Ogonowski Scholarship Awarded
By Sandra Seitz
A solemn Flag Retreat ceremony marked the 60th anniversary of Air Force ROTC Detachment 345 on campus, as alumni, cadets and guests gathered in memory and celebration.
And, just days after the announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, the 2011 John Ogonowski Memorial Scholarship was awarded, honoring the memory of the Det. 345 and UMass Lowell 1972 alumnus who was pilot of a United Airlines plane on Sept. 11, 2001.
While praising the life and service of Capt. John Ogonowski, Chancellor Marty Meehan said, “After 15 years serving on the Armed Services Committee in Congress, I have been deeply impressed by what all of our men and women do, and with such integrity.” Meehan awarded the scholarship to political science major Robert D. Lewis, ranked the top junior year cadet in leadership, fitness and academic excellence.
When Det. 345 was founded in 1951, the Air Force itself was only 4 years old and ROTC was compulsory on the Lowell Tech campus. Nearly 3,000 men and women have passed through the program and been commissioned – serving in various Air Force positions and in other careers. A good representation of alumni from different decades attended the event, including three from 1956, all graduates of the leather engineering program.
“I’ve spoken with many alumni in planning this event,” said Lt. Col. Matthew McSwain, commander of Det. 345. “All the alumni share a deep love and commitment to their country, their university and this detachment.”
Keynote speaker Richard W. Lombardi, a member of the Senior Executive Service of the Air Force, directs the Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base and is himself a 1980 ULowell and Det. 345 alum.
Encouraging the graduates to “take risks, try new ideas” and “continue to study history and humanities,” Lombardi said, “You will have opportunities that do not exist in the private sector. You will also have enormous responsibilities.”
In conclusion, Lombardi said, “Remember and treasure your roots here at UMass Lowell and in Detachment 345.”
Check out more photos from the Air Force ROTC anniversary in the University's photo gallery