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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Serving Those Who Served

Chancellor Motely, Gold Star Mothers and Carlos Arredondo (far
left) an activist who who son Marine Lance Cpl. Alexander Scott
Arredondo was killed in Iraq in 2004.

Chancellor Motely, Gold Star Mothers and Carlos Arredondo (far left) an activist who who son Marine Lance Cpl. Alexander Scott Arredondo was killed in Iraq in 2004.

 

 

 

Waves of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan enroll in college, some 7,400 in Massachusetts alone. Using government benefits to reinvent themselves and build on the hard lessons learned in war, some veterans struggle from the transition from combat to classroom. On the eve of Veteran’s Day, UMB honored the service of its sizeable veteran population with a celebration.

Hosted by the William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences, the Veterans’ Upward Bound Program, and Veterans’ Affairs, the dinner has traditionally been a way to welcome and honor veterans on campus. Veterans Upward Bound has been operating since 1973; the Joiner Center-soon to be an institute-has been at UMB for almost 30 years. The Student Veterans’ Center has also been active in supporting campus veterans. Chancellor J. Keith Motley delivered opening remarks.

“UMB is proud to be the home of more than 650 students who are here on the GI Bill, including 175 combat veterans,” said Motley. ‘We want a supportive environment for our current and former military students to pursue their education and their greater goal. We understand that for those who have served, returning stateside is not like returning home from a vacation.”

Assistive programs include the Veterans Upward Bound, a federally subsidized program through the Department of Education. The program prepares eligible veterans for college through classes, tutoring, educational counseling, and general support. Veterans of all ages and eras participate in the program, from veterans recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, to veterans who never took advantage of the GI Bill but now seek to pursue education.

“Our veterans and their families have borne heavy physical and psychological burdens with little relief. It’s time for us to shoulder some of that weight. I’m hoping that our university will be in a position to play a major role in researching and understanding problems related to the experience of war,” said Motley.

Motley acknowledged The William Joiner Center, which promotes research, curriculum development, public events, and educational, cultural and humanitarian exchanges, and fosters greater understanding and innovative means of addressing the consequences of war. Responding to wars and conflicts of the 21st century, the William Joiner Center has begun new initiatives focusing on the consequences of the global war on terrorism, particularly as manifested in the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and other regions.

Some veterans cope with post-traumatic stress disorder, which is a lifelong condition, while others recently returned from Iraq or Afghanistan may have some levels of traumatic brain injury or suffer from military sexual trauma. University Health Services recognizes that students who are veterans may face unique challenges which differ from those encountered by traditional students.

The evening recognized the accomplishments of those who have assisted veterans on campus as well.

MaryBeth O’Sullivan, Outreach Advisor for Veterans Upward Bound, was awarded the Theodore Parker Award. O’Sullivan served the United States Navy for 29 years and held the rank of Commander. She was the first woman to serve on the Board of Governors for the Wardroom Club and was named the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Woman Veteran of the year in 2007.

Vietnam War veteran and retiring director Kevin Bowen of the William Joiner Center was awarded the Joint Award of Excellence. For more than 25 years, Bowen has been earning the respect of the Vietnamese community for his work bringing doctors, teachers, and artists to Vietnam through an exchange program.