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STEPHENVILLE (June 22, 2015) — Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Kenny Weldon has been tapped to lead Tarleton State University’s Corps of Cadets, a program being re-established at the Stephenville campus.
“The return of the Corps of Cadets to Tarleton is a reflection of the great military history and tradition that the university has enjoyed as part of The Texas A&M University System,” said university President. F. Dominic Dottavio. “As we approach our 100th anniversary as part of the System, it is most appropriate that we reinvigorate this outstanding program.”
Weldon will serve as commandant of the cadets and begin his new role July 1.
A native of Stephenville, Weldon retired in 2011 after serving 26 years in the Air Force. While on active duty, he served as an Air Force civil engineer officer and led organizations at the installation, military department and Secretary of Defense levels. Weldon’s military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and Legion of Merit.
“It is a significant decision to revive a Corps of Cadets program at Tarleton State University. I am extremely honored and excited with this unique opportunity to lead the renewal of this important element of Tarleton’s heritage,” said Weldon. “It is also an extraordinary opportunity to assist in the development of young men and women as they prepare for future leadership positions, both in the military and civilian sectors.
Tarleton’s historic Corps of Cadets, which dates back to 1917, will open to students this fall. Members will enroll in military science classes, but not be required to join the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). The lower floor of a new residence hall, Traditions, will house the corps office, and cadets will live together there. Through structure, discipline and a code of ethics, Tarleton’s Corps of Cadets will enhance student leadership skills.
“Both the private and public sectors today are in need of strong leadership,” said Dr. Alex del Carmen, executive director of the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Strategic Studies, which houses the Department of Military Science and the new Corps of Cadets. “Tarleton’s Corps of Cadets will nurture individuals who will go out into society and become our future leaders.”
Weldon noted that “The United States military ethos is built on clearly articulated values meant to serve the greater good and elevate service above self. As a military officer, I am impressed with Tarleton’s commitment to core values. The Cadet Corps will have a unique opportunity to promote those values through leadership and character development, combined with the pursuit of academic excellence. These elements, expressed through the students who will choose to participate in the program, should produce outstanding graduates and enable the Cadet Corps to become a standard bearer of excellence for Tarleton State University.”
Weldon is in his second term as Stephenville mayor, first elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2014.
In addition to his elected office, Weldon serves on the boards of the Brazos G Regional Water Planning Group and the North Central Texas Workforce Commission. He is a member of Tarleton’s Military Veterans Advisory Board, the Stephenville Education Foundation Board, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes – Cross Timbers Board, the local Optimist Club and the American Legion Post 240.
A graduate of Stephenville High School, Weldon is a member of the Stephenville Academic Hall of Fame. He is a 1985 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, with a bachelor’s in civil engineering. He also holds a master’s in engineering and environmental management as well as a master’s in national security strategy from the National Defense University, Washington, D.C.