A Proud History, A Bright Future
On September 10, 1874 Chauncey Rose formed a corporation called the Terre Haute School of Industrial Science. The Board of Managers was organized in October of 1874, and a contract was let for the construction of the main academic building in 1875. On September 11, 1875 the Board of Managers changed the name of the school to Rose Polytechnic Institute, despite strong protests from Mr. Rose.
The first students entered Rose Poly in 1883. From 1883 to 1908, 1408 students attended the school and 526 graduated. During this time courses in Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Chemistry, Electrical Engineering, and Architecture were placed in the curriculum. During World War II Rose became a college associated with the Army Specialized Training Program to help train engineers for the war effort. Rose operated on a year-round basis with freshman entering and seniors graduating every quarter.
After hosting a unit of the Student Army Training Corps and playing an active role in training engineers and mechanics for the Army during World War I, Rose Polytechnic Institute was authorized to have an ROTC Engineer unit on 15 February 1919. The unit was organized by Captain William D. Weidlein, Corps of Engineers, on 8 March 1919. Initial enrollment was 111 cadets, of which all but eight had been in the Student Army Training Corps.
On 8 June 1922, Charles D. Baker and Leroy A. Wilson became the first graduates of the ROTC unit at Rose Polytechnic Institute to receive commissions into the Engineer Reserve Corps as Second Lieutenants.
Graduation was advanced to 9 May in 1942 so that ROTC graduates could take their oath of office and enter military service earlier than usual. During World War II ROTC at Rose Polytechnic Institute was supplemented by an Army Specialized Training Unit.
During the "Post War" period of 1946-1950 the college graduated seniors and took in freshman every quarter. This increased the college enrollment, but ROTC enrollment was the lowest in the detachment's history during this period because most students were veterans.
ISU was contracted for cross-enrollment in 1967. ROTC was added at DePauw by cross-enrollment in 1974 and at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, Vincennes University in 1976 and USI in 2004.