Julia Thomas commissioned as an Ensign in US Navy

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

On December 17, 2021, the Penn community gathered at Houston Hall to celebrate the commissioning of Julia Thomas as an Ensign in the United States Navy. Ensign Thomas, originally from Hagerstown, MD, was this year’s sole Navy ROTC scholarship recipient with the rare fall graduation. During her 4.5 years at Penn, she earned both a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Economics with a focus on Healthcare Management and Policy.

Known as midshipmen during their undergraduate years, NROTC students participate in drill and physical training, take Naval Science classes, and partake in leadership development curriculum.  

"Ensign Thomas was an exemplary leader during her time here at Penn. We are proud to call her a graduate of our program, and we're excited to see the outstanding contributions she'll make to our nation's military medical community."

Ensign Thomas will be joining the Navy Nurse Corps at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, CA. She follows a long, rich history of leadership between University of Pennsylvania and the Navy, dating back to the founding of our nation. In 1798, President John Adams appointed Penn graduate Benjamin Stoddert to oversee the newly established Department of the Navy. Stoddert’s leadership and vision helped lay the groundwork for the extraordinary US Navy we possess today.

University of Pennsylvania’s Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps program seeks to train the most technically and tactically proficient officers to serve in the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Half of participants enter the program as freshmen with a full academic scholarship. Program participants are supported by Navy officers based at Penn and are commissioned upon graduation.

Penn’s Newest Midshipmen Honored

Tuesday, May 25, 2021
May 2021 midshipmen honored

On May 15, the University’s NROTC annual Pass in Review ceremony was celebrated aboard the USS New Jersey.

On May 15, a sunny Saturday with calm seas, 15 1/C midshipmen were commissioned as ensigns and 2nd lieutenants aboard the USS New Jersey. The ceremony, called Pass in Review, is a longstanding military tradition, and historically has been a way for a newly assigned commander to inspect their troops. The modern ceremony, held each spring, marks the midshipmen’s “graduation” in a special ceremony, aside from Commencement, shared with family members and guests, and Vice Provost for University Life Mamta Accapadi.

Eighty-one years after being established at Penn, NROTC is still an active part of University life. In 2021, Penn’s Naval ROTC saw 15 future officers in the Navy and Marine Corps presented with their rank and insignia.

Penn’s history of producing military leaders dates back to the first commandant of the Marine Corps, Samuel Nicholas, a Penn student in the 1750s, and the first secretary of the Navy, Benjamin Stoddert, a 1777 graduate. Historically, more than 1,500 officers have graduated from Penn.