Commissioning celebrated as part of commencement for the first time
UW-La Crosse senior Justin Jorstad will celebrate two great achievements this Sunday, Dec. 15.
He’ll graduate from UWL and be commissioned into the Army as a second lieutenant — all during the same ceremony. This is the first time UWL will conduct a commissioning into the Army as part of commencement. Lt. Col. Erik Archer, chair of UWL’s Military Science Department, will swear Jorstad into the Army in front of his classmates, professors, university leaders and others.
“I think the university community together bearing witness to the moment he becomes a commissioned Army officer is powerful,” says Archer. “I think we sometimes see a gap between civilian life and the military. So, instead of holding a commissioning ceremony in a separate room, we can build bridges across these camps by holding it in front of everyone. It feels organic and natural, and it is a way for cadets to see how meaningful this moment is.”
A total of 725 students will receive degrees at UWL’s Winter Commencement Ceremony Sunday, Dec. 15, at the La Crosse Center, 300 Harborview Plaza, La Crosse. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. Find more details at on the UWL Commencement website.
Jorstad being recognized in front of peers shows not only his own personal achievement, but also the achievements of the Eagle Battalion of the Reserve Officer Training Corps program (ROTC), he says.
“I would not have been able to get to where I am right now without the help of the Eagle Battalion Cadre and knowledgeable professors within my degree,” says Jorstad. “They have been a guiding hand in helping me attain my degree and commissioning into the Army.”
Jorstad, who is receiving a bachelor’s degree in marketing, will fly helicopters for the Army. The current commander of the Army’s Aviation School is Lt. Col. Keith Hill, who is also a UWL alumnus.