Location: Yakima Convention Center
Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Bonnie Kovatch, who leads Central Washington University’s acclaimed Army ROTC program, sees similarities in the values of Rotary and the U.S. Army. Both are international in scope and are powerful teams centered on Service before Self.
The Army ROTC team she oversees, known as the Wildcat Battalion, is a prior winner of the Founder’s and Patriot’s Awards, which recognize the most outstanding senior Army ROTC battalions in the country. The Wildcat Battalion also has excelled in Ranger Challenge competitions over the years, besting 31 other ROTC programs from states in the west and mountain west. These leaders, many from this region, go on to serve their country and communities.
LTC Kovatch has an equally impressive background. Before arriving at CWU in 2018, she was on staff for two years at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Belgium and supported counter-intelligence operations in NATO. She has also served as a human resources officer in Afghanistan and Iraq, and as Assistant Professor of International Relations at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
LTC Kovatch says her NATO experiences have been invaluable in preparing CWU cadets to understand the political dimensions of their jobs as “diplomat-soldiers,” as they prepare to become the next generation of Army leaders.
LTC Kovatch first became interested in the military after participating in a junior ROTC program in high school. An ROTC scholarship recipient herself, she graduated and was commissioned as a second lieutenant through the ROTC program at Siena College, in New York, in 2003. She earned a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy in 2013, from The Fletcher School, Tufts University.