Skip to main content


Cornell ROTC grads honored by the Army

Two Cornell alumni have been inducted into the U. S. Army ROTC National Hall of Fame.

As the Army ROTC program marks its 100th anniversary, Matt Urban '41 and Harris Rosen '61 are among 326 ROTC graduates in the inaugural class of the Army Cadet Command's Hall of Fame, located at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Inductees were nominated by the academic institutions that partner with Army ROTC and chosen for their outstanding military careers, achievements in life and public service.

They were awarded the honor in a ceremony June 10 at Fort Knox.

Maj. Gen. Christopher Hughes, commander of U.S. Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox, hosted the ceremony, noting he was humbled to learn about the history of each inductee and their accomplishments.

"When I opened the first folder, I was awestruck," he said. "I was about to sign the certificate to induct Gen. George C. Marshall into the ROTC National Hall of Fame. I realized each of you and your families are doing everything that I would ever dare ask you to do -- that is exactly why you are our founding class of the ROTC National Hall of Fame."

Matt Urban

Matt Urban '41.

Matt Urban '41

Born and raised in Buffalo, Urban received a bachelor's in history and government and a minor in community recreation. After graduation, he reported for duty to Fort Bragg, North Carolina and was soon deployed to North Africa during World War II. He fought with the Ninth Division's 60th Regiment in North Africa, Sicily, France and Germany, eventually earning the nickname "the Ghost" from his foes because he kept coming back to fight despite his injuries.

He rose to the rank of Lt. Colonel and received a Medal of Honor citation for 10 separate acts of bravery during the Normandy campaign. He also was awarded more than a dozen separate decorations including the Silver Star with one oak leaf cluster, the Legion of Merit, The Bronze Star Medal with a "V" (valor) device and two oak-leaf clusters, and the Purple Heart with six oak leaf clusters.

After his time in the military, he served as the director for recreation departments and community centers in Michigan. He coached several sports programs, trained athletes ranging from novices to Olympians and Golden Gloves champions, and eventually was appointed chair of the Michigan Olympic Boxing Committee. In his retirement he remained active in the Red Cross; directed camps to serve underprivileged children; served as a Cub Scout leader and Boys Club director; became a Boy Scouts chairman; and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Michigan Amateur Softball Association.

Harris Rosen

Harris Rosen '61.

Harris Rosen '61

Coming from New York City's Lower East Side, Rosen received a bachelor's in 1961 from the School of Hotel Administration. He served for three years as an officer in Germany and South Korea.

He began his civilian career at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City as a convention salesman, working for multiple other hotel businesses until he left Disney in 1974 to purchase a Quality Inn on International Drive in Orlando. Along the way he acquired multiple properties in the greater Orlando area.

In 2002, Rosen donated a 20-acre site and $10 million to the University of Central Florida to develop the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at UCF. He continues a multimillion-dollar commitment to the Tangelo Park Program that provides free preschool to all two-, three- and four-year olds in the Tangelo Park neighborhood in Orlando. He provides an all-expenses-paid education for those who reside in the neighborhood and are accepted to vocational school, community college, junior college or a four-year public college in Florida. Since 2007, Rosen has funded an alternative spring break for Cornell University students who wish to spend their break mentoring students from Tangelo Park.

Rosen Hotels has long contributed to Haiti relief, providing ongoing medical and school supplies as well as hosting a "Water for Haiti" gala in 2005 that raised $350,000 to send water filtration devices to Haiti. In 2010, Rosen launched the Relief-Rebuild-Sustain Program for Haiti, raising $650,000 (part of which he funded) to provide to those in need as a result of the earthquake there and to create safe, structurally sound and affordable housing.

Rosen is a member of the Cornell Hotel Society – formerly the Cornell Society of Hotelmen – and the Waldorf-Astoria Distinguished Alumni Association. He is also the past president of Visit Orlando. He currently serves on the board of directors of the YMCA Aquatic Center and the board of trustees of the University of Central Florida.

Back to top