LAWRENCE — Tyler Beck, an Army Reserve Officer Training Corps graduate, has received the inaugural Chancellor John Fraser Distinguished Military Graduate Award in recognition of outstanding achievement as an ROTC cadet.
The award, given by the KU Veterans Alumni Chapter, was presented at a joint ROTC commissioning ceremony on Monday, May 20, in the Kansas Union Ballroom. The award recipient exemplifies academic excellence, leadership, physical fitness and dedication to community service.
Beck, a native of Andover, was selected for the award from a pool of more than 200 cadets and midshipmen in KU’s Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC programs. Beck graduated from KU on Sunday, May 19, with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army on May 20. The Fraser Award is a wooden plague featuring a photograph of former Chancellor Fraser wearing his Civil War general officer’s uniform.
In his military studies, Beck was rated the No. 1 cadet in KU’s Army ROTC program and was selected as a Distinguished Military Graduate among all Army ROTC seniors nationwide. As a cadet, he served in various positions, including as battalion commander, and was a competitor in KU’s annual Ranger Buddy Competition, where KU’s best cadets test their mettle against other ROTC members from across the region. Outside the classroom, Beck volunteered for the Pregnancy Care Center of Lawrence, the Lawrence Humane Society and his church. He will serve as an infantry officer and will be stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., following the Basic Officer Leaders Course at Fort Benning, Ga.
“Cadet Beck, now 2nd Lieutenant Beck, is an outstanding leader who superbly demonstrated the requisite attributes and skills that we demand of our military leaders as he may, one day, lead our nation’s treasure, our sons and daughters, into harm’s way,” said Lt. Col. Storm Reynolds, professor of military science. “In addition, 2nd Lieutenant Beck is a great testament to the quality of the students, cadets and midshipmen at the University of Kansas, and he will be an excellent ambassador, as an alumnus, for the Jayhawks.”
The namesake of the award, John Fraser, a native of Aberdeen, Scotland, was a veteran of the Civil War before becoming KU’s second chancellor in 1868. As an officer with the 140th Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment, Fraser served in several key engagements of the war, including the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg and the Wilderness Campaign, and was captured at the battle of Spotsylvania. He became a prisoner of war for more than eight months during the last year of the war, and he was later promoted to brigadier general in recognition of his gallant service. Fraser served as chancellor until 1874. His saber and Civil War uniform are held within the Spencer Research Library.
KU is one of only 50 universities in the nation offering a ROTC program that represents all branches of the military. Besides training KU students, the ROTC program also trains cadets, midshipmen and officer candidates at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Baker University in Baldwin City, the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth, Washburn University in Topeka, Mid-America Nazarene University in Olathe, Johnson County Community College in Overland Park and Kansas City Kansas Community College.