Rutgers University–Camden Chancellor Antonio D. Tillis and the Rutgers–Camden Office of Military and Veterans Affairs are continuing a campus tradition that honors Rutgers–Camden faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members who have honorably served in the United States Armed Forces. The second annual weeklong celebration of veterans will engage and enlighten the campus community on important issues of veterans’ education, health, and post-military life. Named in 2016 as New Jersey’s first Purple Heart University, Rutgers–Camden is a leader in student veteran support services.
“On Veterans Day, we will pause to honor our nation's heroes who have sacrificed to protect our freedom,” Chancellor Tillis said. “We are blessed to count thousands of active and retired military personnel among our faculty, staff, students, and alumni and are privileged to have the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs on our beloved campus. Additionally, we are honored to be #86 in U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges for Veterans.”
Led by Campus Director of Veterans Affairs Fred Davis, the Rutgers–Camden Office of Military and Veterans Affairs assists veterans in achieving successful transitions from military service to academic life.
“The events offer an opportunity to engage with our almost 400 veterans on campus and to remind them that Rutgers University-Camden is a place of support and belonging,” Davis said.
The week of events begins on Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11 at 9 a.m., when a moment of silence will be observed at the Jeremy Kane Memorial on the Campus Quad. The memorial is named in tribute to Kane, a Rutgers–Camden alumnus and U.S. Marine Corps veteran who was killed in 2010 while serving in Afghanistan. Interim Provost Donna Nickitas, a U.S. Air Force veteran, will join Davis in leading a tribute to those who have served.
At the annual Veterans Day Observance Luncheon on Tuesday, Nov. 15, the university will honor student veterans and present awards of excellence. Mark Bodrog, a U.S Marine Corps Infantry captain who served two tours in Afghanistan, is the keynote speaker. A Rutgers–Camden alumnus, Bodrog has received numerous honors, including the Navy and Marines Corps Commendation Medal, the New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal, and the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal.
On Wednesday, Nov. 16, active-duty personnel, national guard, veterans, military spouses, and dependents are invited to meet the staff of the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs to learn more about services offered. The Veterans Day Observance community service event on Thursday, Nov. 17 allows the campus community to sign cards for deployed servicemembers.
Bodrog co-authored the play “22 A Day,” named in honor of the 22 veterans who take their own lives every day due to the effects of post-traumatic stress, which will be presented on Friday, Nov. 18 and Saturday, Nov 19. Tickets are available at the Impact Booth in the Campus Center and are free for veterans, students, faculty, and staff.
“This play is specifically designed to be a wake-up call for the veteran community and greater American public on the issue of veteran suicide,” Bodrog said. “Veteran suicide rates are extremely high and disproportionate. Our veterans deserve better.”
Campus Dean of Students Allison Wisniewski said the weeklong celebration will help the Rutgers–Camden community gain a closer look into the unique strengths student veterans bring to academics and campus life.
“Because of their values and life experiences, student veterans bring a remarkable degree of leadership and grit to our community,” Wisniewski said. “This year’s celebration of veterans will help our campus get to know these individuals and understanding the uniqueness of their contributions.”
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