Monday, Nov. 13, 2017
Virginia Commonwealth University celebrated military veterans Friday at a Veterans Appreciation Reception held at the Commons Theater.
The event, which doubled as the launch of the VCU Military Veterans Alumni Council, featured remarks from Saif Khan, an Iraq War veteran and a graduate of the College of Humanities and Sciences; Timothy P. Williams, adjunct general of Virginia, who commands the Virginia Army National Guard, Virginia Air National Guard and Virginia Defense Force; Stephen Ross, director of VCU Military Student Services; and Dan-Viggo Bergtun, president of the World Veterans Federation.
Khan is the first president of the VCU Military Veterans Alumni Council, which offers an opportunity for VCU alumni to connect with one another and the current student body through their shared bond of military service.
The council is one of several veterans outreach initiatives and programs at VCU. The university’s Green Zone program has become a national model for supporting military students on campus. This past summer, Military Student Services collaborated with the School of the Arts and the nonprofit organization CreatiVets to help men and women whose lives were scarred by war use art to help process their experiences. And last week, Military Student Services and VCU Libraries recognized VCU veterans by installing a Military Service Wall of Honor at James Branch Cabell Library.
“We have done a number of things we are proud of,” Ross said. “So many people are making a difference for us and trying to support what we do as an office.”
Bergtun, visiting from Norway, said it was fitting to host the event on the eve of Veterans Day in the United States.
“I always think that every day is a veterans day, especially for veterans,” said Bergtun, whose organization supports and represents 45 million veterans worldwide. “We feel better when we call ourselves veterans, because we have delivered something to our society, and we should be very proud of that.”
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