Battalion History

The Department of Military Science has a rich history at the University of Northern Iowa, dating back to 1891.

Professors of Military Science

  • 2021-Present: LTC Dean R. Ray, Logistics
  • 2017-2021: LTC Michael Harris, Logistics
  • 2013-2017: LTC Glen P. Keith, Logistics
  • 2009-2013: LTC John C. Roadcap, Field Artillery
  • 2005-2009: LTC Chris E. Lukasiewicz, Engineer
  • 2002-2005: LTC Robert P. Stavnes, Armor
  • 1999-2002: LTC Michael P. DePuglio, Aviation
  • 1996-1999: LTC Danny R. Syhre, Quartermaster
  • 1992-1996: LTC Timothy A. Rippe, Field Artillery
  • 1991-1992: LTC Mark S. Levitt (CPT Charles H. Allison, acting PMS)
  • 1987-1991: LTC David Merrifield, Aviation
  • 1984-1987: MAJ Gary L. Adam



Loras College in Dubuque joined the UNI Panther Battalion as a cross-town partner.  Students at Loras College can take Military Science classes at the University of Dubuque and compete for ROTC scholarships.  


The University of Dubuque (UD) identified the need for ROTC opportunities in Eastern Iowa and began offering Military Science classes in early 2000, officially becoming a Partner School with the University of Northern Iowa in 2001. Staff and Cadre at UNI provide oversight and training assistance to the Cadre at UD and students from UNI and UD train together several times a year. 


In 1987, the program was authorized host status, giving the UNI Panther Battalion equal status with the battalions at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University. 


The first commissioning ceremony, held in May 1983, produced six U.S. Army second lieutenants. 


A proposal made to initiate the unit at UNI as an extension from the host unit at the University of Iowa, was approved by University President Kamerick and the State Board of Regents in June 1981. Military Science instruction began in August of that year, with the Panther Detachment of the Hawkeye Battalion organized soon thereafter.

The University of Northern Iowa's Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps detachment was established in 1981 as an extension center of the University of Iowa. With an assigned cadre strength of two, the cadet corps began with 21 cadets. 

1903 - 1981

During this time there was no ROTC program at UNI and no Military Science Classes were offered through a commissioning program. However, the University of Northern Iowa (then known as the Iowa State Teachers College) has a long history of supporting Military Training and Veterans during World War I & II.


When the United States entered World War II, there was a sudden great need to train large numbers of people for the various branches of military service. College campuses were logical choices as training centers because of the existing facilities and the reduced wartime enrollments. The Board of Education approved several training centers on the Teachers College campus. In December 1942, the first contingent of WAVES (Women's Appointed Volunteer Emergency Service) arrived on campus to begin their basic training. During the war, over twelve thousand women took their WAVES basic training in Cedar Falls. In another WAVES program, over ten thousand women took Yeoman's, or secretarial, training, on campus. In a third program, the Army Air Force established a center and put over two thousand men through training here as well.

Enrollment, particularly of male students, declined sharply during the war. In 1943-1944, only 820 students (including just seventy-five men) enrolled. Intercollegiate athletics were curtailed. When the war ended, 2157 men and women from the Teachers College had served in the military. Sixty-nine died while in the service.

The end of the war brought rapid changes. Enrollment for 1945-1946 was 1233; in 1946-1947 enrollment more than doubled to 2475. In all likelihood, if these postwar students had fit the young and unmarried profile of traditional students, the college and town could have solved the problems caused by surging enrollment fairly easily. But many of these new students were older veterans with families. Finding housing for these GIs and their families proved very difficult. Students went door-to-door around town in an attempt to find living quarters. The college hastily built several kinds of "temporary" housing for married students in the area now occupied by the Industrial Arts Center and the adjacent parking lots. This area, known as Sunset Village eventually included housing for several hundred families in Quonset huts and other slightly more substantial units.


With the beginning of American involvement in World War I in 1917, male students took military training instead of physical education. The Board of Education made liberal provision for faculty and students who wished to join the armed forces. Faculty were assured that their positions would be waiting for them when they returned from service. Students were allowed to conclude their current studies and then resume their studies when they returned, with a minimum of difficulty. 541 students and alumni served in the armed forces during the war; eight died while in the service. A Student Army Training Corps unit, with forty-nine students under the command of a regular officer of the US Army, was organized on campus in October 1918. However, with the Armistice shortly thereafter on November 11, the unit was discharged on December 13, 1918.


The Department of Military Science and Tactics functioned at the University of Northern Iowa, (then known as the Iowa State Normal School), from 1891 through 1903. William A Dinwiddie, a retired lieutenant in the U.S. Army, was appointed professor in 1891. Two companies of uniformed cadets were formed. All able-bodied male students were required to participate. Three hours of military drill were held each week, and an optional class in military science and tactics was also offered. Dinwiddie's death in 1901 led to the decline of the program, and it was disbanded in 1903 by action of President Theodore Roosevelt.