Rider graduate commissioned as Army second lieutenant

Benjamin Sanders ’17 will lead officers in military police force
Rachel Stengel '14

Benjamin Sanders 17 is about to begin his dream career. On May 6, he officially became a second lieutenant officer in the U.S. Army during a commissioning ceremony in the Theater in the Bart Luedeke Center. Having completed his undergraduate studies a semester early, he is the only graduating senior who will walk at Commencement on May 11 to be commissioned into the Army.

The ceremony was a turning point for Sanders who has spent the past four years as a member of the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

"I'm this 22-year-old college kid who only knows ROTC and now I'm an officer in the Army. It's a significant moment for me," he says. "I've wanted to join the military since my freshman year of high school. I see it as a stepping stone toward achieving bigger and better things and making a difference in the world."

The double major in criminal justice and political science spent hundreds of hours training his mind and body in ROTC. In addition to physical training, he completed increasingly difficult military science classes and tactical training sessions with Princeton University's Tiger Battalion, which also includes cadets from Princeton, The College of New Jersey and Rowan University. Sanders credits his professors for helping him balance his ROTC and academic commitments.

"My professors were so helpful," he says. "It was really hard the end of my sophomore and junior years. I was taking up to 24 credits and summer classes, but with their help I was able to finish a semester early. They also encouraged me to pursue my master's in homeland security, which I'll be finishing up this summer."

After earning his master's, Sanders will report for five and a half months of training in January at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. He will then be assigned a unit in the military police in Catonsville, Maryland, not far from his hometown of Annapolis.

"I believe the military makes me a better person overall," he says. "Giving back to your country and protecting others — there's no greater honor. I've always wanted to help people and give back."