Student veterans recognized during ceremony at McNamara

Though Veterans Day is Friday, the University of Minnesota held an appreciation luncheon Thursday.

Retired Staff Sergeant Tom Murray discusses difficult past experiences at the University of Minnesota Student Veterans Appreciation Day Thursday held in the McNamara Alumni Center. Murray is currently a network analyst for the University.

Marisa Wojcik

Retired Staff Sergeant Tom Murray discusses difficult past experiences at the University of Minnesota Student Veterans Appreciation Day Thursday held in the McNamara Alumni Center. Murray is currently a network analyst for the University.

Greta Kaul

More than a hundred people gathered at McNamara Alumni Center Thursday for the University of MinnesotaâÄôs fifth annual Student Veterans Appreciation Day ceremony.

Since 2004, the number of veterans at the University has roughly doubled, according to Carin Anderson, the senior veterans coordinator with One Stop Student Services.

About 800 students currently use the resources provided to veterans at the UniversityâÄôs Twin Cities Campus. An additional 200 use the services at satellite campuses.

The University has become a leader in student veteran services âÄî a benefit some schools donâÄôt even have, Anderson said.

 âÄúThe University of Minnesota made a lot of changes [to accommodate veterans] sooner than other schools,âÄù she added.

The University Veterans Services Office helps veterans with admissions, military benefits, military leave, and provides academic and non-academic support.

 âÄúItâÄôs different being four to five years older than everyone else,âÄù said Jonathan Schwartz, a senior studying landscape architecture. âÄúIt kind of sets you apart.âÄù

Schwartz served in the National Guard from 2003 until earlier this year. He was deployed in Iraq from 2005 to 2007.

The student-run Student Veterans Association provides a place for student veterans to gather on campus in Johnston Hall.

Sometimes it helps to be around people who understand your experience, said Andy Crisman, a biomedical engineering graduate student. Crisman was in the ROTC and spent 2001 to 2005 as a member of the active duty Air Force.

âÄúThe one thing I remember from active duty is the pride,âÄù Crisman said, noting that sometimes that same sense of pride is sometimes lacking in civilian life.

University President Eric Kaler stressed the importance of listening to veterans for the 90 percent of Americans who are civilians.

Regent David Larson âÄî himself a Vietnam veteran, Julie Selander, the director of One Stop Services and Amelious Whyte, chief of staff in the Office of Student Affairs, also spoke at the event, which was open to the public and followed by a chili luncheon.

“To all of our veterans, thank you,” Kaler said. “We at the University of Minnesota âÄî on all of our campuses are so proud of you and are so happy that you and your families are part of our community.”