Tag Archives: Veterans Day

TSU Veterans Day Ceremony celebrates service of U.S military men and women

 

By K. Dawn Rutledge

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s annual Veterans Day ceremony revealed some stark statistics when guest speaker and Vietnam Veteran George Nichols gave a powerful history lesson on military service in the United States.

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Wreath honoring fallen servicemen and servicewomen. (By John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

In front of a crowd of more than 150 students, faculty and staff, Nichols pointed to the first conflict in 1775, the American Revolutionary War, and said since that time about 42 million servicemen and servicewomen have defended the nation in times of war. Of that number, 967,000 paid the ultimate price – death.

“Unless you have been there, it is not possible to understand the tragedy of war,” said Nichols, a highly decorated veteran who is the recipient of two Bronze Stars, six Air Medals, and two Army Commendation Medals, to name a few.

Nichols went on to share that only 1 percent of the population is fighting war in the Middle East today. Many who serve in the military experience challenges later in life such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), substance abuse, and the inability to find employment due to education deficiencies or lack of job opportunities compatible with their military training. Nichols also said homelessness, suicide and illness are all consequences of war.

“There are 50,000 veterans who are homeless every single night,” he said. “And even with President Obama tripling the amount of money dedicated to addressing this effort, that funding only reduced the number of homeless vets to one-third. Also, 20 veterans commit suicide every single day. When you see a veteran, thank them because you have no idea what that veteran has been through.”

Many other ex-service men and women working at TSU attended the ceremony.

“As a veteran I was pleased to hear the speaker recognize all the sacrifices of our servicemen and servicewomen,” said Monica White, administrative assistant for Facilities Management and a Retired Air Force Tech (Technical) Sergeant, who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“I was touched by what he said happens to many veterans when they return as far as unemployment and as far as their condition when they come back with PTSD disorders and how that affects their lives. I honor them and I appreciate everything each veteran has done for me, those that I don’t know and those that have gone before me.”

Blake Cleckler, a senior majoring in electrical engineering, was also among those in attendance. He served on the USS Miami for seven years and is an ex-U.S. Navy Second Class Petty Officer. Since enrolling as a TSU student, he has become active with the TSU Veteran’s Association.

“It is nice to have a Veteran’s Association on campus, and TSU has been very receptive to us,” Cleckler said. “When we decided to start an association on campus, we received very good response from TSU officials. The willingness for TSU to help veterans is there, the students just have to be willing to take advantage of the opportunity.”

TSU is a Certified Vets Campus providing support services for veterans to ease their transition from military service to college life. It is also a proud participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program (YRP), a provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill that allows veterans to attend private schools and graduate programs costing more than the state tuition cap.

“Our veterans, as well as our current servicemen and servicewomen, serve and protect us from potential danger and harm from aggressive threats,” said Dr. Mark Hardy, vice president for Academic Affairs. “We owe them our gratitude and respect, and we proudly celebrate them and all they have done for this country.”

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

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, 25 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.

TSU Veterans Day Ceremony Features Highly Decorated Ex-Service Men and Women at the University

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U.S. Air Force Retired Col. Albert Hill Jr., gives the keynote address at the TSU Veterans Day Ceremony in the Amphitheater on the main campus. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

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.

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At a ceremony on the Avon Williams campus March 31, Tom Morrison (right), the Tennessee Higher Education Commission Assistant Executive Director for Veterans Education, presented the title and certificate of designation to President Glenda Glover, officially declaring TSU a certified “Vets Campus.” (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

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.

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U.S. Air Force Retired Lt. Col. Michelangelo McCallister Sr.

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.

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U.S, Coast Guard Retired Petty Officer Harold Hal Murra

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.”

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AFROTC Cadet India Williams

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
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

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.

Tennessee State University Designated Certified Veterans Campus, as Students Form Association for Ex-Service Men and Women

Dr. Mark Hardy, Vice President of Academic Affairs, left; and Air Force Lt. Col. Lavern E. Curry, Commander and Professor of Aerospace Studies, lay a wreath to the memory of the nation veterans who have died in the service of their country, during a ceremony marking Veterans Day at the Amphitheater. (photos by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)
Dr. Mark Hardy, Vice President of Academic Affairs, left; and Air Force Lt. Col. Lavern E. Curry, Commander and Professor of Aerospace Studies, lay a wreath to the memory of the nation veterans who have died in the service of their country, during a ceremony marking Veterans Day at the Amphitheater. (photos by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University now has a variety of services specifically designed to help veterans succeed in college while transitioning from military life to civilian life.

The University has been designated a Certified Vets Campus, which designation comes on the heels of the formation of a TSU Student Veterans Association.

At the annual Veterans Day ceremony on campus Tuesday to recognize the contributions of the nation’s veterans and service men and women, Dr. Mark Hardy, vice president of Academic Affairs, announced that the Certified Vets designation recognizes the University’s effort in providing support for prior service members who want to pursue further education.

“This designation means that the University provides support services especially for veterans to ease their transition from military service to college life,” Hardy said, as he welcomed former service men and women, faculty, staff, students and visitors on behalf of President Glenda Glover, who was on travel.

Veterans on campus often make several transitions at the same time, Hardy said.

“Some are transitioning from military life to civilian life while adjusting to the ins and outs of college,” he noted. “Many are nontraditional students with spouses and children, who need help in navigating their way. We help them find resources or put them in the right direction for help to make their educational experience more rewarding.

And the experience is even more rewarding and helpful if it is students helping students.

Former Army Chief Warrant Officer Brent Warner, President of the TSU Student Veterans Association, makes a presentation at the Veterans Day Ceremony.
Former Army Chief Warrant Officer Brent Warner, President of the TSU Student Veterans Association, makes a presentation at the Veterans Day Ceremony.

That’s why three prior servicemen and current TSU students have come together to form the TSU Student Veterans Association to help their fellow veterans reintegrate into campus life and succeed academically.

Former Army Chief Warrant Officer Brent Warner, of Santa Maria, California; Navy Petty Officer Ayele Tegegne, of Anaheim, California; and Army Staff Sgt. David Potter, of Detroit, are all junior Mechanical Engineering majors, who served at various times and decided to return to college.

“Today’s veterans face numerous obstacles in their path of attaining a college degree,” said Warner, president of TSVA. . “Missing a sense of camaraderie to feeling like an outsider among 18-year-old traditional students to a lack of understanding by faculty, are major challenges for many of these students.”

In some instances, when these challenges are coupled with the “visible and invisible wounds of war,” a college degree can be an elusive goal for men and women returning from military service.

The TSVA helps student veterans understand and know about available resources such as financial aid, scholarship opportunities, online classes, mentoring, as well as advocates for veterans by helping university officials learn about issues that vets face.

Warner said their goal is to become a chapter of the Student Veterans of America, as an officially recognized student group that provides a peer-to-peer network for veterans who are attending TSU. Membership to TSVA is open to all but to vote and vie for an elected post you must be a veteran or a current service man or woman.

For more information on the TSU Certified Vets Campus call Student Support Services at 615-9637001. To reach the TSVA, email bwarner@my.tnstate.edu.

The TSU Veterans Day program included a wreath-laying ceremony, and tribute by former TSU President, Dr. Melvin N. Johnson. University administrators, faculty, students, staff and visitors attended the program in the Amphitheater.

 

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

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 42 undergraduate, 24 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.