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Saint Thomas Academy Promotes Cunningham to Cadet Colonel and Brigade Commander

Robert Cunningham was named the 2021-22 Cadet Colonel and Brigade Commander. Cunningham was chosen to lead the Corps of Cadets based on his academic performance, co-curricular involvement, merits and demerits, military performance, and leadership abilities.

As the Academy’s 114th Cadet Colonel, Cunningham is the highest-ranking officer in the Corps, which comprises the entire upper school student body. He will work closely with the Academy’s administrators and military leaders to implement a wide variety of events and activities at the Academy during the remainder of the school year. The Cadet Colonel also acts as liaison between Cadets and the faculty and administration.

“Leading the Cadet Corps requires poise, the respect of the Cadets, confidence, and strong leadership skills,” said retired U.S. Army Colonel Neil Hetherington, Commandant of Cadets. “Cadet Colonel Cunningham has consistently demonstrated the characteristics – and the character – to succeed in his new position.” 

Cunningham has earned the Eagle Award for academic achievement twice and was honored with the prestigious Nicholas Masciopinto Leadership Award for his dedication and commitment to the betterment of the Academy and the community at large. Cunningham is a Peer Mentor, a member of the choir and All-Conference choir, and a varsity hockey and baseball player. 

Cunningham has applied to the United States Military Academy, the Naval Academy, and the Air Force Academy as well as the University of Notre Dame, University of Colorado Boulder, and Creighton University to study engineering. 

The Cadet Colonel selection committee includes the Headmaster, Commandant of Cadets, Upper School Director, Director of Academic Life, a faculty representative, and a student representative. 

At today’s ceremony, five additional seniors were also promoted from Cadet Second Lieutenant to Cadet Lieutenant Colonel. They are:

  • Finn Chalmers – Chalmers has received the Superior Cadet Award, the Military Excellence Medal (x2), the Unstoppable Award, the Eagle Award (x2), and the Sabre Award. He is a Guinness World Record Holder, a member of the Experimental Vehicle Team, Co-Founder of the Environmental Club, and a Peer Mentor Captain. He also participates in both the Spanish Club and the Chess Club. Chalmers aspires to study finance in college. He has applied to the University of Notre Dame, Boston College, New York University, London School of Economics, and Northeastern University.
  • Brennan P. Crow – Crow is the recipient of an Eagle Award, the Saber Award, the Sojourners Award, and the Bronze and Silver Merit medals. He is captain of the Alpine Ski and Videography teams and is a member of the All-State/All-Conference choir group. He also participates in Mock Trial, Junior Achievement and plays on the tennis team. After graduation, he plans to study biology or philosophy at the University of St. Thomas.
  • Maximillian Feist – Feist is a four-time Eagle Award recipient, a Captain of the Swim and Dive team, recipient of the Malchow Award, a lineman for Cadet Football, Peer Mentor, and has participated in debate, the Minnesota State Debate Tournament, Model UN, Boy Scouts, and the State History Day. He also works at Kowalski’s Market. He plans to study business and/or pre-law at Northwestern University, University of Minnesota, University of Notre Dame, University of Wisconsin-Madison, or Vanderbilt University. 
  • Ian M. Rutgers – Rutgers has been a member of the Swim and Dive Team for four years. He was chosen a team Captain for both his junior and senior years. He was named All-Section and All-State his junior year and received the most valuable teammate award from his peers on the swim team. He is a member of the VISTA band and Model UN. He has received the Torch Award, the Saber Award, and the Commandant's Award for Leadership. He is also a business owner. He plans to swim in college and has applied to the United States service academies to study aviation, business, and economics, and/or finance and investing.
  • Jack P. Strobel – Strobel is a recipient of the Headmaster's Award and the Eagle Award (x4). He is a member of the Cadet Hockey team, contributing to the team’s section championship and state tournament appearance. He participates in IBA, peer mentoring, and the Lincoln Society. Strobel has business aspirations following graduation and has applied to the University of Notre Dame, University of California Los Angeles, Texas Christian University, North Carolina, Vanderbilt University, University of Southern California, and Indiana.