Honoring our veterans

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As our nation celebrates Veterans Day — honoring the brave service members who fought for the freedoms we all enjoy — I am especially grateful to those members of the VCU community who are veterans of our armed forces.

More than 400 students and nearly 200 faculty and staff are U.S. veterans and active-duty soldiers, working and studying in disciplines and programs across the university. These women and men add much to the rich diversity and legacy of excellence that is fundamental at VCU. We thank them for their service, and for all that they contribute to VCU.

At VCU, we are committed to serving our veteran and active-duty students as well as the commitment they have in serving us. Our Office of Military Student Services, under the leadership of Stephen Ross and his team, provides special programs and services to help and support students as they transition from military to college life. And many of our faculty and staff have received Green Zone training to help them advocate for and work closely with these students and their needs.

We will continue to be deliberate in our efforts to recruit and educate veterans and active-duty students and to offer them an unparalleled educational experience, as we do with every VCU student. We will also remain committed to recruiting and hiring veterans who bring mission focus and dedication as employees; to conducting research that will enhance the lives of service members, such as David Cifu’s remarkable work on traumatic brain injuries in military personnel and our close collaborations on logistics and supply chain management with VCU’s School of Business and Fort Lee; and to being national leaders in caring for our nation’s veterans, including our great practice partnership with the McGuire VA Medical Center.

It is no wonder that VCU was recently named among the nation’s top 100 universities for veterans.

Like so many of our people, our university itself has been shaped by military service. During the Civil War, the Medical College of Virginia — the precursor to VCU’s School of Medicine — played a primary role in educating military surgeons and caring for sick and injured soldiers. It was the only medical school in the South to remain open and graduate a class of physicians every year during the war.

During World War I, medical personnel comprising Base Hospital 45 in France were trained at MCV. They cared for more than 17,000 casualties, and saved the lives of 98 percent, making theirs one of the most successful military hospitals of the war.

In the conflicts that followed, and in the peacetime they afforded, VCU has continued to be at the forefront of supporting our service members in myriad ways — and it is our commitment that we will continue to do so.

On this Veterans Day, I am grateful to all of our veterans and their families. And I especially am proud of our university’s commitment to serve those who served us.