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The University of Texas at Arlington salutes military veterans during Nov. 11 ceremonies

The University of Texas at Arlington will honor its military men and women on Wednesday, Nov. 11, with a series of events celebrating Veterans Day.

UTA is home to more than 3,000 veterans and dependents of veterans who utilize military benefits to cover the cost of college.

A student trumpeter heralds the day at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday with a live rendition of Reveille in the College Hall courtyard, 600 S. West St. The military wake-up call will be followed by a wreath-laying ceremony, both courtesy of the Army ROTC “Maverick Battalion” in the UTA Department of Military Science.

At 11 a.m., the Student Veterans Organization at UTA will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony opening the Vet Lounge in Room 216 of the Central Library, 702 Planetarium Place. The remodeled lounge uses products from Home Depot and work from Team Depot, student veterans, other UTA students, faculty and staff. The Vet Lounge was made possible through a $7,700 grant from Student Veterans of America’s Vet Center Initiative 2015, with funds from the Home Depot Foundation. The SVO at UTA was one of just 50 chapters awarded the grant of the Student Veterans of America 1,267 chapters. 

A reception for UTA veteran students, faculty and staff will be held at 2 p.m. in the Carlisle Suite of the E. H. Hereford University Center, 300 W. First St. UTA President Vistasp M. Karbhari and state Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, are expected to deliver remarks.

The Arlington Goodtimes Chorus, a men’s a cappella group and chapter from the Barbershop Harmony Society, will sing during the reception. The event will also include the inaugural induction for the National Student Veteran Honor Society, SALUTE.

All events are free and open to the public. Please RSVP for the Veterans Day reception to Kim Bennett at 817-272-9882 or kbennett@uta.edu.

“Each of these events speak to our deep commitment and well-known history of supporting student veterans and active duty military personnel through numerous programs and services,” said Lisa Thompson, director of UTA’s TRIO Pre-College Programs and a member of the Veterans Connection Committee, which organized the Veterans Day events. “We are so proud of our veterans and excited to recognize their contributions to our nation and UTA.”

In addition to the 21 students being inducted into SALUTE, the reception will include a $1,000 scholarship award to Khristopher Darling from the National Association of Veterans Upward Bound. Darling is a Tarrant County College student who participates in the UTA Veterans Upward Bound program. UTA is one of only two such programs in Texas, so it partners with many area colleges. Darling is one of only five 2015 NAVUB scholarship recipients nationwide.

SALUTE was established at Colorado State University in 2009 and made possible by an ACE/Wal-Mart Foundation Success for Veterans Grant. Students who are inducted into membership in SALUTE represent every branch of American military and veterans in higher education, at two- and four-year institutions. Members include retirees, disabled veterans, active duty military, National Guard and reservists returning to higher education, starting second careers or helping fund their college careers with military service.

The UTA SALUTE chapter was initiated in 2010.

One unique element of the honor society includes the four-tier system, which is designed to encourage student veterans to strive to improve their grade point averages and advance to higher tier levels in the honor society during their academic careers.

“We are not the average student,” said David Babbs, 36, a former Army intelligence analyst from Arkansas and master’s student in the School of Social Work. “We are a unique population within education systems, and generally a little bit older because we have had a military career before school.”

David Babbs

“A lot of vets on campus have some type of disability and overcome many obstacles in their transition to civilian life. They don’t necessarily seek recognition, but they deserve to be commended for their military service, academic excellence and dedication to the community.”

Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, is scheduled to honor Babbs during his 33rd District’s 2015 Congressional Veterans Commendation Ceremony next week in Dallas for Babbs’ career in the military and more than 150 hours of community service. Read more about the Congressional Veteran Commendation eligibility requirements here.

Veterans Day events at UTA will conclude Wednesday, Nov. 11 with a 5 p.m. flag retreat ceremony in front of College Hall. The ceremony serves two purposes – to signal the end of the duty day and to pay respect to the nation’s flag. The retreat, one of the oldest traditions in the U.S. Army, dates to the Revolutionary War.

Now until Dec. 11, members of the Veterans Upward Bound program are asking the University community to donate a pair of socks for the “Socks for Service” project, which benefits homeless veterans.

Last year, UTA’s VUB collected 250 pairs of socks. Seventy-five pairs were collected in 2013. Organizers expect to collect more than 500 pairs between now and Dec. 11.

Drop off boxes are located at:

  • Veterans Assistance Center
  • Carlisle Hall, Room 706
  • E. H. Hereford University Center
  • Davis Hall (Admissions Office)
  • Maverick Activities Center
  • Social Work Complex B – 1st Floor
  • Central Library – 1st Floor
  • College Hall (Department of Military Science)
  • Ransom Hall (Counseling and Psychological Services) – 3rd Floor

Pick up an “I Love UTA Veterans” or “UTA Veterans” button at most of the events.

The UTA Veterans Connection Committee sponsors the Veterans Day activities. Read more about the events on the committee’s Facebook page. For details on resources for student veterans, visit the Veterans Services website.

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 51,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UTA as one of the 20 fastest-growing public research universities in the nation in 2014. U.S. News & World Report ranks UTA fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as a “Best for Vets” college by Military Times magazine. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more, and find UTA rankings and recognition at www.uta.edu/uta/about/rankings.php.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.