Veterans were honored Wednesday at the University of West Georgia during a ceremony hosted by the UWG Center for Adult Learners and Veterans.
“Today is a special day to honor those who serve,” said UWG President Dr. Kyle Marrero. “Today’s ceremony celebrates and honors the many veterans who are a part of this community. I would like to thank those who serve and share what we are doing for those men and women.
Veterans Day is Saturday.
Marrero cited some of what the university has done for veterans who are seeking degrees.
“Priority registration, which began the year before last,” said Marrero. “Veterans who submitted their DD 214 to the Center for Adult Learners and Veterans, could be added to register on the first day of registration. This may not seem like a big deal but with 13,520 students applying for a space within a class, that is a big deal.”
According to UWG data from 2016, there are about 271 military-connected students who are using the benefits of the GI Bill. About 127 of those students are veterans and 15 of those veterans have graduated.
Marrero students who have served can avoid paying out of state tuition.
“Any student using GI Bill benefits earned within the last 120 months receive an out-of-state tuition waver, and will pay only instate tuition,” said Marrero. “These men and women have already given so much to our country. Helping them to pursue their education is the very least thing we can do to show our gratitude.
Marrero said that his hope is that the university can continue to serve those who have served for them, in the best way it can.
“At the university, we have been focused on creating the right kind of environment for our veterans such as the Green Zone training program,” said Danny Gourley, director of Center of Adult Learners and Veterans. “The Green Zone has been successful with teaching faculty and staff about the many transitions that military connected students face.”
The university welcomed for others to share their stories or thanks at the ceremony. One man spoke about his time during WWII. Dr. Wallace “Dusty” Rhodes, talked about his service and one of his friends, E.B. Sledge, who would write letters and stuff them into his helmet. Those letters and notes were then turned into the book he wrote, “With the Old Breed.”
Meaghan Sullivan spoke about being a child of a man in the military and thanked those in the military for their service.
“It took my dad in his 50s to receive his bachelor’s degree. He worked full time on base and then would go to classes at night. He finally received his degree when he was 50 years old. One of the things that I love about West Georgia is that it makes it easier for men like my dad to get their degree. The way that the CALV treats the veterans is far better than any Vietnam veteran has ever known.”