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Widener ROTC Commissions 19 Cadets from Three Area Universities

Widener senior Haley Photis (left) shares her first salute as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army with 1st Sgt. (retired) Jason Seeburger.

Widener University’s Dauntless Battalion commissioned 19 cadets as second lieutenants of the U.S. Army on Thursday, May 14. Cadets from Villanova University, West Chester University of Pennsylvania and Widener University participated in a joint commissioning ceremony in front of Widener’s Old Main building by the university’s Veterans Memorial.

Widener is the host institution for ROTC activity at the Abington and Brandywine campuses of Pennsylvania State University, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Immaculata University, Neumann University, Villanova University and West Chester University of Pennsylvania. These partnerships help make Widener’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program one of the largest in the region, with 106 active cadets this academic year.

“This class, the class of 2015, has performed exceptionally well, and above the expectations for senior ROTC cadets,” said Lt. Col. John A McAfee, 2nd Brigade ROTC executive officer who presided over the commissioning ceremony. “As your brigade executive officer, I can tell you that the reputation of the Dauntless Battalion is among the best, not just in the 2nd Brigade, but in all of Cadet Command.”

Colonel Jeffery Jahnke delivered the keynote address. Jahnke served in all three components of the U.S. Army—Active, National Guard, and Army Reserve. He graduated from Widener University in 1985 as an ROTC Distinguished Military Graduate. He served on active duty from May 1985 through March 1996 with the 5th Infantry Division at Fort Polk, La., the 1st Armored Division in U.S. Army Europe/Germany, the 1st Armored Division in Southwest Asia during Operation Desert Shield/Storm, the 3rd Infantry Division in U.S. Army Europe/Germany, and the Combined Arms Support Command at Fort Lee, Va. Jahnke retires with 30 years of commissioned service on June 1, 2015. He is married to Captain LuAnn (Marvel) Jahnke, who graduated from Widener in 1984 and was also a member of the ROTC.

“Let’s take a moment to talk about these gold bars that each of your is about to receive,” Jahnke said. “They are a symbol to all who see them that you have been appointed by the President of the United States of America as a commissioned officer in the United States Army. That you have been trained and tested by the ROTC officers and cadre and found worthy of this appointment, and that you have accepted this commitment freely to your government and your fellow citizens. In short, this is one gold bar you can’t buy.”

The 19 cadets who were commissioned at the May 14 ceremony include Timothy Abbracciamento of Yardley, Pa. (Villanova); Katelyn Bard of Solon, Ohio (Villanova); Stephanie Bartikoski of Grand Rapids, Mich. (Villanova); Audrey Calkin of Honesdale, Pa. (Widener); Megan Capobianco of Clementon, N.J. (Widener); Douglas Cichowicz of King of Prussia, Pa. (West Chester); Joseph Colonna of Etters, Pa. (Widener); Benjamin Dungan of Lumberton, N.J. (Widener); Daniel Furth of West St. Paul, Minn.(Villanova); Samantha Korman of Egg Harbor Township, N.J.  (West Chester); Mark Lattanzi of Alpharetta, Ga (Villanova); Veronica Mora of Glassboro, N.J. (Widener); Michael Orrick of Annadale, Va. (Villanova); Francesco Pastino of Glen Mills, Pa. (West Chester); Haley Photis of Lancaster, Pa. (Widener); Nicholas Pinto of Prospect Park, Pa. (West Chester); Jaysen Satterwhite of Norristown, Pa. (West Chester); Michael Sorensen of Baltimore, Md. (Villanova); and Aaron Williams of Saco, Maine (Villanova).

Both Stephanie Bartikoski and Jaysen Satterwhite performed the sheathing of the saber, an annual tradition carried out by the battalion’s top cadets.

Widener University is a metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The university’s campuses in Chester, Exton and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve more than 6,000 students. Widener is proud to be a tobacco-free campus. Visit the university’s website,