The University of Montevallo held a ribbon cutting ceremony on March 8, celebrating the opening of the Office of Veteran & Military Affairs.
Housed in UM’s Global Community Outreach Building on the UM campus, this office has been created to serve UM’s veterans, those currently serving in the armed forces and their families. The space features a computer lab, free printing services, a lounge area, phone charging stations, a quiet area for studying and a conference room. They also provide, facilitate and coordinate programs to meet the needs of this student population.
“The center and the programs designed to support our Veterans is the University’s way of honoring all of the men and women who have sacrificed for our freedom,” said office coordinator Traci Crenshaw, who is a veteran herself.
“Encouraging, educating, providing leadership opportunities and listening to what our students need is one of the primary goals of this office and essentially part of the University of Montevallo experience.”
Montevallo native, Dr. Jim Day, served as keynote speaker at the event. Day recounted the history of the G.I. Bill of Rights and how veterans have struggled to receive the rights they have. He explained that veterans’ benefits have taken many turns over the year, and how it is good to see more benefits offered to veterans and for UM to support veteran students and veterans’ families. Day is a professor of History at UM and was recently honored as one of Birmingham Business Journal’s 2018 Veterans of Influence.
Other special guests at the ceremony included representatives from the Howlin Mad Smith Detachment 592 of the Alabama Marine Corps League. Members of this league generously donated an endowed scholarship in memory of Dr. Eugene B. Sledge, a former Biology professor at UM. Sledge is most widely known for his memoir, “With the Old Breed: at Peleliu and Okinawa” written about his service as a marine on the Pacific Island of Peleliu and in Okinawa, Japan. Historians regard his memoir as a significant chronicle of combat and it was the basis for the HBO mini-series “The Pacific.”
Before the ribbon was cut, President John W. Stewart III invited all veterans in attendance to the front to receive a small gift from the University in appreciation of their service. Stewart then asked these visitors to take part in the ribbon cutting along with Day, Crenshaw, the Marine Corp. League representatives and Stewart.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, guests were invited inside for refreshments to check out the veteran and military affairs office space.
The University of Montevallo was also recently named a Military Friendly® School, which honors institutions who provide the best opportunities for veterans and their families.
The Military Friendly® Schools list is created each year based on extensive research using public data sources for more than 8,800 schools nationwide, input from student veterans, and responses to the proprietary, data-driven Military Friendly® Schools survey from participating institutions.