November 10, 2017 at 1:30pm

Millikin graduate Colonel Thomas Rotondi Jr. ’74 returns to campus for Wind Ensemble performance

Millikin University's Symphonic Wind Ensemble continued its 2017-18 performance season with a Veteran's Day Salute concert on Nov. 10 featuring guest conductor and Millikin alumnus Colonel (Ret.) Thomas Rotondi Jr. '74, former Leader and Commander of The United States Army Band "Pershing's Own." The concert also featured the Mayor of Decatur, Ill., Julie Moore Wolfe and vocalist Ann Borders, adjunct faculty member in the Millikin School of Music.

"I'm excited to come back to campus," Rotondi said in a recent interview with the Herald & Review.

Colonel Thomas Rotondi Jr. retired from the United States Army in 2011 following a distinguished 34-year military career culminating as the eighth Leader and Commander of The United States Army Band "Pershing's Own."

Originally from Chicago Heights, Ill., Col. Rotondi earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Millikin in 1974, and a Master of Business Administration degree in Management from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, Calif.

While at Millikin University, Col. Rotondi was active in Phi Mu Alpha, the men's professional music fraternity, and was selected for Pi Kappa Lambda Honorary Music Fraternity. Col. Rotondi was awarded the Millikin Alumni Merit Award in 2007.

Millikin Director of Bands Gary Shaw invited Rotondi to conduct the Millikin Symphonic Wind Ensemble for the Veterans Day Salute.

Thomas Rotondi

"He is one of our most notable alums," Shaw said. "He conducted the top band in the United States Army."

The concert is a tribute to veterans with music including John Philip Sousa marches and popular pieces for wind ensembles and brass bands.

"No matter what kind of veteran," Rotondi said. "We will be playing for them."

Col. Rotondi joined the U.S. Army as a trumpet player in December 1977. He received his commission in July 1982 through Officer Candidate School, where he was an honor graduate. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Army Achievement Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster. 

Colonel Rotondi and his wife, Karen, a 1974 Millikin graduate, reside in Kingsport, Tenn., where he remains active as a freelance conductor, musical consultant and clinician.   

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