Veterans Day dinner guest speaker Jared Lyon emphasizes the academic success that student veterans often achieve.
Larry Maggi, Marine veteran and University trustee; Jeffrey Jones; Geraldine M. Jones, University President; Jared Lyon, guest speaker; and Robert Prah, director of the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs.
As part of its 2018 Military and Veterans Week celebration, the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs hosted the 45th annual Veterans Day dinner on Nov. 8 with guest speaker Jared Lyon, president and CEO of Student Veterans of America.
SVA supports more than 700,000 student veterans with their higher education experience. The organization includes more than 1,500 chapters on campuses in all 50 states and four countries.
Lyon, a Navy veteran, emphasized the success of the student veteran.
“Student veterans are among the most successful students in higher education by any measure,” he said. “They are yesterday’s warriors, today’s scholars and tomorrow’s leaders.”
According to Lyon, student veterans have a 3.35 grade-point average and the second-highest graduation rate of any population of students in higher education.
Lyon praised Cal U for its tradition of honoring veterans.
“Forty-five years, that’s really rather remarkable,” he said. “The life of a veteran and the life that we live connects all Americans to those who did not come home. We remember their lives and celebrate the lives of veterans continuing to serve as leaders on campus and our communities.”
Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 270 students, faculty and staff at Cal U have served in the U.S. military, including a number of students who have served multiple deployments in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan
“We have a long history of honoring their courage and sacrifice — and we wholeheartedly welcome those veterans and service members who join our University family,” said President Geraldine M. Jones during her opening remarks at the dinner.
Lyon urged the audience to be inclusive of all people, renew their personal convictions to live worthy lives, pursue their aspirations and continue to serve others.
“Do this and together we will honor our fallen, celebrate our sisters and brothers in arms, and help this generation of veterans live up to our potential as America’s next greatest generation.”
Since 1984, the recipients of the Col. Arthur L. Bakewell Veterans Scholarship have been recognized at the dinner. The scholarship is awarded annually in memory of Bakewell, the first Veterans Club adviser. It is funded through the generosity of the Veterans Scholarship Fund 500 Club.
This year’s recipients are undergraduate Guy P. Bertrand and graduate student Sean D. Mageau, who are both majoring in exercise science.
After Lyon’s talk, Mike Mescal, of Belle Vernon, Pa., presented a check for $500 to President Jones for Cal U’s Commander Kerrie Gill Sr. Memorial Family Scholarship for military families.
Robert Prah, director of the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, awarded the Presidential Patriotic Service medal to Cherie Sears ´81, Bakewell’s daughter.
Sears is a member of the Veterans Scholarship Fund 500 Club. She is also the governor of Rotary District 7330.
“I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award, and I am proud to call her an honorary member of our Veterans Club,” Prah said.