A retired U.S. Air Force colonel has been named dean of Tarleton State University's new Leadership and Military College.
Col. Kenny Weldon will continue his role as Commandant of the Texan Corps of Cadets.
Tarleton State University's Leadership and Military College was created as a result of the growing Texan Corps of Cadets, and
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The number of cadets has almost doubled over the past four years, and the Tarleton State University's Leadership and Military College was created as a result of this growth.
The corps was originally founded in 1917, when Tarleton became founding member of The Texas A&M University System.
Part student military organization and part leadership training enterprise, including a minor in leadership studies, the
Texan Corps of Cadets, a student military organization and a leadership training enterprise, is the nation's only group of its kind not associated with a senior military college.
Tarleton State University is the only four-year university in the country to implement a military college with a corps of cadets.
"Establishing a Leadership and Military College is the right thing to do for our students and for our country," university President James Hurley said. "Regardless of the path they choose, our cadets leave Tarleton prepared to serve as effective, successful front-runners in a world where commitment, perseverance and teamwork make all the difference."
Col. Kenny Weldon, a Stephenville native, was tapped in 2016 as commandant, and he has played a significant role in re-establishing and growing the Texan Corps of Cadets.
Weldon retired in 2011 after 26 years in the Air Force, where he served as a civil engineer officer and led organizations at the installation, military department, and Secretary of Defense levels.
His military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and Legion of Merit.
Weldon graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a bachelor degree's in civil engineering. He also holds a master degree in engineering and environmental management as well as a master degree in national security strategy from the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.
In addition to the Texan Corps of Cadets, Tarleton's Leadership and Military College offers a leadership degree and certificate as well as many internship opportunities.
The college is comprised of the Office of the Commandant, the Military Science and Aerospace Studies department, and the Department of Leadership Studies.
"The ultimate value of Tarleton's Leadership and Military College is facilitating the development of the individual as a leader for the 21st century," Weldon said. "Leadership skills learned by student cadets have application both in and out of uniform - to serve the greater good and elevate service above self, a concept that aligns with the military ethos 'mission first, people always.' The corps experience is designed to instill care for others."
The Texan Corps of Cadets requires sophomores, juniors and seniors to support newer students and help them learn personal discipline and focus.
The corps utilizes a 24-hour schedule to make time for classes, homework, meals, physical training, military duties, personal time, and sleep.
"We want all cadets to embrace the ideas of accountability, responsibility and commitment, and to do so 168 hours a week or all the time. We call this ARC168 leadership," Weldon said. "These traits are vital characteristics of successful members of any team or profession and encourage the development of habits that enable success in life."
Following graduation, many Texan cadets commission through the Reserve Officers' Training Corps as officers in the Army, Air Force, or Marine Corps. Other graduates follow a civilian track called Texan Leader with no military obligation.
The ultimate enrollment goal for the Leadership and Military College is 500 cadets by 2026.