Governor’s Cup Award given to nine Iowa ROTC cadets

Army ROTC cadet Zachary Graham, senior in anthropology, was a recipient of this year’s Governor’s Cup Award.

Mackensie Moore

Three ISU ROTC cadets traveled to Des Moines to be presented the Governor’s Cup Award at a ceremony today.

The Governor’s Cup Award ceremony will honor the top cadet from each program division at Iowa State: the Air Force, Army and Navy.

This year’s ISU recipients are Air Force ROTC cadet Charles Hohnbaum, a fall 2013 graduate in materials engineering, Army ROTC cadet Zachary Graham, senior in anthropology, and Naval ROTC cadet Kelly Larkin, senior in political science.

At the ceremony, the presentation of each award will be from a leader in each program. Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Hollman, commander for the Air Force ROTC program, will present the award to Hohnbaum.

“I think he will do very well on active duty, he just exemplifies those characteristics we look for in an officer,” Hollman said of Hohnbaum.

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Smith, professor of military science, will present the award to Graham and said Graham was the right choice for the award.

“Graham is one of the most committed and selfless cadets we have. He’s always about making the whole program better, not just himself but his peers too,” Smith said. “He’s going to make an outstanding lieutenant.”

Larkin, of the Naval ROTC program, will be presented the award by Commander Daniel Buhr, adjunct assistant professor of naval science.

“[Larkin] is our number one graduate in the program this year. He’s kind of the top dog, so it really makes it easier for us to have him be awarded the Governor’s Cup,” Buhr said.

At the ceremony, cadets from Buena Vista University, Drake University, the University of Dubuque, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa will also be presented the award, a total of nine cadets.

The awards will be presented to the nine students of the six universities to “honor the men and women for leadership, academics and military achievement,” according to a press release from the governor’s office.

The idea for the Governor’s Cup Award originated from General George Washington in 1776.

After purchasing two dozen silver cups and having his family’s crest engraved on each, Washington presented the cups to select Revolutionary War soldiers based on leadership and service.

Now Washington’s concept has been reproduced by the state to recognize the outstanding leadership and service of Iowa’s ROTC cadets.

The award is also recognized throughout the state as a high achievement for the military.

“[The Governor’s Cup is] a prestigious award that recognizes all of these top scholars and graduates of all the different programs throughout the state,” Buhr said. “It’s definitely a high honor just to be at the table, and I hope that they continue it throughout the years.”

The ceremony will begin with opening remarks by Colonel Gregory Hapgood Jr., followed by remarks from Gov. Terry Branstad. 

“I think the award is fantastic, to have someone at that level recognize the hard work and commitment that these students are putting out is not comparable to any other award,” Smith said.

The Governor’s Cup award ceremony will take place at 9 a.m. today in the Robert D. Ray Conference Room at the State Capitol in Des Moines.