Col. William Oriet, '81 Hist, may have been
on the nine-year college plan, but the wait was
worth it. The unsure youngster from Belgrade who
enrolled in Montana State University in 1972 bore
little resemblance to the motivated and directed
man who came back to class in 1978.
two unspectacular years of college, Oriet left and
joined the Army where he served in U.S. Army Special
a great experience," he said. "It got me to think about my life.
I discovered who I was." He knew then that he needed to finish
his degree. So after his four-year tour, he wrote to the MSU
ROTC department and was granted a spot in the program and embarked
on a career as an Army officer.
years, Oriet's military career brought him full circle to his
ROTC roots when he served as an assistant professor of military
science at Virginia Tech. Then three years ago he was selected
to lead the military science program at Gonzaga University in
this would be pay-back time," he said. "I could bring all my
experience. This is where I could best pay back the Army for
what it had given me. I could make my greatest influence in
producing the future leaders of the Army."
and Oriet proved to be a perfect fit because this year he was
awarded the 2003 Army Cadet Command Award for Excellence as
the Professor of Military Sciences of the Year, and Gonzaga
received the MacArthur Award as the top college ROTC program
in the nation.
program isn't built over night," he said. "It's the total team
effort and quality of the instructors, staff, students and the
support of the university that's important." The Gonzaga program
has more than 90 cadets enrolled. It's a program that is historically
very strong and well supported by the university.
the most rewarding job I've ever had in the Army," Oriet said.
"It's been an all-consuming job as well, because as a ROTC professor
you don't get to put your feet up."
the daily routine as very intense with each day starting about
6 a.m. and going non-stop until about 6 p.m. Oriet said that
military science professors don't just teach classes. They're
involved in daily mentoring and leadership development through
a wide variety of activities ranging from weekend training exercises
to special events.
fully committed to these young people, and they performed to
extremely high standards," he said. But the greatest gratification
for Oriet is knowing that the cadets he trained are now some
of the Army's best leaders.
Oriet completed his three-year posting at Gonzaga. He is now
assigned to the Western Region of ROTC headquartered at Ft.
Lewis, Wash. He is Chief of Training for the region's 140 schools.
"I get to bring to the job my very current field experience
in leading an ROTC program."
lives in Steilacoom, Wash., with his wife Susan. He is the son
of Patricia Oriet, '69 Nurs, who was recently honored with the
prestigious Centennial Alumni Achievement Award from the MSU