Johnson C. Smith University Re-Launches ROTC Program, Accepts First Cadet

Header image of Jasmine Hogan

Charlotte, N.C./Oct. 18, 2023 – Jasmine Hogan ’25 decided early in her life that she would continue her family’s legacy of serving in the military.

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Baby Jasmine Hogan.jpg
Jasmine Hogan dons her grandfathers' cap as a small child

Both of her grandfathers served in the U.S. Army for more than 25 years. Her grandfather, Ernest Herman Hogan, went to Vietnam twice and earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Her father was also in the National Guard, and she has several uncles who have served in the Navy.

“I want to keep the legacy going with military service in my family,” she said. “I am the first grandchild to enter the service. I want to find a purpose and be a part of something bigger than myself to feel like I’m doing something good in the world.”

Hogan knew the first opportunity to start training for her future would be in an ROTC program, but her hopes of participating in a program in high school were shuttered after she learned her school didn’t offer it.  

Now in her junior year at Johnson C. Smith University, the Communication Arts major and Blackwood, S.C. native has become the first student in the newly re-launched ROTC program.

The program was originally launched in the early 1900s. Most recently, the program had been offline for a decade prior to the official re-launch in 2023. 

Dr. Cheryl Curtis, director of Veterans and Military Affairs at JCSU, said she has been working on re-launching the program since she first joined the University more than eight years ago. 

“The ROTC program offers so many options for our students,” said Curtis. “There are a lot of entryways into the military. If a student sees the military as a part of their succession plan to the career they want, we at JCSU want to be able to offer those pathways to our students.”

Hogan was one of the many students who expressed interest in the program. Now, she says JCSU has allowed her the opportunity to continue the storied legacy built by her family while growing personally and professionally.

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Cheryl Curtis
Dr. Cheryl Curtis

“I am excited to participate in the ROTC program because it will teach me the skills I need in life,” she said. “It will also teach me about discipline and remind me that it's not all about me, but it's about working as a team and doing good for those around you.”

The program is taught in a consortium where area colleges such as JCSU, Davidson College, Wingate University and Pfeiffer University gather at the institution with the largest number of cadets: UNC Charlotte.

The ROTC Consortium is operated under the direction of Lt. Col. Joseph A. Frederick.

As a cadet, Hogan is required to take a number of military science classes and participate in physical training (PT) a number of times each week. She said her PT days start at 5:30 a.m., followed by a lab class from 7 to 9 a.m., where she learns about the basics of the Army.

Hogan and others who participate in and successfully complete a collegiate ROTC program are eligible to be commissioned into the military as an officer. 

As an officer, Hogan will be diversifying the military landscape as a female officer of color. The military is dominated by white male leadership, something that is projected to change in the coming decades as more women rise through the ranks.

“It feels awesome to be the first cadet representing JCSU in the re-launched ROTC program,” said Hogan. “The military needs more female representation. I think more Black females, and females in general, should consider joining the military.”

Hogan plans to be an active-duty soldier and hopes to eventually be stationed in Hawaii or to be close to home at Fort Jackson or Fort Sumpter. 

She said she is looking forward to her commissioning ceremony in the near future. Curtis said future ceremonies will take place during the University’s Commencement Exercises. 

“That’s going to be a really good day,” she said. “My granddad would be super proud.”

For more information about the ROTC program at JCSU, contact Curtis at ccurtis@jcsu.edu. 
 

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