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Tom Burcham IV

Journalism

Army ROTC Cadet

Developing As a Leader

Before Tom Burcham IV graduates from Spring Hill College, he will already be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army as an Ordnance Officer.

Originally from Missouri by way of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, Burcham came to Spring Hill from Saint Stanislaus College. He was looking for a smaller Catholic school with a level of personalization.

“I really got a sense of community from this place when I toured,” he said. “I was kind of hoping on that and that’s what really brought me to it.”

Like many others, Burcham thought he wanted to major in Pre-Med but taking Biology and Chemistry at the time showed him that wasn’t the right path. He tried Political Science but that wasn’t quite right either. Everything clicked, though, in an Introduction to Media Writing course, and he decided to become a Journalism major, something his mother had always said he would do.


“My time on The Hill has strengthened my ability to think independently. Differing opinions and open discussions are common on The Hill. It has developed my values greatly.”


“I knew I wanted to tell stories, and I knew I wanted to do that factual journalistic style, but I didn’t know in what capacity,” he said.

During an advising session, he decided to take the Student Media Content multi-course curriculum and ended up falling in love with the visual side of journalism, which includes pictures and video. This has been his focus in the journalism program since and what he hopes to do in the future.

During freshman year, Burcham was looking for a way to help his parents pay for his education while also wanting to further himself as a person and grow as a professional and a leader. He discussed ROTC with a fellow soccer player and signed up for the class to learn more about the program. The next year, he contracted to complete the program and go into the Army after college. He competed for and received active duty and will work full-time as an Ordnance Officer after graduation.

“ROTC kind of honed in on what I liked about team sports, which is the team,” he said. ”It allowed me to grow as a leader and as a team, not an individual. In the end, you’re helping everybody else accomplish a task while developing yourself personally.”

While on campus, Burcham played junior varsity soccer for four years and participated as a SpringHIllian Ambassador. He was on The SpringHillian newspaper staff and served as a producer for BadgerTV.

The day before he graduates from Spring Hill, Burcham will take part in the ROTC Commissioning Ceremony at the University of South Alabama. On that day, he will take the oath of office, get his ranks pinned and officially join the United States Army.

He plans to be an Ordnance Officer for about three years, working towards the rank of Captain. While on that path, he plans to submit a packet to be a Public Affairs Officer (PAO) and transfer to that career path. At this point, he can see himself progressing in that career, getting out of the Army after 20 or more years and transfer into the civilian communications field as a producer, working on documentaries and special feature videos for various organizations.

“My time on The Hill has strengthened my ability to think independently,” Burcham said. “Differing opinions and open discussions are common on The Hill. It has developed my values greatly.”

When looking back on his time here, he’s most thankful to Spring Hill for giving him a chance to participate in the ROTC. He added: “I am mostly grateful for the 50 plus year history of ROTC on campus. My life has entered a new path thanks to the leadership and skills I have learned in the Army ROTC program.”

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