When Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visited here this past spring, he quickly noticed the respect and support the town and University have for veterans.
“It’s obvious that you care, as a veteran-friendly university and a veteran-friendly community in a veteran-friendly state,” he said to West Virginia University officials, students and community members that day.
In its latest celebration of veterans and the sacrifices they have made, the University will hold a WVU Veterans Appreciation Breakfast, Thursday, Nov. 11 from 8-9:30 a.m. at the Mountainlair Ballrooms. The theme is “West Virginia’s Veterans: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.”
“Veterans have meant so much to this state and this University,” said WVU President James P. Clements, who will make the opening remarks. “Along with thanking and supporting them, we want to open our doors to veterans and let them know they are welcome at West Virginia University as students, employees and part of our family.”
The event’s keynote speaker, Kenneth Busz, president of the Morgantown Chamber Commerce, will address the steps the Morgantown community is taking to support veterans. A committee has recently been formed that will address how Morgantown can best serve its veterans.
Ken Gray, WVU’s vice president for Student Affairs, will describe WVU’s role in supporting veterans. The University was again honored by G.I.Jobs by being designated as a “Military Friendly School,” for its many services and activities that are offered to veterans.
Visitors to the WVU campus don’t have to look hard to find evidence of veteran presence.
WVU now has more than 1,000 veteran employees and student veterans among its population of more than 8,000 faculty and staff and nearly 29,000 students.
The University offers a veteran’s mentor program, student organization for veterans and veterans’ tuition and payment plans, among other things. In order to make the transition easier for veterans, WVU is also working on creating more classes targeted to veterans. There is already a veterans Adventure West Virginia class as well as an English 101 class and a transition class that takes the place of the required freshman orientation class.
Also, the mast from the Battleship USS West Virginia and bell from the armored cruiser USS West Virginia are centerpieces of the downtown campus, on display outside Oglebay Hall. The Battleship USS West Virginia was one of the ships sunk in the attack on Pearl Harbor but was raised and returned to service before the end of the war. WVU has hosted a ceremony commemorating Pearl Harbor Day each Dec. 7 since the early 1970s. In 2007, a commemorative bronze plaque with the names of 106 sailors who died during the attack on the USS West Virginia was dedicated. It hangs on the wall surrounding the mast and bell as another tribute to veterans.
After the breakfast, there will be a live web tour of the Kimball World War I Memorial and the WVU Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism exhibition, “Soldiers of the Coalfield: The Story of African American Soldiers in World War I,” created by WVU journalism professor Joel Beeson and students. The exhibit showcases the sacrifices and contributions that African-American veterans made in World War I.
To reserve a place at the breakfast, RSVP at http://employment.hr.wvu.edu/veterans_appreciation_breakfast or, for more information, contact Amanda White at 304-293-7894.
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