By SUSAN JONES
The Pitt Office of Veterans Services week of activities leading up to Veterans Day on Nov. 11 will include activities for faculty, staff and student veterans, including a visit by two Medal of Honor recipients.
The centerpiece of activities on the Oakland campus from Nov. 5 to 10 is the Pitt Military Community Appreciation Breakfast, presented by OVS, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Pitt Police, Air Force ROTC, and Army ROTC. Open only to members of the Pitt military community, the breakfast is the first of its kind on campus, according to Dave Roudabush, the OVS outreach coordinator.
Also in attendance will be two Medal of Honor winners, who are being hosted by Rory Cooper, director of Pitt’s Human Engineering Research Laboratories and an Army veteran.
- Retired Marine Corps warrant officer Hershel “Woody” Williams, a West Virginia native who distinguished himself at the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945 by attacking reinforced concrete pillboxes with flamethrowers during World War II
- Retired U.S. Army Col. Walter Joseph “Joe” Marm Jr., a Washington, Pa., native who was honored for destroying an enemy machine-gun position during the Battle of Ia Drang in 1965 during the Vietnam War.
To attend the breakfast, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roudabush said there are around 260 students on campus who are veterans, but the number of faculty and staff is harder to track.
He and OVS Director Edwin Hernandez said that the office has no access to Human Resources records to track which employees are veterans. They encourage people to self-identify, so they can take advantage of the services the office has to offer.
Roudabush said they hope events like Veterans Week will help bring together veterans in the Pitt community and help them realize that Pitt’s inclusiveness policies extend to veterans.
Just this year, Pitt was ranked 37th in the nation in the 2019 Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News & World Report, and 116th in the 2019 Best for Vets by the Military Times, after falling off that list for two years. Pitt also made the list of 2018 Best of the Best by U.S. Veterans Magazine and earned a bronze rating in the 2018-19 Military Friendly Schools list by Victory Media, which also ranked the School of Dental Medicine as the No. 1 graduate school for veterans in the country.
The Veterans Affinity Group on campus also is being reorganized by Col. Jason Eddy, chairman of the Department of Military Science and Shawn Ellies of the Pitt Police.
Veterans Week 2018 events
Nov. 5: Military Dependents Appreciation Breakfast, 8:30-10:30 a.m. 1440 Posvar Hall. This breakfast is for military dependent students, Roudabush said, who often share some of the same background, including moving around often with their military family.
Nov. 6: Community Day for Pitt veterans and their families, noon-5 p.m., McCarl Center for Nontraditional Student Success, 1400 Posvar Hall. Nonprofit groups from outside campus will be on hand to share their services for veterans, including Team Red, White and Blue, which helps bridge the divide between veterans and the community.
Nov. 7: Honoring Our Veterans at the University of Pittsburgh Exhibit Tour, 10 a.m.-noon, Amy E. Knapp Room, Hillman Library. This will include student speakers and a display by the University Library System about the history of military service at Pitt.
Nov. 8: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Health Fair for Pitt veterans and their families, 1-3 p.m., McCarl Center for Nontraditional Student Success. The event will include hearing screenings by Pitt’s Student Academy of Audiology, sessions on diet and how to live on a college budget.
Nov. 9: Student Veterans Appreciation Lunch (Open only to Pitt student veterans), 12:30-2 p.m., Office of Veterans Services, 1440 Posvar Hall.
Nov. 10: Hail to Heroes Pitt Football Game. Active military, veterans and first responders may claim up to four free tickets to the game against Virginia Tech at Heinz Field. Request your tickets HERE through the Pitt Athletics website. Game time has not been announced yet.
Pitt–Greensburg will commemorate the service of military veterans with a series of events during the week of Nov. 5. Most of the programs are sponsored by the campus’s SITREP Military & Veterans Program, in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Veterans Services and Pitt-Greensburg.
Nov. 5: Public wreath laying ceremony, noon at the campus flagpoles located outside of Chambers Hall. Sharon P. Smith, president of Pitt–Greensburg will give the welcome, followed by Army veteran Jacob Snyder as the keynote speaker. The Pitt–Greensburg Chorale will perform “God Bless America,” and Veterans Write will present material written by one of its members.
Sixth annual Veterans Day Luncheon, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Chambers Hall. A service project for the freshman honor society Phi Eta Sigma, the event is free and open to all veterans.
“Reflections of Service,” 6:30 p.m., Mary Lou Campana Chapel. The storytelling event that will feature five military veterans from the region: Nancy Anderson, Bradley C. Nindl, Daniel Rr. Rota, Sarah Treadway and Lee Wagner. IT is modeled after the national storytelling event that is part of the “Got Your Six” programs.
Members of the public who plan to attend the wreath laying ceremony or the "Reflections of Service" storytelling event are asked to RSVP to email@example.com or 724-836-7188.
Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-648-4294.