The students are part of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Green to Gold program and have earned the most coveted option of the program—known as the “active duty option”—through which a soldier-student retains active duty status while pursuing a degree.

Participants are part of an elite group, said Mark Casey, who heads up the UofL program at Fort Knox for the College of Education and Human Development.

“The thing about these students is that they have to be exceptional to get into this program,” he said. “They need to have completed at least 60 credit hours of college and have an outstanding grade point average.”

Most of the students will continue to live at Ft. Knox. They will either drive to Louisville for classes or take classes online. Seven participants are pursuing a bachelor’s degree in workforce leadership and one is completing a master’s degree in human resource education.

All of the students already are in some type of leadership or managerial role in the U.S. Army and typically have 10 years or more of military experience, Casey said.

“These are soldiers who have already had a successful military career and are working to take the next step,” he explained, adding that when the student-soldiers graduate, they will be commissioned as 2nd lieutenants and assigned to a post appropriate for their career specialty.

UofL right now has more active-duty Green to Gold student-soldiers than any other university in the nation, Casey said. Typically, only 200 people are chosen for the program from a pool of more than 800 applicants.

UofL participants are:

  • Staff Sgt. Jonathan Berg
  • Sergeant First Class John Whitlock
  • Sergeant First Class Ricardo Resto
  • Staff Sgt. Jonathon Charney
  • Staff Sgt. Christopher Frey
  • Sgt. David Hea
  • Staff Sgt. Nathan Lease
  • Staff Sgt. Brendan Sandmann