Service has always been integral to Cadet Trenten Cleghorn’s approach to life. Growing up in Tarrant County, Texas, he earned his EMT and firefighter licenses while in high school. He intended to become a firefighter but decided to follow a different path and joined the US Army. “I wasn’t sure what the military life would be like, but I was up for any challenge, and it turned out well.”

Cleghorn enlisted in November 2019 as a “68W,” a healthcare specialist, so he could use his EMT certification and get additional training. He completed 16 weeks at Fort Sam Houston and graduated as an honor graduate. After spending time in Fort Stewart, Georgia, he went overseas to South Korea. Working with a physician’s assistant and a doctor of internal medicine, which honed his skills even further, he served as the platoon medic for nine months. “It was exciting, and I was a little nervous, but it’s exactly the reason I wanted to enlist.”

The skills Trenten Cleghorn ’26 learned in the army prepared him well for his academic pursuits.

In 2021, Cleghorn’s platoon was sent to Germany, where he again served as a medic. After returning from overseas, he connected with Lt. Col. Preston Jackson, professor of military science at Lehigh University, through the ROTC website. In 2022, Cleghorn moved from Georgia to Pennsylvania to join the Steel Battalion ROTC program, administered through Lehigh University. It was “kind of risky in hindsight, but it worked out really well,” Cleghorn says. “I trusted Lt. Col. Jackson, and that made me feel confident about the move.”

Cleghorn began his education at Penn State Lehigh Valley, but after being awarded a full academic scholarship, he transferred to Moravian in the summer of 2023. ROTC awards scholarships based on academic performance, physical fitness, commitment to the program, and potential in the military.

Cleghorn says the army taught him to be self-sufficient, and active duty taught him the importance of time management and professional courtesy. (He admits he writes very formal emails to his professors!) A member of the Class of 2026, Cleghorn is a sociology major. “I believe my degree will help me gain further perspective on styles of thinking that I’ve not previously experienced; I know this will aid me in the future to become a better leader for my soldiers.” In addition to his studies and ROTC responsibilities, he volunteers at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley. “I always wanted to volunteer in my community, but that wasn’t possible during active duty. I believe that every child needs a male mentor in their life.”

Cleghorn is grateful for the opportunity to attend Moravian and appreciates everyone’s understanding and support as he moves into this stage of his life. “Moravian is a close-knit community, and the accessibility of faculty and staff made it very appealing to me.” He is also thankful for the support and assistance of Tanya Nalesnik, director of veteran and military services, and Erika Mondok, executive director of transfer enrollment, whose passion and enthusiasm for Moravian greatly impacted his decision.

Nalesnik notes that Cleghorn’s route to Moravian was nontraditional. “Most people don’t do what he did. After enlisting and serving, he is now a full-time college student who will go back into active duty as a commissioned officer. He is committed to this and focused on becoming a leader. He is constantly taking care of others.”

With his life dedicated to service of all kinds, Cleghorn will return to active duty as a second lieutenant upon graduation. His contributions, mentoring, and commitment to success will continue to make a difference to many people around the world, both in and outside the military. —Renée A. James ’80