MTSU seniors and Murfreesboro, Tennessee, residents Dallas Glover and Jonas Farmer received the Journey and Leadership awards, respectively, during the summer 2022 Graduating Veterans Stole Ceremony, held Wednesday, July 27, in the Miller Education Center second-floor atrium.
They were among 20 student veterans recognized and presented red stoles at their upcoming graduation at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, in Murphy Center. Forty-four student veterans are scheduled to graduate that day.
Stole ceremonies have become a three-times-a-year tradition for the host Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center, home to more than 1,000 student veterans and family members.
Glover, 22, is a specialist with the Army National Guard. The Memphis, Tennessee, native serves with the S.W.E.E.T. Malanin campus organization, a group created to empower and educate young minority women and women of color at MTSU. She also worked at the campus radio station and was the Daniels Center social media coordinator.
“This award means everything to me,” said Glover, who is studying interdisciplinary media in the College of Media and Entertainment. “When I first arrived at MTSU, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do, but I knew I was going to make an impact. Being at MTSU and joining the Guard allowed me a way into making an impact and making sure I influence different people. This award means confirmation that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing and I accomplished my goal.”
David Corlew, co-founder of The Journey Home Project and longtime manager for the late country music legend Charlie Daniels, presented the award.
Flying Farmer brothers
Brothers Jonas and Orrin Farmer are aerospace professional pilot majors in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences.
Jonas Farmer, 25, was a U.S. Army medic from 2015-19 before coming to MTSU, where he will graduate with a 4.0 GPA. Orrin, 30, served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He has a 3.9 GPA. Sadly, their mother, Leeann Farmer, of Eagle Mountain, Utah, died of cancer June 11.
Regarding the Leadership Award, Jonas Farmer, who has been a flight instructor, said “it means I’ve been able to put a lot of good out there and show people that I can help them. When I’ve had difficulty finding help at times and also given access to the same help the Charlie Daniels Center has given me, MTSU’s helped me grow as a leader as well as my time in the military.
“I got to experience what good (and bad) leadership was, so I try to take the good from both of them and apply it to everything I have going forward, and I’ve gotten a lot of good leadership from my brother Orrin. He’s helped me tremendously through a lot of this.”
Jonas Farmer has “worked with other veterans to help them understand the pro pilot program and navigate the VA to help ensure they received all the benefits available,” said Anne Anderson, the Weatherford Chair of Finance chairholder in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business.
Orrin Farmer said graduating together “is a tremendous point of pride. I don’t think I could’ve done it without him in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) field, going from high school dropout to STEM graduate here with an aerospace bachelor’s degree. It means a lot to me, to my family, and I’m proud of him every step of the way. … He lifted me up along the way. He led me to being here in school.”
‘Make the world a better place’
Keith M. Huber, MTSU senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives and retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, told the audience — which included family members and prospective employers — that at the Daniels Center, “we’re here to serve.” He later told the graduates “to use those lessons and that experience to continue to make the world a better place. Be worthy of each day you get because life is far too uncertain and precious.”
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Warner Ross, Tennessee’s assistant adjutant general and head of the Tennessee Army National Guard, and alumnus and veteran Jay Strobino were among those attending. Strobino is field representative for U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn. Earlier this week, Ross attended Day 1 of the All Guard National Best Warrior competition, held at the Health, Wellness and Recreation Center.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)