UTA designated by national organization

Friday, Aug 31, 2018 • Media Contact : Herb Booth

The Military Order of the Purple Heart designated The University of Texas at Arlington a Purple Heart University recently at a ceremony at the UTA Veterans Assistance Center.

Purple Heart designation ceremony
UTA officials accept the designation of being named a Purple Heart University by the Military Order of the Purple Heart. UTA student veterans are pictured here with UTA officials and the organization's leaders.

John Lunkwicz, state commander of the organization, presented President Vistasp Karbhari with the designation.

“This will remember and honor UTA veterans and all veterans alive and dead,” Lunkwicz said. “It will remind us of their sacrifice.”

President Karbhari said he and the University are humbled and honored at the designation.

“UTA has a deep and storied past that goes back to our beginnings in 1895,” Karbhari said. UTA was called the Carlisle Military Academy from 1902 to 1913, and Arlington Military Academy 1916-17. “This designation increases our commitment and service to our veterans.

UTA’s nearly 3,000 veterans and veteran’s dependents make up about 12 percent of UTA’s on-campus student population.

James Kumm, UTA’s executive director for veterans programs, said he believes this designation will build upon UTA’s successful relationship with its veterans.

“The nearly 5,000 veterans and veterans dependents we’ve seen this year offer the University a great opportunity,” Kumm said. “They did the right thing by our community and nation. Now it’s our turn to do the right thing by them. The Purple Heart is a noble award that represents true courage and valor.”

The Purple Heart dates back to George Washington’s time. It is the oldest military award still given to U.S. military members.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart  is a congressionally chartered veterans service organization for combat-wounded veterans. The order’s mission is to foster an environment of goodwill and camaraderie among combat wounded veterans, promote patriotism, support necessary legislative initiatives and provide service to all veterans and their families.

Ray Hennagir, a veteran and freshman kinesiology major, thought the proceedings were awesome.

“It really shows how much UTA thinks of the veterans,” said Hennagir, himself a Purple Heart recipient for injuries sustained on the Iraq battlefield. “I’ve used this veterans office three or four times already and this is just the first day of school. And I didn’t have to seek them out. They asked if I needed help.”

Hennagir will play for the UTA wheelchair basketball team, the Movin’ Mavs, this year.