At Villanova, these are extra-special days for veterans
Colleges and universities across the country are powerfully honoring those who have served this country, particularly students who have made sacrifices in their military endeavors.
Today’s celebration of Veterans Day is a reminder of their dedication and their extra efforts in upholding our freedoms and ensuring our safety. Many institutions in turn are giving back to their communities with special events, informative seminars, fun activities off campus and simple, beautiful ceremonies.
At Villanova University, veterans are being treated to a week like no other.
Tonight, students will unveil a documentary film for them called “Warrior Class” that looks at the transition three Philadelphia veterans are making to civilian life. On Tuesday, its Office for Veterans and Military Service Members held a Veterans Day Mass, led by its president Rev. Peter Donohue, and followed that with a flag-planting ceremony – something it has done the past two years for those brave men and women.
“We believe that honoring the service of those who have served in the military is important, and crucial to continuing to build and grow our Villanova community,” said Michael Brown, Director of the Office of Veterans and Military Service Members. “Although [the flag-planting ceremony] felt a little different due to the pandemic, we were able to host it virtually for those who still wanted to attend. Following the Mass, Villanova’s Student Veterans Club, Army and Navy ROTC students, faculty and staff planted close to 1,000 flags in honor of those Villanovans who have served their country.”
Those special initiatives were only eclipsed by the news earlier this week that veterans are getting a new place on campus to congregate, share stories and receive assistance. The new Veterans Resource Center that will open in the fall of 2021 is being created for them in Vasey Hall thanks to a generous gift from alumnus Brian Prince, president and CEO of Hegemon Capital, Inc.
“Veterans have been — and will continue to be — important members of the Villanova community, and we want to do all that we can to support them and their families,” Donohue said. “I am extremely grateful for Brian’s generous gift, which will have a lasting impact on many students and alumni and will help Villanova continue to be a leader in educating veterans and active members of the military.”
The Center, named in honor of the Prince family, will expand on the university’s current office, which was established in 2018 to serve as a space for networking, pursuing academic goals and to get Veterans Affairs (VA) and career counseling information.
Read more at UB: How Rutgers helps faculty talk to student veterans
Since World War II, Villanova has been helping veterans and their families receive benefits that help in their pursuits of higher education and ultimately positions outside the military.
During the past year, Villanova has expanded those efforts by increasing its Yellow Ribbon Program along with forging a partnership with Service to School’s VetLink Program that will expand opportunities and access for veterans looking to earn college degrees. Villanova’s goal is ultimately to further build that pipeline of veterans in its undergraduate degree programs.
In addition to the feature film, Villanova’s academic community continues to expand programming and research. It’s Fitzpatrick College of Nursing recently received a grant to pursue further work on traumatic brain injuries that will help all families, including those with veterans.
To learn more about the work happening at Villanova, go to the Office of Veterans and Military Service Members.