On Friday, May 9, 2014, Houghton College will host a United States Army Commissioning Ceremony for two graduating Houghton students, Alyssa Kiser and Jordan Latouche.
The ceremony will include an invocation by Lieutenant Paulette, pastor for the Salvation Army, recognition given by Saint Bonaventure professor of military science, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Zehnder, remarks by Houghton College President Shirley Mullen, and a Blessing of the Bars by Dr. Michael Jordan, Houghton College’s dean of the chapel. There will also be the traditional Silver Dollar Salute in which a new second lieutenant proudly hands a shiny silver dollar to the first enlisted soldier, who salutes him or her.
Alyssa Kiser, originally from Johnstown, Pa., will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in intercultural studies with minors in French, military science and psychology.
During the summer of 2012, Kiser traveled to Kigali, Rwanda, to participate in the United States Army’s Cultural Understanding Language Program (CULP) in order to teach English to Rwandan military officers.
During the summer of 2013, she completed the three-week Airborne Course in Fort Benning, Ga., and successfully completed the four-week Leadership Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., where she was ranked in the top 20 percent nationwide.
In addition to being a student, Kiser actively participated in a variety of ROTC events such as Color Guard and Physical Training. Alyssa was also involved in a variety of sports in the athletics program while at Houghton, including cross-country and indoor/outdoor track. She also served as chaplain in the French Club, as a teachers assistant for personal finance, and as a member of the Sodexo workforce.
Kiser traveled with Houghton professor Thomas Kettelkamp to Honduras to serve a local church. She completed a three-year certification in SOLO First Aid Wilderness and a lifetime certification in scuba diving. She remains actively connected to her hometown, and will receive an award from the Hawkins County School Board for her accomplishments after high school graduation.
Upon commissioning as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army, Alyssa will begin her Field Artillery Officer Basic Course at Fort Sill, Okla.
Jordan Latouche, from Lewiston, Maine, will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science in information technology management, with a minor in military science.
Latouche was an active participant in the ROTC program, which consumed a lot of extra time during his four years at college. His activities in ROTC included Field Training exercises each semester, 6 a.m. Physical Training, as well as Color Guard and one four-week Leadership Development and Assessment Course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., in the summer of his junior year. At this course, Latouche was evaluated on skills learned in his first three years in ROTC. These skills include land navigation, small unit tactics, marksmanship, teamwork and many others.
Latouche has also played a very active role on the Houghton campus, serving on his class cabinet all four years: as a social chair, vice president, and president for the last two years. He has spent his senior year as a member of the executive cabinet of the Houghton College Student Government Association, where he held the position of speaker of the senate.
His high involvement on campus and in ROTC has helped to develop his leadership ability and time management skills, as well as further educate him on what it means to be a leader.
Latouche is married to Katelyn Hodgkins, who currently works at Houghton College.
Latouche will be commissioned as a Military Intelligence Officer, and after completing four months of training at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., he will take on a Tactical Intelligence Officer position in the Vermont National Guard.