The Army ROTC program at University of the Cumberlands recently hosted its first contracting ceremony since the program’s reinstatement in fall of 2019.

Christopher Waylyn James, a sophomore from Chatsworth, Georgia; Zalon Reynolds, a junior from Sterrett, Alabama; and Phillip (Carter) Nelson, a junior from Nolensville, Tennessee signed contracts in pursuance of commissions as Army Officers during the ceremony, which was held on Cumberlands’ campus.

Signing a contract with an Army ROTC program is similar to when a high school senior signs onto an athletic team at a college. Though the student has not yet become an official member of the team or begun training with that team, they have publicly signed a document that states their intent to play for a particular school beginning on a pre-determined date. 

In order to contract, students must have completed at least 30 credit hours of their bachelor’s degree, pass physical fitness and body composition tests, pass medical screenings, and display a commitment to Army values and beliefs.  Students who contract earn the title “Cadet” and are henceforth expected to meet higher standards of leadership and excellence for the duration of their time in the ROTC program.

Major Stephen Moore, who leads the Patriots Company at Cumberlands, said he was excited for the students who decided to contract.

“Contracting is the first of two public milestones during the college career of a Cadet,” said Moore. “It means that the student has chosen to be a part of something bigger than himself, adopted the Army lifestyle, and is on the path to becoming an Army Officer.  If the student successfully grows as a leader and makes it through the process, he will have the privilege of earning his commission, which is the second milestone.”

Moore added, “I am proud of these students and am honored to be a part of their journey. I have no doubt that these young men will rise to the challenge and grow to be phenomenal leaders.  I look forward to what the future holds for them.”

Colonel (Retired) Stephen Sears spoke during the contracting ceremony, offering encouragement and advice to the Patriots Company.  COL (Ret.) Sears is a 1990 Distinguished Military Graduate of Cumberlands who retired from the military in 2016 after serving more than 26 years in the Army.  He received several awards during his service, including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and Humanitarian Service Medal, among others.

The new Patriots Company brought in almost 20 students in its first year and is expected to add more members come fall 2020.  MAJ Moore encourages all who are interested in serving their community or learning about the fundamentals of leadership to enroll in the military science courses in the fall. Details can be found at