NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When Albert Hill Jr. joined the Air Force as a recruit right after high school, his goal was to serve a few years, qualify for the GI Bill, leave the military, go to college and find a job.
“I did just that,” said Hill, a retired Air Force Colonel. “I really just wanted money to go to school so after four years I left the Air Force and went to college.”
But Hill’s departure from military life was short-lived. He was missing something …life in the military. “I missed the people, the excitement and the discipline,” he said.
Hill reenlisted in the Air Force, and for 32 years, until his retirement in 2008, he served on various posts in Japan, Germany, Panama and the United States, including the Air Force ROTC Detachment at Tennessee State University, where he was commander. Hill received many decorations and awards including the Defense Meritorious Service Award, the Meritorious Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters, and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
On Wednesday, Nov. 11, Hill, TSU’s director of Business Operations in the Department of Facilities Management, was the keynote speaker at the university’s annual Veterans Day ceremony in the Amphitheater on the main campus. Many other ex-service men and women working at TSU attended the ceremony including highly decorated Air Force retired Lt. Col. Michelangelo McCallister Sr., contract administrator in the Office of the University Counsel; and retired U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Harold Hal Murra, safety inspector in the Department of Facilities Management. Cadet India Williams, a freshman Industrial Engineering major, and member of the TSU ROTC program, also participated in the ceremony.
Honoring veterans with this specially planned ceremony is just one of many efforts geared toward recognizing the sacrifice of prior service people. As a Certified Vets Campus, TSU provides support services for veterans to ease their transition from military service to college life.
“We have a number of students, faculty and staff at Tennessee State University who have served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces,” said Dr. Mark Hardy, vice president for Academic Affairs. “Because of their sacrifice and dedicated service to our country, we have a tradition at TSU of honoring them on Veterans Day. We celebrate them and thank them for all they have done for their country.”
Williams added that as AFROTC cadets, their mission is to promote quality leaders who, like veterans, put “service before self.”
“Veterans are our leaders in guiding the pathway for success in the future,” she said. “They deserve all honor and recognition. Veterans Day not only means a great significance to the veterans, but to cadets like myself who one day hope to be recognized for all the hard work and dedication to serving our country.”
Recently, seven prior servicemen and servicewomen received certificates as information technology specialists after graduating from a training program offered through the TSU Continuing Education and Workforce Development Unit. TSU also has a Student Veterans Association to help fellow veterans reintegrate into campus life and succeed academically.
Department of Media Relations
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With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.