A little more than 100 years ago, well over 120 students and alumni from the Asheville Farm School were preparing to enter World War I. The enlistment trend continued for world and regional conflicts throughout the years, and the Farm School transitioned into Warren Wilson College.
Even in times when Americans weren’t fighting in a declared military engagement, undergraduates at the College joined the service. It’s a truth junior Caleb Stoudt recently demonstrated.
“Welcome all,” President Steven L. Solnick said to a group of 15 people gathered in his office. “Caleb, we’re honored that you’re doing this.”
Stoudt is joining the U.S. Army Reserves before he completes his Warren Wilson College degree. He took the official oath at the Military Entrance Processing Station when he enlisted, but his friends and family were unable to attend.
Stoudt asked President Solnick if he would help him unofficially re-enact the ceremony with his loved ones present. After checking with his recruiter to ensure the event coincided with military protocol, Stoudt invited his friends and family to a small unofficial ceremony in the College President’s Office May 8.
“Having the people that I care about present at a place I hold dear when I am committing to my service is important to me,” Stoudt said.
With the flag held by his father and brother, Stoudt raised his right hand and recited the oath as Solnick read it to him.
“I, Caleb Stoudt, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the president of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” Stoudt affirmed. “So help me God.”
At the conclusion of the oath, Solnick shook Stoudt’s hand.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to ask you to repeat the oath. Thank you for your service. I am proud of you. Congratulations, and stay safe,” Solnick added.
Stoudt, an outdoor leadership and biology double major, will spend the fall semester studying abroad. He begins basic training Jan. 1, 2018, and will complete vocational training to be a combat engineer. Stoudt will then serve in Spartanburg, South Carolina, which will allow him to finish his degree at Warren Wilson College.