UPDATED: 2:53 p.m. A Naval Reserve Officer’s Training Corps unit will return to the University in the fall of 2012, ending ROTC’s over 40 year absence from Yale’s campus, according to a press release from the Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

University President Richard Levin will sign an agreement with U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus at 3 p.m. today. Per those terms, the unit will be based on Yale’s campus but enroll students from other students attending colleges and universities in Connecticut.

“The renewal of a formal relationship with Yale will serve to bring dozens of new and talented officers who will carry on Yale’s tradition of service into the Navy and Marine Corps each year,” Mabus said in the release. “The presence of NROTC will enrich and strengthen both the military and the educational experience of all students.”

During ROTC’s absence from campus, Yale students have participated in Army and Air Force ROTC programs at the University of New Haven and the University of Connecticut, respectively. But no such programs existed on campus for Yale students, and there was no option to join a Naval ROTC unit in the state of Connecticut.

“I’m delighted to have Navy ROTC return to Yale after a long hiatus,” Yale College Dean Mary Miller wrote in an email. “This agreement marks a new day for Yale.”

After Congress voted to repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — the policy prohibiting gay and lesbian armed forces members from serving openly — in December 2010, officials at Yale, Harvard and Columbia said that they would enter negotiations with the military over ROTC’s return. On March 4, Harvard signed an agreement to recognize officially an ROTC unit at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but that signing did not establish a unit on Harvard’s campus.

“This agreement stands out because Yale will host an ROTC unit on its campus for classes and training, as opposed to making new arrangements with partner ROTC schools,” the press release said.

Senator Joseph Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67 also praised ROTC’s return to campus in a statement released Thursday.

The signing will take place in the Corporation Room of Woodbridge Hall.

Check back for more updates throughout the day.