ROTC Program Welcomes New Leader

The leader of ROTC shaking a cadet's hand.
Lt. Col. David Gunther, right, welcomes new ROTC cadet Francis Okonski

Widener University is pleased to announce the addition of Lt. Col. David Gunther as professor and chair of the Department of Military Science. In this role, Gunther serves as the officer in charge of the U.S. Army ROTC program based on the Widener University campus.

The program includes roughly 150 cadets who are enrolled at Widener and seven other regional colleges and universities. Together they make up the Dauntless Battalion, one of the largest ROTC programs in the region.

Prior to his assignment to this three-year term on the Widener campus, Gunther spent four years in Washington, D.C. as legislative assistant for the vice chief of staff of the Army, the second-highest ranking officer in the U.S. Army. In this role, he focused on assisting the Army vice chief of staff with all of his Congressional engagements.

At Widener, Gunther leads and supports the cadets as they navigate four years of training designed to build future Army officers. He oversees a staff of 11, concentrating on everything from the military science course curriculum – and the base knowledge of things like rank structure and appearance of the Army uniform – up through the leadership development of each cadet. He works to identify their strengths and weaknesses and facilitate their growth and transformation into future officers. The goal is to build officers who are competent to manage a formation within the U.S. Army upon their graduation and commissioning. 

“They will be leading America’s most precious resource – our sons and daughters – so we want well-balanced officers who are able to manage their own time, manage their formation’s time, and understand what’s important to them in providing a trained and ready force that is able to tackle whatever task is given to them,” Gunther said. “I am humbled to assume this role and honored to do it at a university with such a distinguished military history.”

Widener University’s roots trace back to 1821, when it began as a school for boys. It evolved into Pennsylvania Military Academy and eventually Pennsylvania Military College, which operated for several decades on what today is the Widener campus. The university began administering the ROTC program in 1973. 

Widener President Julie E. Wollman said the Army made an excellent choice in assigning Gunther to the university.

“The Army places great important on putting the right people into these leadership positions, and this role is also of great importance to our university and to me, as we share a common goal of molding and shaping leaders of strong character. Lt. Col. Gunther is exceptionally well suited to this work, and I am pleased to welcome him to Widener,” Wollman said.

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