Provost’s Remarks at Veterans Day Ceremony – Nov. 10, 2023
Thank you, Arieli.
Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us for App State’s Veterans Day Ceremony.
I would also like to extend a welcome to our App State Hickory campus students, faculty and staff joining us this morning via livestream.
Thank you to the members of our distinguished Army ROTC program for the presentation of colors, and to Willson Hooks for his beautiful performance of our national anthem and “Taps.”
Please join me in applauding all of the veterans and active-duty military members who are here today and thanking them for their service to our country.
At App State, 261 student veterans, 105 active-duty service members, and 74 staff and faculty veterans enrich our campus community each day. By recognizing this important occasion, we are expressing gratitude to ALL veterans — and especially to our campus heroes.
I am proud to work for a university that has, for well over a decade, been nationally recognized for its diligent support of our military community.
- Since 2010, VIQTORY — an organization dedicated to helping military personnel transition to civilian life — has designated App State as a Military Friendly School. App State is in the top 15% of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation.
- U.S. News & World Report ranks App State as the No. 2 Best College for Veterans among Southern universities — a distinction App State has held for three consecutive years.
- In addition, Military Times named App State to its 2023 "Best for Vets: Colleges" list — recognizing App State for its services and programs specific to military students — for the fifth time since 2018.
Student veterans, faculty and staff bring valuable perspectives to our campus, which enriches our classes and our campus community. However, service members are not the only military-affiliated students attending App State.
We also recognize the commitments made by the families of our veterans and those who are actively serving our country. We are proud that 962 military dependents and spouses attend App State.
App State’s Veterans Day Ceremony is one of the most important events we hold each year. Only about 7% of living Americans have served in the U.S. military in some capacity. At App State that number is just about 2% of our total student, faculty and staff population. Commemorating this day serves as a reminder of the enduring commitment and resilience of those who have served and of our appreciation for their service and their sacrifices.
This day also holds special meaning for me — as both of my parents served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
- After graduating from college and completing his ROTC training, my father was commissioned in the U.S. Army Chemical Corps as a 2nd Lieutenant and was later promoted to 1st Lieutenant. He served his active-duty assignment at Rocky Mountain Arsenal just outside of Denver, Colorado.
- After my mother completed college and ROTC training, she was commissioned in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps as a 2nd Lieutenant. She served her active-duty assignment at Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Aurora, Colorado. And that’s where my mom and dad met. They were married in the Fitzsimons Army Hospital Chapel in 1966.
- My maternal grandfather also served in the U.S. Navy — beginning his 23-year military career as an aviation mechanic and retiring at the rank of Chief Petty Officer.
- And I married into another military family. My father-in-law served for 20 years in the U.S. Navy as a mechanic working in the engine rooms of ships before retiring at the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 4.
Growing up, I remember hearing stories my parents and grandparents told about many of the people with whom they served — and I was introduced to the ideal of “serving something greater than oneself” and the values of loyalty, commitment, sacrifice and honor. These are values that I continue to hold in high regard today: standing true to the mission; following through on commitments, no matter the obstacle or sacrifice; and doing so with integrity.
So, I am deeply honored to be with you today, in front of so many distinguished veterans — who exemplify these same values in their service to our country.
While we take this day to recognize student, faculty and staff veterans and their families and to thank them for their service and their sacrifice — please know that you have our respect and our thanks EVERY day.
Our university and communities everywhere are better because of your selfless dedication — and it is our honor to recognize all of you.
THANK YOU to our servicemembers and veterans for your service to our country and to our military family members for your sacrifices and support.