Five members of the University of Richmond’s Spider Battalion, all students in the School of Arts & Sciences, were commissioned into the United States Army on Saturday, May 10 at Cannon Memorial Chapel.

Richmond’s senior cadets received the following branch assignments:

Justin Collins (political science) – Military Police
Ryan Corken (criminal justice – Engineer
Jack Davis (political science) – Ordnance
Jamie Donohue (English) – Field Artillery
Michael Thompson (political science) – Infantry

Two 2007 graduates were special guests at the commissioning. Lt. Graves returned earlier this month from his first combat deployment to Iraq with the 82d Airborne Division. Lt. Nihill recently returned from completing one of the most rigorous military courses, the U.S. Army Ranger School, and will soon be posted to the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Italy. 

Lt. Col. Doug Gillem credited the success of the Spider Battalion cadets with the strong education the University’s educators provide. 

“While there are other requirements to commission, none is more important to our Army, or valuable to our soldiers, than the education you provide. Our cadre does not instruct them on how to articulate their thoughts, ideas, instructions and commands. You do. Our cadre does not teach them the concepts of logic, problem-solving, and critical analysis. You do. Our cadre can only mentor them after you have laid the most important of foundations. I have found that after 19 years of service and four tours in combat, nothing is more useful to an officer, or valuable to their soldiers, than one’s intelligence,” Gillem told faculty.