The Story of How the Naval ROTC Scholarship Fund Began

 and its current


The Story of How the Naval ROTC Scholarship Fund Began

by Vic Gulliver


          Early in 1987, Robert F. (Bob) Seery, NU-’45 and his wife, Maryann, visited me in my capacity as Professor of Naval Science/Commanding Officer of the Northwestern NROTC Unit.  I had met Bob and Maryann in 1985 when they were instrumental in the organization of a highly successful “War Years Reunion” of all classes that graduated during WWII.  In their 1987 visit, Bob stated that he was proud of his naval service during and after World War II and that he was grateful to the NROTC program and the Northwestern NROTC Unit for the help and direction he had been given, which greatly benefited him in later life.  He had always wanted to give something back to the NROTC Unit to show his appreciation, and he and Maryann came to ask me what they (and many of Bob’s classmates) might be able to do to help the NROTC Unit.  They had in mind the creation of a fund through the donations of alumni, but they wanted to know if there was truly a need for such a fund.

             At that time in the long history of the Northwestern NROTC Unit, there was increasing pressure from the Navy hierarchy to recruit more College Program students into the NROTC Unit.  It was particularly difficult at that time to recruit College Program students at Northwestern because the already high tuition was continuing to spiral upward.  There were very few students at NU who were willing to join the NROTC Unit as College Program students, thereby incurring an obligation to active duty while paying their own tuition and enjoying none of the tuition benefits of the NROTC scholarship students.  The Northwestern NROTC Unit had far fewer College Program students than most other NROTC Units around the country. 

            I told Bob and Maryann Seery that, if a fund could be set up, it could be used largely to benefit College Program students who might be finding it difficult to keep up with their tuition expenses at Northwestern.  That was all the Seerys needed to hear.  Bob and Maryann gathered some of Bob’s old friends and classmates, namely: RADM Norman A. (Bulldog) Coleman-’44, Richard H. Nachtsheim-’45 and Donald L. Streit-’45 and formed a board of directors.  Since I was retiring from the Navy and the CO/PNS job, they also invited me to join the board of directors.  They applied for and received charitable and tax-deductible status from the IRS and incorporated the fund in the state of Florida, where the Seerys maintained a residence. 

            The Seerys got the Naval ROTC Scholarship Fund, Inc. started with a sizeable donation and with appeals to the class of ’45 for additional donations.  We were in the process of getting started with a letter-writing campaign to all alumni of the NROTC Unit when the Fund was jolted by Bob Seery’s untimely death. 

            Decisions were made and procedures were set up for the CO/PNS of the Unit to nominate deserving Midshipmen for the scholarship assistance that the Fund was designed to provide.  From that time forward, the board of directors has considered the nominations sent forward by the CO/PNS and has chosen the scholarship winners based on need, merit, and the financial constraints of the Fund’s resources.  After more than a full year of active fund-raising, the first Naval ROTC Scholarship Fund award was made at the 1989 Spring Review.  That year, one scholarship grant was awarded in the amount of $500.  In subsequent years, the total amount of scholarships awarded has gradually increased to the point that, today, the Fund is financially able to make multiple awards totaling thousands of dollars each.  In the last six years, the Fund has awarded $30,000 per year in need/merit based scholarship grants.  Despite these award amounts, the Naval ROTC Scholarship Fund is often in the position of having to choose among deserving candidates, helping some and disappointing others.  The need for solicitations and donations continues. Since the humble beginnings of the Scholarship Fund, to date more than $300,000 has been awarded to Northwestern NROTC midshipmen.         

            Over the years of the existence of the Fund, the makeup of the board of directors has changed as necessitated by the deaths of some members and by the personal circumstances of others.  Today, Maryann Seery and Vic Gulliver are the only original board members remaining.  The current board represents a strong mix of talents and year groups.   From time to time, as circumstances dictate, the board of directors will need additional members.  Volunteers for board member positions are solicited as seats become available.




Class Year/Affiliation
Office/email address
Mr. John W. Ferrara NU Class of '00 President/
Captain E. Anthony Fessler, JAGC, USN (Ret.) NU Class of '67 Vice President/
Commander Robert M. Frese, USNR (Ret.) NU Class of '75 Secretary/
Captain Victor S. Gulliver, USN (Ret.) CO/PNS '82-'87
Mr. Thor P. S. Johnsen NU Class of '94
Captain Daniel C. Kasperski, Ph.D., USNR (Ret.) NU Class of '65
Ms. Katherine E. Licup, JD NU Class of '97
Mr. Christopher B. Lillich NU Class of '92
Mr. Jason S. Penna NU Class of '94
Mrs. Maryann Seery Widow of Robert F. Seery, NU Class of '45 Chairman of the Board/
Mr. Robert E. Shaw NU Class of ‘70
Captain Joel N. Weber, USN (Ret.)
NU Class of '73

Comments and queries concerning the NROTC Scholarship Fund may be directed to Katie Licup at