Lincoln University's Military History
Lincoln University was founded by the Enlisted men and Officers of the Sixty-Second and Sixty-Fifth Missouri Colored Volunteers. Lincoln University (then Lincoln Institute) opened its doors to students on 11 September 1866 with Lieutenant Richard Baxter Foster as the First President. In 1891, Lincoln became a land grant institution under the Second Morrill Act of 1890. This act specifically stated that military tactics would be taught by the institution. However, it was a number of years before the services of an Army officer could be secured and so years passed before the young men of Lincoln were given the opportunity to participate in military training. Finally, in September 1919, preparation was being made for every student at Lincoln to purchase and wear a uniform. All uniforms were to be made by the Industrial Arts Department. However, the military training system was not really functional until 1924. In that year the United States Government granted eleven thousand dollars ($11,000) worth of arms and equipment to the University for military training. All physically fit male students were required to participate in training. Arthur P. Hayes, Sergeant, United States Army, was detailed to Lincoln as the Military Instructor. The object of this training was to teach scientific and efficient methods of training with the spirit of patriotism. Three hours a week was devoted to military training. The subject matter included minor tactics, scouting and patrolling, marksmanship, map reading, hygiene and sanitation, and drill and ceremonies.
Specialized war training at Lincoln University was conducted from September 1940 until June 1945. At the beginning of World War II a program of civil pilot training was begun as an aid to the war effort. The students received instruction at the Jefferson City Airport. Some of these young men went on to distinguish themselves in the service of their country. Wendell Pruitt, class of 1941, later memorialized in his native St. Louis, was the winner of many distinctions in the European Theater and a product of this program. There was also special emphasis being placed on courses designed to prepare women students for usefulness in the war effort and post war world. During this period several Lincoln University men were recruited into the Army Enlisted Reserve Corps. Finally in compliance with the provisions of the Morrill Act, a senior division Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) unit was established at Lincoln on 1 July 1950 in accordance with General Order Number 84, Headquarters, Fifth United States Army. The unit was originally organized as an engineer branch detachment to train cadets to become junior commissioned officers in the Corps of Engineers. In September of 1955 the program at Lincoln was converted to a General Military Science Unit allowing cadets to serve as officers in all branches of the Army. The ROTC program has expanded in scope and variety since its humble beginnings. The Military Qualification Standards of 1982 was adopted so that there is one standardized program being offered at all ROTC colleges and universities throughout the country. ROTC programs vary from the two year option (offered at one of the five military junior colleges) to the full four year program like the one at Lincoln, but all commissioned officers must still complete their bachelor's degree regardless of which program they take.
At Lincoln, cadets may obtain an academic minor in Military Science indicating the high esteem held by university administrators for military training. This feature of ROTC is unique to few universities and colleges throughout the country. ROTC has undergone numerous changes in organizational structure and curriculum content yet it continues to attract both male and female students and remains a viable part of Lincoln's heritage. The Reserve Officers' Training Corps is one of the most valuable leadership training programs of its kind in the Nation. Its fundamental purpose is to improve a student's abilities in the areas of leadership, management, assertiveness, self esteem, self confidence, oral and written communication, thus ensuring the commissioning of high quality officers for the Army of the 21st Century.
Lincoln University Army ROTC
903 Lafayette St., Soldiers Hall
Jefferson City, MO 65101
Phone: (573) 681-5352 or 5346
Fax: (573) 681-5345