Eight ROTC Cadets Commissioned

April 26, 2013

Eight graduating students from Saint Leo University’s ROTC program at University Campus were commissioned as second lieutenants into the U.S. Army Friday, in a ceremony held just before noon. The new officers will also be recognized during the undergraduate commencement Saturday afternoon at University Campus.

Cadets receive bachelor’s degrees and complete U.S. Army ROTC requirements through Saint Leo and the Suncoast Battalion, which encompasses several area colleges and universities. They generally receive postings starting immediately after graduation.

Friday’s ceremony was especially moving as the guest speaker Col. Brian O’Neil is the father of one of the new officers (pictured together in photo). The elder O’Neil also entered the Army after completing an ROTC program and started active duty in 1990. His advice to the new officers: listen and ask questions of those who are around you; continue to learn; and lead by doing what is right.

The new Army officers are:

  • Second Lieutenant Gustavo (Joel) Cancel, who majored in management. He also participated in singing groups while at Saint Leo, and performed the national anthem a capella at the ceremony Friday. He was also awarded a certificate as a Distinguished Military Graduate, meaning he ranked within the top 20 percent of graduates nationally. In fact, he ranked number 61. He will be posted to Fort Carson, CO, to work in military intelligence.
  • Second Lieutenant Kyle Cianco, who majored in criminal justice and is graduating cum laude. He was also named a Distinguished Military Graduate and was honored with a local recognition, the President’s Award for Exceptional Military Merit from the West Point Society of Florida’s West Coast. He will be stationed at Fort Bragg, NC, and work in military intelligence in the chemical corps.
  • Second Lieutenant Deborah Cummings, who earned her degree in biology. She will be stationed in Fort Eustis, VA, in the Army Reserves.
  • Second Lieutenant Nestor (Lugoviera) Lugo, a Distinguished Military Graduate who ranked number 42 in the nation. He majored in history and graduates magna cum laude. He is a previous veteran as an enlisted soldier. His new posting will be to Hunter Army Airfield, GA, to work in military intelligence.
  • Second Lieutenant Ryan Nolan, who earned his degree in mathematics. He will be posted with the Army Reserves engineer corps in St. Petersburg, FL.
  • Second Lieutenant Brian O’Neil, Jr. He studied criminal justice and will be posted to the Army Reserves in Lakeland, FL, and serve with the transportation corps.
  • Second Lieutenant Alexis Velez, who studied health care management and graduates magna cum laude. She will be stationed at Fort Sam Houston, TX, and be assigned to the medical service corps.
  • Second Lieutenant Francis White, another Distinguished Military Graduate, who studied criminal justice with a specialization in homeland security and graduates cum laude. He will be stationed at Fort Benning, GA, and assigned to the infantry.

Saint Leo has worked to provide educational services to the military dating back to 1973, and through Veterans Day 2013 is celebrating the 40-year anniversary of this partnership.