The ROTC Legacy of Leadership

As a young man, alum Cameron Cozzens never planned to serve in the military; he didn’t even come from a military family. But one suggestion from a high school counselor to look into the military changed his mind—and from there, the BYU Army ROTC changed the course of his life, leading him on a path of leadership.

Taking his counselor’s advice, Cozzens earned acceptance to both the US Naval Academy and BYU. Cozzens opted to attend BYU, where he was offered a full-ride, four-year Army ROTC scholarship and lessons that taught him how to lead.

“We weren’t just reading about leadership in a textbook,” Cozzens says. “It was about us being put into positions of leadership in our weekly labs and in weekend field-training exercises where we were given responsibility and the opportunity to make mistakes and to see what success looks like.”

Cozzens especially values the examples his mentors in the ROTC program provided in his formative college years.

“The cadre instructors were outstanding officers who taught us how to be effective leaders and how to lead in the military while still staying true to our faith and our morals,” Cozzens says. “The impact that those men had on my life is something that I will always be grateful for.”

After graduating from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1993, Cozzens served in active duty for twenty-two years as a military intelligence officer. In one of his last assignments, he oversaw all of the counterintelligence and human intelligence for the coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Cameron Cozzens family

Since his retirement from the army two years ago, Cozzens has been working as the director of government practice for the Arbinger Institute, a management consulting company. He was formerly a facilitator for Arbinger leadership workshops during his time in the army.

“Even from my first experience as a cadet at BYU, it was all about putting us in leadership opportunities,” Cozzens says. “As I was promoted, I learned the difficult lessons of leadership. Now that I’m working in the corporate world with federal clients, I’m able to apply those things I’ve learned to help them.”

Cozzens says the leadership lessons he has learned throughout his years in the BYU ROTC and in the army have helped him to become a better person.

“The principles I learned transformed me—not just as a leader but as a husband and a father and invited me to reconsider how I see others in my life,” Cozzens says. “I have found true joy in working and serving other people.”