“When I went to IUP, I had no intention of serving in the military,” said Rodney Ruddock ’65, M’75. But Ruddock, like other incoming freshman males at IUP in 1961, was required to enroll in ROTC.
“I came to realize I enjoyed the structure and purpose” of ROTC and the military, Ruddock said. He decided the military might be a “worthy alternative” to his planned career in education. As a result of that introduction to ROTC, Ruddock enjoyed long and successful careers both as an educator and principal and as a general officer in the U.S. Army Reserve.
“They complemented each other,” he said of the two hats he wore throughout much of his working life. “That blend was very helpful.”
While Ruddock was a student at IUP, two ROTC officers most influenced him: Col. Archie Madsen, who was a professor of Military Science, and Capt. John Burke, who later as a colonel also served as a PMS at IUP. The two officers impressed on Ruddock the importance of doing one’s best, not just in military duty but in all aspects of life, for one’s personal pride.
“The training through ROTC was engaging,” Ruddock said. “The old (annex) building barely filled the needs” of the department.
The cadets had drill and ceremony on Tuesdays and Thursdays, usually on the nearby football field, but when the weather was cold or wet the cadets moved into Fisher Auditorium for noisy and crowded sessions of D and C.
Even though Ruddock underwent his initial military training on a college campus in the turbulent 1960s, he doesn’t recall any significant anti-war sentiment from other students. “We didn’t observe concerns or lack of favor because of what was going on in Vietnam,” he said.
Ruddock graduated after majoring in Mathematics and Safety Education and served with the Army’s security agency in Thailand from 1966 to 1969. He returned to IUP and received a master’s degree in Counseling Education. In May, an IUP residence hall was named in his honor.
He retired in 2003 from the Indiana Area School District with thirty-four years of service and after thirty-seven years of military service in the Army and Army Reserve, attaining the rank of major general. Now an Indiana County commissioner, Ruddock is one of eight ROTC cadets commissioned at IUP who went on to become general officers (one-star generals or higher).
The others, in order of graduation year:
- Maj. Gen. Leonard Hoch ’59
- Lt. Gen. Joseph Laposata ’60
- Brig. Gen. Thomas Jacoby ’64
- Maj. Gen. Larry Gottardi ’71
- Maj. Gen. Thomas Csrnko ’74
- Brig. Gen. Robin Swan ’78
- Brig. Gen. Leslie Miller Purser ’80
More from the Summer 2010 Issue of IUP Magazine
The 2009–2010 men’s basketball team won more games than any other and competed on nationwide television for the Division II crown.
In six decades, the ROTC program at IUP has produced nearly two thousand U.S. Army second lieutenants, not to mention eight generals.
Legacy Gala, Ruddock Hall, who’s in that photo, and more
Highlights about IUP faculty members, past and present
The latest IUP player to be picked in the NFL draft, plus other newsworthy IUP athletes
IUP Magazine Web Exclusives
June 30, 2010
What distinguishes our Western Pennsylvania dialect?
May 12, 2010
Promoting Native American awareness at IUP.
April 21, 2010
Explore the 270 acres of the Co-op Recreational Park and the IUP Sailing Base at Yellow Creek State Park.