We don’t talk about our student veteran population enough. With their life experiences and maturity, they are role models on our campus.
More than one million military veterans and their families are taking advantage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill to attend college on campuses across the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
CU Boulder is home to more than 1,000 student veterans and veteran-dependent students and more than 300 faculty and staff vets. The campus recently launched the Veteran Ambassador Program and Summer Bridge Program to help student veterans acclimate to campus.
I believe it's programs like these and others that have helped CU Boulder attract 20 percent more veterans over the last five years. These programs help them face the challenges of moving from the service to a civilian life on a college campus where most of the students are younger and do not have an understanding of their experiences. It is our honor to serve our veteran students, just as they served our country.
They serve as leaders and members of diverse and multicultural teams. They often have families and continue to work during their college career. In their academic pursuits at CU, they are part of a diverse community where people from different backgrounds and experiences come together.
Our home football game last Saturday on Veterans Day included a number of moving ceremonies in which we recognized our past, and our future.
At the opening ceremonies of the game, in an especially moving moment, the CU Boulder Air Force ROTC detachment concluded a 24-hour run in remembrance of American prisoners of war, and those missing in action, by running with the POW/MIA flag into the stadium. Our veterans were recognized with a standing ovation.
World War II veterans were recognized on the field and 20 service recruits took the oath of enlistment. The CU Boulder Student Veteran Association president was the honorable captain for the game-opening coin toss.
The day before, we had our annual Veterans Day ceremony at the University Memorial Center. Many don't realize that our UMC is the official Colorado state memorial for our veterans, established in 1947, before the building was even completed. We are proud to be its home.
It was wonderful to experience the unity of the university community and our supporters as we honored veterans on our campus, and those who have served and are serving worldwide. They have fought and sacrificed to preserve our freedoms, not the least of which is education.
I’m proud of our veteran Buffs, and all our Buffs, for recognizing and honoring them.