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Student Veterans Honored at Banquet

Seventh Annual Ceremony Recognizes Service

May 7, 2014

Hundreds of family members, friends, fellow veterans and Cal State Fullerton staff members were on hand to honor student veterans Saturday, May 3, at the seventh annual Veterans Appreciation Night.

"We want to recognize our veterans for what they give to our country," said Lea Jarnagin, associate vice president for student affairs. "We realize that our veterans often face different challenges when they become members of our student body. The transition from military life to university life is unique, and we have a duty to provide support for our veterans through programs such as our Veterans Student Association and the Veterans Center."

When Patrick O'Rourke, director of active duty and veterans affairs for the California State University and a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, took the stage, he also talked about transition to the classroom.

"Our military culture is different. We don't always fit in with the student peer crowd. When veterans leave military service, there's not the same level of structure. This structure becomes a part of our lives. We may even have trouble figuring out how to dress," he said as the crowd laughed. "But many of the lessons we learned in the military — duty, honor, loyalty, courage, ethics — those things we can also carry forward with us.

"Only one percent of our population serves in the military," he continued. "America doesn't always really understand us. That's why it's good to have programs such as student veteran centers and associations. When we're only one percent, we need to speak out and help our fellow veterans. We're from a culture where we don't leave our friends behind. And I'd like to thank all the non-veterans who continue to support programs such as this.

"To our veterans here tonight, thank you. And congratulations to those who will soon be graduating. I salute you! See you on the high ground."

Two students, senior biochemistry major Deanne Locker of La Puente and senior health science major Lucia Aguirre of Chino, were recipients of Veteran's Scholarship for Success awards of $1,000 each. Special recognition also was given to graduating public administration major Robert Catanach of Aliso Viejo, a veteran will be deployed soon.

Veterans in the Class of 2014 earning bachelor's degrees include: Jeffrey Benson, political science; Matt Butterworth, international business-Japanese; Jessica Crain, business administration-accounting; Jonathan Cruz, business administration-finance; Ken Do, business administration-accounting; Adamo Don Vito, communications; Elvis Esquivel, Spanish; Tristin Foust, psychology; Travis Humble, history; Sophia Kelly, business administration-information systems; Edward King, communications; Jennifer Leoncio, sociology/social work; Leonard Mandap, art-design; Nicholas Medina, psychology; Rachel Moreno, human services; Jason Ornona, sociology; Eric Pomers, public administration; Lizett Quintero, child and adolescent development; Ruben Ramirez, linguistics; Alfredo Solis, communications; and Silvia Zamudio, communications. Crispin Pavelski will be graduating with an MBA-management.

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