For the first time since 1973 and since the return of the NROTC to campus, a NROTC cadet, GS graduate Abigale Marie Wyatt '14, was commissioned as a U.S. Navy officer May 22, 2014 in Low Memorial Library Rotunda at Columbia University in the City of New York. More than 100 guests, including family, friends, educators, administrators and Naval officers attended the historic ceremony that celebrated the achievements and bright future of Ensign Wyatt.
The ceremony opened with the presentation of the official party and an invocation from Commander Joel D. Newman '76GS, U.S. Navy, followed by remarks from Columbia University Provost John H. Coatsworth and Professor Peter J. Awn, Dean of the School of General Studies, who introduced Rear Admiral Dan Cloyd, U.S. Navy. Captain Ted Graske '59CC, U.S. Navy (ret) performed the Presentation of the Sword. All the speakers focused on Ensign Wyatt's impressive achievements, as well as the importance and historical significance of the relationship between Columbia University and the U.S. Navy.
The commissioning then became official with the Reading of the Commissioning Scroll and the administration of Oath of Office by Captain Matthew Loughlin, Columbia University NROTC director. Ensign Wyatt was joined by family and friends for the Installation of Insignia. In a touching moment, the traditional Rendering of First Salute was performed by Ensign Wyatt's father, Petty Officer, First Class William Wyatt, U.S. Navy (ret). The ceremony closed with Anchors Aweigh and the Marines' Hymn and was followed by a reception where the cutting of the cake was performed using the sword that was bestowed upon Ensign Wyatt. Ensign Wyatt then took a moment to toast all in attendance and express her gratitude for the opportunity to be part of such an historic moment.
Ensign Abigale Marie Wyatt was born and raised in New Hampshire. At 21, she enlisted in the United States Navy and became a Cryptologic Technician - Interpretive (CTI) and subsequently was employed providing translation services at NSA Georgia at Fort Gordon.
During her time at NSA Georgia, Wyatt was selected for the Navy’s Seaman to Admiral-21 Program, a prestigious program that provides support and financial assistance, allowing outstanding active duty sailors to receive a top-notch college education and become commissioned officers in the U.S. Navy. She has spent the past five years in the Navy and graduated from Columbia University School of General Studies on May 21, 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics.
She will now head to Naval Air Station Pensacola to begin her training to become a Naval Aviator. Wyatt will have an eight-year commitment to the Navy after she finishes pilot training, and she expects to go to graduate school, which the Navy encourages. She leaves Columbia with a wealth of knowledge and experience. “I’ve met so many intelligent people with so many different goals and so many different opinions,” she says. “It’s a unique environment and I’m going to miss it.”
You can learn more about Ensign Wyatt and the return of the NROTC at Columbia here.