ROTC stands for Reserve Officers' Training Corps. The origins of military instruction in civilian colleges date back to 1819 when CPT Alden Partridge founded the American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy in Northfield, Vermont, know today as Norwich University. In 1862, Congress recognized the need for military training at civilian educational institutions. The Morrill Land Grant Act was enacted to fulfill this need. This Act donated land and money to establish colleges, which would provide practical instruction in agriculture, mechanical, and military sciences.
The United States Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps as we know it today dates from the National Defense Act of 1916. World War I prevented the full development of civilian educators and military professionals working together, but at the conclusion of WWI, the program was fully implemented on college campuses. By 1940 ROTC had expanded to 220 institutions. ROTC was once again suspended during World War II, but provided the Army with 100,000 junior officers when mobilization started. ROTC's ability to produce lieutenants of high quality has been demonstrated in every conflict since that time.
In 1964, the ROTC Vitalization Act improved the program by adding scholarships and expanding junior ROTC opportunities into high schools. In 1971, Congress expanded the scholarship program, increased the stipend and authorized additional training opportunities for cadets in the summer-Airborne School, Air Assault School, Cadet Troop Leader Training, Mountain Warfare School and Combat Diver Qualification Course. The inclusion of women into the program in 1972 was another important milestone.
In 1986, the U.S. Army Cadet Command was created. This resulted in numerous transformations beneficial to ROTC and ensured the continued development of lieutenants of high quality and uniformity. Further, its inception intensified and standardized Cadet training and improved leader assessment and development.