By the early 1960s, Northeastern had the largest ROTC unit in the country with well over 2,000 volunteers. From 1962 to 1966, Northeastern produced more officers for the U.S. Army than any college or university in the nation except West Point.

The 1960s and 1970s, however, were not good years for ROTC on the Northeastern campus. In 1962, enrollment started declining slowly. Disillusionment with the war in Vietnam, the Kent State shootings, and general dissatisfaction with the presence of the US military on campus made the ROTC widely unpopular among the student body. ROTC was the focus of more than one student demonstration and the demand that ROTC be banned from the campus became almost routine.

Statement on ROTC Policy
President Knowles' response to SDS


ROTC is still present on campus, but it is now treated like other elective classes and the enrollment numbers have never been as high as they were at the start of the 1960s. Between their Junior and Senior years, ROTC cadets attend military science classes, physical training, and field training, as well as a one-month summer training exercise at Fort Lewis, Washington. According to the current ROTC website, cadets who volunteer are not required to enlist in the military or attend Basic Training. They can also drop the elective at any time and cannot be deployed for participating in the program.