiers going through Boot
Camp. When fast-forwarded to present times and looking at the program enrollment size post 9/11 you will see that the number of cadets enrolled in the program is drastically different from that of the first decade (more than 1,000) of the program being established. The average number of cadets in the program now ranges between 70 to 100 cadets. “ROTC teaches the soft skills that employers look for in management - critical thinking, problem-solving, team building, leadership theory, time management, communications, physical, mental and spiritual health - much more than just Army stuff.”
In the coming years, Foster plans to continue to push hard to grow the program to what the Army considers viability - which is commissioning 14-15 officers each year consistently. ROTC teaches, coaches, and mentors students to be leaders. Not just in the Army, but in any endeavor they choose. If serving in the Reserves or National Guard, or only 4 years on Active Duty, our officers take the ROTC training and apply it to civilian careers in other government agencies - local, state, and Federal, nonprofit, corporate, and community organizations. Of the 368 recorded officers commissioned through the program at UAPB, only one of them has reached the rank of General - Brigadier General Aundre F. Piggee, a Distinguished Military Graduate of the class of 1981. He comes from Stamps, Arkansas, and joined the ROTC program in 1977 because it was mandatory for all freshmen students to take it but stayed in the program because he was offered an ROTC scholarship. He credits the ROTC program at UAPB with giving him both discipline and comradery.
Women were allowed to enroll in the program in 1972, however, the first group of women recorded to be commissioned into the United States Army from UAPB did not happen until 1978. The highest-ranking female to graduate from UAPB is Colonel Karen A. ChipChase, a native of Dermott, Arkansas. She graduated from UAPB in 1985 as a Distinguished Military Graduate and received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Ordnance Corps. She currently serves as the Chief of International Resource Integration Branch, Army Multinational Strategy and Programs Division, Headquarter Department of the Army (G-3/5/7). ROTC can be a major impact on a person’s life because it gives people the leadership attributes that businesses look for.
The program at UAPB can take a person who has dreams of becoming a dentist and turn that same person into a general. That is the positive impact that the program at UAPB has had on its alumni that have come through the program.
Division of Military Science
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
1200 N. University Drive, Mail Slot 4944
Pine Bluff, Arkansas 71601