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VetStarts Round-up

November 4, 2017

Good Afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. It’s always a tremendous honor to be amidst our veterans. Let me at the very outset thank all of them. The rights we cherish, the liberty we enjoy, the democracy we often take for granted, the freedom to engage in the open discussions, our ability to develop new knowledge without constraints and shackles that we see in other countries, are all due to the sacrifice and service of our veterans – so from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of all of us at the University of Texas at Arlington – THANK YOU!

Going back to our very roots as the Carlisle Military Academy in 1902, the University of Texas at Arlington has a deep and storied relationship with our military. We are proud as a university to host a vibrant Army ROTC program, one of the oldest and most respected in the state of Texas, and even more honored to serve as the academic home to thousands of veterans and their family members. This academic year almost 4,000 veterans and an additional 1,200 family members have chosen to attend UTA enriching our campus and community. They represent a spirit and passion to which we aspire. They served our nation with distinction, and are now serving as role models on campus showing the importance of commitment, dedication, and honor, and reminding us every day, through their presence, of the responsibility that each of us bears to protect our nation and its freedoms, and to work to make this country and the world a better place.

I’m pleased to see our university serve our veterans and the families who have sacrificed so much. We owe all of them a tremendous debt of gratitude and I’m proud that as a university we are increasing our commitment to serving our veterans and supporting them as they continue their education, and through it their service to our nation. I’m especially proud to report that Military Times ranked The University of Texas at Arlington as the single best four-year college in Texas for military veterans and ranked us No. 20 nationally. Earlier this year we were designated a “Military Friendly” university by Victory Media, which evaluates higher-education institutions for exhibiting leading practices in recruiting and supporting post-military students. In addition, College Factual ranked the College of Nursing and Health Innovation as No. 1 in Texas and No. 9 in the nation and the School of Social Work as No. 1 in Texas and No. 15 in the nation for veteran friendliness. While these rankings are good, we can do much better and we are committed to doing much more.

Our dedicated staff offer a range of services on campus including through the Veterans Assistance Center, the Veterans Upward Bound program, and the Veterans Business Outreach Center. May I please ask members of our faculty and staff here today to rise so that we can acknowledge the wonderful work they do every day in supporting our veterans and their families. Thank you for your commitment and dedication. You are a part of what makes UTA a unique institution dedicated to the success of all its students.

In order to better coordinate our activities and ensure that we engage with and appropriately support our veterans, and well as enable better synergy with the city and other organizations serving veterans we added a new Executive Director for Veteran Programs in May of this year. James Kumm, a combat veteran himself, is an important addition to our dedicated staff and he is doing a fabulous job at enhancing our services and ensuring that UTA is not just a veteran friendly university but one that values and cherishes its veteran students. We will keep working to better serve our veterans on campus through improved recruitment efforts, enhanced support for retention and progression and a much deeper commitment to support. Our veterans and their families deserve nothing less.

We live in a world that appears to be moving from one disaster to the next and as a people we are hungry for heroes, placing athletes and at times characters in movies and video games on pedestals. Rather than yearning for these imaginary role models we should be just looking around us at veterans and their families. These are the true heroes, dedicated, committed individuals who have time and again put our interests above theirs, who have sacrificed so that we might continue enjoying our way of life. These are the real heroes and we are truly privileged to have them chose our campus as the next stop on their journey adding to the rich tapestry that defines the University of Texas at Arlington.

Let me end just as I began – by thanking our veterans and their families for their service and by letting them know that we are honored to have them be a part of the Maverick family. UTA is a better place because of them, our city is thriving because of them, and I hope they feel that this is indeed their home.

Thank you for being here today. Thank you for joining us as we honor our veterans and thank you for working together to help make this the very best community in Texas and the nation.