Award recognizes Sam Pawlik’s achievement in Marine leader’s course
The Commandant’s Trophy was presented to President Richard Davenport Feb. 2 in honor of Sam Pawlik, who had the best performance in the Platoon Leader Course at Quantico, Virginia. This is the first time the trophy has come to Minnesota State University, Mankato and is considered a huge honor.
The trophy was given out at the beginning of the men’s Hockey game by group of marines from the Marine Recruiting Station in Fargo. The award goes to the university of the highest-ranked officer candidate each summer. President Davenport, along with Pawlik, were there to receive it.
“This is one of [Pawlik’s] career aspirations, to serve the Marine Corps,” said Tim Adams, Military and Veteran Student Success coordinator for MNSU. “He’s a great guy. We found out about this about six weeks ago, and I’ve gotten to know him since then.”
The Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Course (PLC), where Pawlik, 21, earned his award, is an alternative for college students who wish to become commissioned officers in the United States Marine Corps.
College students can enroll in PLC when they are a freshman, sophomore, or junior in college. PLC summer classes typically range in size from 200-300 students. Pawlik’s graduating class had about 140 students.
To be eligible for this program, students must meet weight and fitness requirements, maintain a 2.0 average GPA, and be a full-time student at a college or university. This program is meant to screen all of those requirements, as well as their leadership potential. The screening is done by training the students to operate with little to no sleep on military tasks and memorization. This helps the leaders to see how well the students function in stressful and demanding environments.
The trophy was given to the university in honor of Pawlik’s superior performance and an award was also presented to Pawlik in recognition of this accomplishment.
Pawlik is a sophomore at MNSU and a member of the Marine Corps. He is from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, where he attended Eden Prairie High School. He’s is currently studying exercise science at MNSU. He joined the Marine Corps in 2015 to follow in his older brother’s footsteps.
Pawlik’s older brother was unable to attend the ceremony as he was out of state at the time, but in attendance were about twenty family and friends, as well as veterans from MNSU and the Mankato community who supported Pawlik on his accomplishment.
Pawlik found out about the award just after the program was over.
“It was kind of shocking. They kind of keep everything a secret so when you find out, everything is based on like an overall grade, and you don’t know your grade for the overall duration. It kind of came to my surprise,” Pawlik said. “It has definitely motivated me to do better. It’s nice being recognized for a lot of hard work.”
The Commandant’s Trophy will be kept in the Veteran’s Resource Center of the CSU in honor of Pawlik’s accomplishment. They hope to find a good home for it, and keep the trophy safe to allow everyone to see it for years to come.