George Washington University Provost Steven Lerman on Monday thanked and honored the university’s student, faculty and staff veterans, emphasizing the important contributions they bring onto campus and into their classrooms.
“You really add something unique and important that we treasure,” Dr. Lerman said in his address at the Marvin Center, speaking of the 800 student-veterans and 70 faculty and staff veterans. “The combination of your military experience and what we teach you here, we hope, will prepare you to be tomorrow’s leaders.”
Dr. Lerman noted the Office of Veteran Services, which provides a “one-stop shop” for veterans who need any type of assistance in their transition to the university, and the Yellow Ribbon Program, of which GW is a proud participant.
But the attractiveness of the university to veterans doesn’t end there, said Lt. Comm. Alex Greene, an assistant professor of naval science.
Faculty and staff serve as mentors and a network of support. GW Veterans, a student organization, raises awareness of veterans’ issues. GW waives its application fee for veterans. There’s a course dedicated to women in war. The Veterans Writing Project serves as an outlet. The Veterans Service Initiative helps veterans continue their legacy of service.
“All of these programs are great, but GW is not satisfied to just check the box and say, we support our troops, look at all these programs we have for veterans,” Lt. Comm. Greene said. “GW is dedicated to being a leader in this area, and not just executing the best practices. They’re coming up with the next practices.”
One example is the Student Veterans Semester in Washington—a program designed to give student-veterans an invaluable view of how D.C. works through classes, internships and speakers—which will welcome its first students in January 2013. (The deadline to apply is Thursday.)
Lt. Comm. Greene said these programs and others are what attract and retain student-veterans, who bring experience, professionalism, maturity, leadership and different perspectives to GW.
“You are in the right place at the right time,” Lt. Comm. Greene told veterans in concluding her remarks. “GW is the place for veterans. Continue to support these programs, stay engaged and look for opportunities to help move forward. For all those veterans here today, thank you for your service and sacrifice.”
In his closing, Dr. Lerman emphasized the importance of honoring veterans, quoting the “prophetic words” of George Washington when he remarked that the willingness of future veterans to serve their country will depend on how the veterans who came before them were treated.
“We need to understand that treating veterans with appreciation and welcoming them back as returning veterans isn’t just the right thing to do for them—which it certainly is—but it’s also the right thing to do for the country.”
To all veterans in the university community, he added: “You truly embody General Washington’s vision, his values and his personal style of leadership.”
The university will host events through the rest of this week to honor veterans. See the full list here.