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Stetson Commemorates Veterans Day 2012

Although the official observance of Veterans Day will take place Sunday, Nov. 11, there are a number of events taking place honoring Veterans, Friday through Sunday. Stetson will kick off the Veterans Day observance Friday, Nov. 9, by handing out ribbons supporting Veterans throughout the day in front of the CUB and providing free lunch in the Commons for all Veterans.

On Saturday, Nov. 10, at 11 a.m. Stetson’s ROTC Program and Student Veterans Organization will be marching in the Annual Volusia County Veterans Day Parade. The parade kicks off with a vintage military aircraft flyover and will feature veterans of all branches of service, as well as military vehicles, marching bands and patriotic floats. Stetson’s very own Bill O’Connor, director of Continuing Education, and his family have been selected to serve as the Grand Marshalls of the Veterans Day Parade in honor of their family’s military service for more than 100 years. The entire Stetson community is invited to attend and honor Veterans as they march south down Woodland Boulevard.

Stetson University has always valued its relationship with veterans; the university’s commitment to helping veterans spans many years.

As reported in Stetson Today, Sept. 19, 2012, Stetson University was named among the country’s 2013 military friendly schools. This designation honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans, and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus.

Stetson’s student-veterans and ROTC members stayed late to place 2,977 flags in the ground on the Stetson Green the night before  the anniversary of 9/11.

“While Stetson University has always been a military friendly school, recognition by our peers just makes it official,” said Stetson Director of Continuing Education Bill O’Connor, Grand Marshall of this year’s parade.

“We all gained additional pride in our community and their commitment to becoming a military friendly institution,” added Stetson Associate Vice President for Boundless Learning Emily Richardson.

Stetson Law’s Veterans Law Institute, which opened in May, serves as a center for veteran and military scholarship, the site of Stetson’s Veterans Advocacy Clinic, and will provide continuing legal education for attorneys representing veterans as well as a focal point for student veterans and their pro bono related activities. The institute serves the growing population of active duty military and veterans in the Tampa Bay area, home to one of the largest concentrations of veterans in the U.S.

Former U.S. Senator from Georgia, Max Cleland, graduated from Stetson University in 1964, and is one of Stetson’s most famous veteran alumni. Serving in the U.S. Army’s 1st Air Cavalry Division in Vietnam, Cleland was severely injured by a grenade in 1968. Despite being a triple amputee, he was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to head up the U.S. Veterans Administration, and served from 1977-81. He was elected and served as U.S. Senator from Georgia from 1997-2003. President Obama appointed Cleland Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission, and serves as guardian of America’s overseas commemorative memorials and cemeteries. Cleland’s official memorabilia is housed in the Politicos Room in the Archives section of Stetson’s duPont-Ball Library.

Max Cleland, former U.S. Senator from Georgia, and Stetson class of 1964, was presented Stetson’s esteemed George and Mary Hood Award by President Wendy Libby in 2010.

There is a plaque hanging in the halls of the first floor of Elizabeth Hall honoring 1,000 of Stetson’s faculty and students who served in World War II. Following the end of WWII, Stetson’s student population was on the rise with the influx of male students, particularly. Because of the enrollment increase at the Law School, before moving in 1952, to its current campus in Gulfport/St. Petersburg, Fla., it had to move its base of operations from the DeLand campus, to the barracks at the DeLand Airport, which served as a military base during the war.

An initiative is currently under way to officially record the names of all the Stetson faculty, staff and students who are Vietnam veterans, as well.

Chris Griffin ’15, served in the U.S. Army in Iraq from 2009 to 2010. In this photo, he’s on patrol in the town of Rutbah.