Maj. Gen. Jerrold P. Allen, U.S. Air Force (retired), has announced his retirement from the position of commandant for the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, effective July 2011.
Allen has served for 12 years as commandant of the corps, which has experienced significant enrollment growth during his tenure.
Allen has also markedly shaped the corps’ leadership program. During his time as commandant, the Maj. Gen. W. Thomas Rice Center for Leader Development established a leadership minor and four leadership courses that receive academic credit for cadets. A joint effort between the corps of cadets and the Pamplin College of Business, the Rice Center offers a comprehensive program of academic course work, real-world leadership experiences, ethics education, public lectures, and guest speakers, as well as the minor degree program in leadership studies.
"Under General Allen's leadership, the quality of our leader development program has improved to an unprecedented level," said Col. Richard Roszak, U.S. Air Force (retired) and alumni director for the corps. "Our cadets receive an unparalleled level of leadership instruction and have a variety of opportunities to put to practice and develop the style of leadership that will give them the means to be successful leaders in military and civilian career choices. His interaction with our alumni, bringing them a sense of pride and ownership of the corps of cadets program, has also been exemplary."
Allen's work has resulted in increased recognition for the corps' leadership program, both within the organization and among the university community. For the past seven years, a cadet has been selected as the Virginia Tech Undergraduate Student Leader of the Year.
In addition to his work on leadership, Allen has led the corps to many other achievements during his tenure. He fostered an environment focused on academic success, resulting in an corps grade point average of 3.03 (on a 4.0 scale) for spring 2010. He also emphasized service, leading the corps to donate more than 9,700 hours of time serving the community in 2009-10, and garnering a Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Award for the organization in 2009.
He continually promoted an environment where Virginia Tech ROTC detachments have grown to be recognized as some of the best in the nation in their respective services. Some recent examples are the top Marine Officer Candidate School graduate in his class of 700 in 2009 and the top officer production for Air Force ROTC Senior Military Colleges in 2010. The Army ROTC was the top ROTC team in the national Army 10-miler in both 2008 and 2009. In 2001 and 2005, the top U.S. Navy midshipmen in the nation were from Virginia Tech.
“General Allen is the longest-serving commandant in the history of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets,” said Edward Spencer, vice president for student affairs. “The best indicator of his leadership is the fact that this fall we opened the year with 857 cadets, the highest cadet enrollment since 1969. We will wish him well in his well-deserved retirement; the search committee and I have our work cut out for us as we seek someone to fill this position with the vision and competence that he has brought to our campus.”
Prior to joining Virginia Tech in 1999, Allen served as director of plans and policy at U.S. European Command Headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. He served as a command pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours, commanded three flying wings, and flew 250 combat missions during his military career. He is active in the leadership of the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States and served as president of the organization in 2006 and 2007.
Allen’s military decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, and Air Medal with 13 oak clusters.
Allen retired from the Air Force in 1998, after serving 32 years. He received a bachelor’s degree in engineering management from the United States Air Force Academy and a master’s degree in business administration from Golden Gate University.
Raymond Smoot, university treasurer and chief operating officer of the Virginia Tech Foundation, will chair the search committee for the new commandant of cadets.
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