Southeastern Louisiana University will re-initiate its on-campus U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Program in the spring semester, university officials announced.

The program, originally started at Southeastern in 1969 during the Vietnam War, was closed in 1995 due in large part to declining numbers and retrenchment by the military as a result of budget constraints, a news release said. More than 1,000 students are estimated to have gone through the program during those years.

The program is an enhancement of the partnership programs that developed with LSU and Southern University in Baton Rouge after the Southeastern ROTC classes were no longer offered on campus.

“We are pleased to re-introduce our students to ROTC military science classes on the Southeastern campus. Increasingly, students are looking for options that include military service, either for several years or as career,” said President John L. Crain. “Southeastern’s previous experience with ROTC was successful in helping to prepare future military leaders. We wanted to make this an easier option for those students seeking to become officers.”

While the program was suspended, Crain said, Southeastern students were still able to participate in ROTC, but had to take their military courses through Southern University’s Navy program or LSU’s Army and Air Force programs. Southeastern students, however, had to travel to Baton Rouge in order to participate.

The university and the Army ROTC have started recruiting students to enter the program next semester.

Gary Sandifer of Hammond, who entered the ROTC program in 1971 and is a founding member of Southeastern’s ROTC Alumni Chapter, said he was excited to learn the university was bringing back the program. He credited Crain with working for its return.

ROTC Alumni Chapter President Steve Worth, of Hammond, also expressed his happiness about the reinstatement decision.

“It was a great experience, and I’m glad to see Southeastern students will have this option once again,” said Worth, who served 13 years in the Army as a Black Hawk test pilot. “ROTC taught me a lot in the areas of leadership and how to work with people.”

The ROTC Alumni Chapter has about 35 members and raises money to provide scholarships for ROTC participants.

For more information on the ROTC program, contact admissions@southeasern.edu.