The University of Colorado Boulder will honor the nation’s veterans, including CU-Boulder’s own faculty, staff and student veterans, through Veterans Week, beginning with a Nov. 9 Veterans Day ceremony at 11 a.m. in the University Memorial Center’s Glenn Miller Ballroom.
The free, public ceremony will feature guest speaker Michael Dakduk, executive director of the national organization Student Veterans of America. A reception will follow in the UMC Veterans Lounge.
In the Marine Corps, Dakduk was deployed to Iraq in 2005 and to Afghanistan in 2007, where he earned military decorations for distinguished service in combat. He left active duty in 2008 and completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where he organized student veterans on campus as a chapter of Student Veterans of America.
“We take this time to acknowledge and express gratitude for the sacrifices of those still serving and those who have served so gallantly and selflessly in our armed forces,” said CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. “This weekend, we can each take a moment to reflect on how much we owe the silent heroes in our midst and reach out and thank a vet for this outstanding service. The University of Colorado Boulder joins the nation on this one day of the year our country has set aside to honor our veterans and acknowledge the legacy of their steadfast defense of our American ideals, principles and liberties.”
Also on Nov. 9, CU-Boulder will host Military Student Day to assist military service members interested in transitioning from military service to life as a college student.
CU-Boulder is home to about 650 student veterans and 250 faculty and staff vets, according to Michael Roberts, program manager of CU-Boulder’s Veteran Services office on campus.
“The Office of Veteran Services here at CU-Boulder continues to build a robust program supporting our veterans transitioning from the military to college and ultimately to the work force,” Roberts said. “We have a group of committed staff and faculty leaders who are eager to support our student veterans.”
Student veterans can visit the Student Veterans Center in the Center for Community building, room S482. The center serves as a one-stop shop to support student veterans.
One of the most sought-after services is help with the GI Bill, Roberts said.
“Most veterans are taking advantage of this great opportunity they earned while serving our nation,” he said. “The Post 9/11 GI Bill covers all in-state tuition and fees as well as providing a monthly living allowance. In Boulder, it is quite substantial -- $1,500 per month while they are in school.”
The CU-Boulder Law School also recently opened the Veteran’s Legal Clinic to help unite the Colorado legal community and students at CU as they work together to develop a support system for veterans across the state.
Mark Fogg, president of the Colorado Bar Association and a Colorado Law alumnus, recognized the need for pro bono legal services in the veteran’s community in Colorado, said Andy Hartman, an adjunct professor and director of the experiential learning program at Colorado Law.
“The bar wanted to have veteran’s clinics in different cities throughout Colorado including Denver, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Grand Junction, and they wanted a program at CU-Boulder and the University of Denver to serve their student veterans and their families,” Hartman said.
Attorneys from the Colorado Bar Association work with student volunteers from Colorado Law to meet with veterans and address some of their legal questions. Neither party is financially compensated for their work, although it affords practicing attorneys and students the opportunity to fulfill their public service pledge to provide legal services that benefit the community.
Kevin Brown, a third-year law student at CU-Boulder and a former attack pilot for the Marines, has a vivid memory of the Veterans Legal Clinic’s first client.
“The very first person that walked into the clinic last November on Veterans Day was a homeless veteran that needed many different kinds of help,” said Brown. “To see a veteran who was homeless and in need and to watch the Colorado Bar Association and the volunteer attorneys come together and work to provide assistance and help to him was inspiring.”
Other campus observances for Veterans Day include:
Nov. 9, at 6 p.m., in Old Main Chapel
The CU-Boulder Veteran Services office will have a public viewing of the documentary “Veterans Day 11.11.11.” The feature-length documentary examines what it means to be a veteran in America through the stories of several men and women vets who served during times of peace and war.
Pat Woodard, the documentary’s co-executive producer and writer; Richard Deki, one of the veterans featured in the documentary; and Suzanne Popovich Chandler, a photographer whose work is featured in the documentary, will be present to interact with the audience during and after the film.
Nov. 14, 6-9 p.m., Old Main Chapel
A public showing of the documentary “The Welcome,” an award-winning film that offers a “fiercely intimate view of life after war: the fear, anger and isolation of post-traumatic stress that affects vets and family members alike.”
Nov. 17, 9 a.m., UMC Glenn Miller Ballroom
The annual veterans pre-game party honors CU’s military families as well as members of the military across the Front Range community. For more information contact the Veteran Services office at 303-492-7322.