Karen Broadway and Teddy Jasper fell at opposite ends of the age spectrum at MTSU’s third Graduating Veterans Stole Ceremony, but each has the maturity and strong values found in those who serve their country.
Broadway, 49, of Smyrna, Tennessee, a U.S. Army veteran who served from 1985 to 1993 and a Patriot missile crew member in combat support, was the oldest. Jasper, 21, of Memphis, Tennessee, and a member of the Missouri Army National Guard, was the youngest.
They were among 12 student-veterans who attended the one-hour ceremony in Cantrell Hall of the Tom H. Jackson Building Wednesday, Dec. 2.
You can watch a video from the event below.
Starting with the inaugural Stole Ceremony last May, MTSU began to honor its graduating veterans with a formal ceremony in front of family, friends and university administrators.
“It’s about inclusiveness, to feel part of a group and MTSU has replicated the feeling of making sure you feel welcome and taken care of with network opportunities and to attend school with other veterans,” said Broadway, who will graduate Saturday, Dec. 12, with honors, a 3.929 GPA and a bachelor’s degree in social work.
“Veterans do better in school,” Broadway said, citing maturity levels and awareness of the value of a university experience. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to attend school and being provided the tools by MTSU.”
During Broadway’s final semester as an undergraduate, her daughter, Darcy Ody, an MTSU freshman, joined her on campus.
Jasper called the Stole Ceremony and his pending graduation “a pretty remarkable moment. I’m the only one in my family to get a college degree and to only one to serve in the military.”
Jasper, who also majored in social work, attended a Missouri university as an ROTC cadet, but the school did not offer veterans’ services.
“I feel every university needs to offer military services to veterans,” he said.
Both Broadway and Jasper plan to attend graduate school at MTSU beginning in August 2016. Jasper will pursue a degree in vocational rehabilitation.
Keith M. Huber, senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and university Provost Brad Bartel congratulated the student-veterans for their academic success.
Dr. Hilary Miller, director of the MTSU Veterans and Military Family Center in the Keathley University Center, urged them to become involved as alumni, too.
Among those attending were Suzanne Jene, acting health system director for the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Murfreesboro and Nashville, and Travis Murphy, an assistant commissioner with the Tennessee Department of Veterans Services.
— Randy Weiler (firstname.lastname@example.org)