Hundreds of family members, friends, fellow veterans and Cal State Fullerton staff members were on hand to honor student veterans Saturday, April 29, at the tenth annual Veterans Appreciation Night. This year, more than 133 student veterans are expected to graduate from the University.
“We are so proud of our student veterans,” said Meredith Basil, interim associate vice president for student affairs. “This is a significant milestone in their journey forward.
“The national average for student veterans who graduate from college is 51 percent. At Cal State Fullerton, it’s 67 percent. Needless to say, we take great pride in our veteran community,” continued Basil. “It has been a privilege and honor to support and help prepare our student veterans for their post-graduate careers. Tonight we want to celebrate their amazing accomplishments.”
Claudia Acosta, president of the Student Veterans Association, spoke about her role in the student group. “This group has provided me with lasting memories and lifelong friends,” she said. “Here, we see past our differences. We each have a unique story. Together, we support one another and serve as a catalyst for change.”
Community outreach, on and off campus, is a hallmark of the organization. This past year, student veterans volunteered with Coastal Angels to clean out local beaches, packed more than 1,700 food boxes for the OC Food Bank and raised $1,500 to host future events for student veterans.
Two students are the recipients of $1,000 Veteran’s Scholarship for Success Awards: Roger Nava, business administration and Sarah Palencia-Bollinger, human services.
The recipients of $500 Marisol Ramos scholarships: Kelsey Waters, history and Francisco Zepeda Jr., computer engineering.
In addition, 18 Orange County Real Estate Veterans Initiative Scholarships were given to student veterans who have exhausted their GI benefits.
Special recognition also was given to those who will be deployed soon:
- Abraham Alba, communicative disorders
- Trevor Bray, psychology
- Alyssa Gurdon, political science
- Patricia Garcia, kinesiology
Veterans in the Class of 2017 include:
Claudia Acosta, master’s in taxation
Shelby Allison, liberal studies
Hector Aparicio, business administration-accounting
Chad Armstrong, business administration-marketing
Bruce Bynes, business administration-finance
Shawn Campbell, business administration-finance
Nicholas Detchman, psychology
Richard Estrada, business administration
Gary Gregory, Jr., business administration
Miguel Huertanicacio, business administration
Nicholas Lee, human services
Kaelin Locker, biochemistry
Jordan Machado, business administration
Hanif K. Muhammed, human services
Galen Patterson-Smith, communications
Angel Perez, mathematics
Matthew Pugh, criminal justice
Miguel Ramirez, business administration-finance
David Ramos, psychology
James Richardson, business administration
Alejandro Sanchez, criminal justice
Arthur F. Schettler, criminal justice
April Seymour, art
Leontine Smith, nursing
Alex Trujillo, political science
Aurelio Vega, business administration
Alumna Mimi Lawson ‘99 (B.S. human services) who has worked for 18 years in University Extended Education as an administrative analyst/senior program coordinator, was lauded for her support of the program over the years.