Thirty-six Cadets received Associate’s degrees and will matriculate to other colleges and universities to complete their Bachelor’s degrees.
Cadet Elijah Kornbau, the salutatorian, earned the distinction of ranking second academically in his class. Graduating with an Associate of Arts in Security Studies, Summa Cum Laude with a grade point average of 3.97, Cadet Kornbau will complete his Bachelor’s Degree at Florida Tech.
Cadet Zachary D’Andrea, the class valedictorian, earned a 4.0-grade point average. Cadet D’Andrea graduates with an Associate of Science in Business Administration, Summa Cum Laude, and will complete his Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Houston.
“This Corps of Cadets has achieved Academic Excellence, one of the Cornerstones of a VFMC education,” said Robert F. Smith, Ph.D., M.Ed., Provost, Valley Forge Military College. “The class average is a 3.65 – a notable achievement considering the demands of ROTC training and fulfilling leadership responsibilities required of Cadets here.”
The Five Cornerstones are Academic Excellence, Physical Development, Personal Motivation, Character Development, and Leadership.
Thirty-two graduates have completed the Early Commissioning Program (ECP) and are commissioning as 2nd lieutenants in the US Army. The ECP enables the Cadets to commission a full two years ahead of other ROTC programs.
Four Cadets who graduate as Citizen Leaders will not enter military service.
“The Cadets commissioning today are dedicated to their education and our country,” said Lieutenant Colonel Joshua A. Meyer, US Army, professor of Military Science at VFMC. “As newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenants, they are well-prepared for the leadership roles they now assume as they complete their degrees.”
The commencement address for the 86th Class of Cadets was delivered by VFMC graduate General Gustav Perna, ’81 C, US Army (ret) and currently Chief Operating Officer of DEFCOM AI.
He is a four-star general whose last command was overseeing the federal COVID-19 response for vaccine and therapeutics, and chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed overseeing the logistics of the federal government’s distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Gen Perna previously served as the 19th commanding general of the United States Army Materiel Command and for two years as the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff overseeing policies and procedures used by all United States Army logistic personnel worldwide.
Prior to joining the Army staff, he served in many positions, including Deputy Chief of Staff, Army Materiel Command, executive officer of the Defense Logistics Agency, commander of the Philadelphia Defense Supply Center, and commander of the 4th Sustainment Command. He has been deployed to Iraq, Somalia, and Bosnia.
He retired from the Army on July 2, 2021 after over 40 years of service.
“We are privileged to welcome General Perna back to campus,” said Col. Stuart B. Helgeson, USMCR (ret), President, Valley Forge Military Academy & College. “He is among a community of notable leaders who have taken their VFMAC education to the highest levels of military service, government, business, and education.”
Other graduates include General H.R. McMaster, Maryland Governor Wes Moore, General Norman Schwarzkopf, and Panama President Laurentino Cortizo Cohen, among others.
The mission of Valley Forge Military Academy & College is to develop individuals to be fully prepared for the responsibilities of being citizen leaders by producing graduates who are strong in mind, body, and soul.
Valley Forge Military College in Wayne is a private two-year college committed to equipping young men and women to boldly face the challenges of life. It is the Military College of Pennsylvania.