Commandant finalist presentations getting underway Feb. 22

A portion of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets participates in parade practice on Summerall Field at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Thursday, November 5, 2020. (Photo by Cameron Pollack / The Citadel)

Col. Thomas Gordon, USMC, ’91, will be the first of the four finalists for the position of Commandant of Cadets to make a presentation to the campus community at noon on Monday, Feb. 22.  

During individual presentations on different days, Gordon and the other finalists will address this question: “Describe how you, as the Commandant of Cadets, will advance The Citadel’s mission of educating and developing our students to become principled leaders in all walks of life by instilling the core values of The Citadel in a disciplined and intellectually challenging environment.”

There will be limited seating in Bond 165 for each presentation on a first-come, first-served basis. As an alternative, members of the campus community are encouraged to watch the candidates remotely via Zoom, with a different link for each presenter. A brief registration form will be required before viewers will permitted into the Zoom meeting.

The Citadel Commandant of Cadets is a vice presidential position that is responsible for the command, leadership development and oversight of the 2,300-member South Carolina Corps of Cadets and is crucial to the success of the Military College of South Carolina. The current commandant, Captain Geno Paluso, USN (Ret.), ’89, will retire from the position in June.

Col. Thomas Gordon, USMC, ’91

Col Tom Gordon headshot
Col. Thomas Gordon, USMC, ’91

Gordon graduated from The Citadel in 1991, becoming a U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) officer. He retires from military service in May 2021 after 30 years. Gordon is currently the Director of the Command & Staff College at Quantico, Virginia, one of the four Department of Defense Professional Military Education Colleges where he leads the development of future commanders of the joint force with graduate level education.

The Zoom presentation link for this candidate is:

The other finalists will present at noon on these dates, in Bond 165 and via Zoom:

February 24: Capt. Matt Meilstrup, USCG

Capt. Matt Meilstrup, USCG

Meilstrup graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Academy in 1992 and continues to serve the USCG. He is currently Senior Manager, Logistics and Business Operations for the USCG, directing enterprise-level logistics policy, procedures and integrated assessments and business operations for the nearly $2 billion directorate. 

The Zoom presentation link for Meilstrup is: 

February 26: Col. Mike Larsen, U.S. Army, ’92

Col. Mike Larsen, U.S. Army, ’92

Larsen graduated from The Citadel in 1992 and has served in the U.S. Army as an active duty Infantry Officer for 28 years. Larsen is currently Deputy Commanding Officer for the U.S. Army Training Center at Fort Jackson where he is second in command over the Basic Combat Training of 50,000 soldiers annually.

The Zoom link to view Larsen’s presentation is:

March 1: Col. Scott Nahrgang, USAF, ’96

Col. Scott Nahrgang, USAF, ’96

Nahrgang graduated from The Citadel in 1996 and became an officer in the U.S. Air Force (USAF). He continues to serve almost 25 years after his commission. Nahrgang is currently Chief of Command and Control, Electronic Warfare and Global Integrated Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Strategic Plans and Programs, at the USAF headquarters in the Pentagon.

The Zoom link to watch Nahrgang’s presentation is:

How to weigh in on the candidates

If you are a current member of The Citadel campus community and would like to participate in the commandant candidates feedback surveys, please email the Office of Institutional Research at

  • Emails requesting a link should be received by 5:00 p.m. on the day of each candidate’s presentation.
  • Each email will contain a unique link to the candidate’s survey. 
  • The email may not be forwarded and can only be completed once. 
  • The survey will remain available until 5:00 p.m., (1700) EST, the day after each presentation.

Read more about the finalists here.