In observance of Veterans Day, the University of Louisville held a celebration today for veterans who are continuing their education.
UofL President James Ramsey spoke at the event, thanking the veterans and active military members in attendance.
“We pledge that we at the University of Louisville will do everything that we can do to make sure that those of you who are continuing your education have an opportunity to be successful and we will do everything that we can do to assist you in your transition,” he said.
Ramsey also announced during the celebration that the university is also planning on expanding funding to offer more scholarships for the Army R.O.T.C. program.
Currently, UofL has 822 veterans enrolled at the university. Spokesman Mark Hebert said the school already has a number of programs to help veterans enter civilian life, including a veteran peer mentoring program through the REACH office that started this fall.
Hebert said that the program has had a tremendous benefit for new student veterans.
Joshua Butrum is in the Marine Corps Reserve and studies Justice Administration. He said UofL has helped him continue his education.
“I’ve talked to a lot of the veterans and we’ve talked about how the transition can be easier,” Butrum said. “Things like this event help me because I’m around like-minded people. I really appreciate a lot of the things that the University of Louisville has done for veterans.”
Air Force Reservist Mike Crabtree is studying computer information systems and entrepreneurship. He said honoring the veterans at UofL through an event helps him connect with other veterans on campus.
“It makes things a little easier because I feel like, ‘Hey, this guy or girl understands some inside jokes,’” Crabtree said. “It just makes it easier to be on campus, especially being older than a lot of 18, 19 even 20-year-olds on campus. It makes you feel less out of place.”
Crabtree said he has some mixed feelings about the annual Veterans Day parade that takes place in downtown Louisville.
“The events themselves are good, a lot of exposure and recognition. It puts a human face to it and it gives it a name and all of those names it gives you more empathy for,” Crabtree said. “I don’t want to be counted as among those who want parade around and say ‘look at me’ and I feel like there a lot of us who are like that.”
Butrum said that he doesn’t think of today as a day celebrating his individual service, but he looks at it as celebrating everyone who has served.
“It’s not really about me really. It goes back to that same mentality that we have in the military. We’re all one team and I see a lot of guys in different uniforms and different branches,” Butrum said. “Selfless service. It means everything to me. That’s the reason I went into the reserve side in the first place because I can’t get out of the uniform.”
Recently, UofL was ranked 78th out of 100 universities across the country on a list of the Best [colleges] for Vets in 2015. The list was compiled by the Military Times through a survey that students filled out about the university’s culture and services for veterans and using the U.S. Department of Education’s data on military graduation rates.
Other Kentucky universities on the list are Eastern Kentucky University (ranked 2nd), Western Kentucky University (ranked 17th), University of Kentucky (ranked 23rd) and Morehead State University (ranked 24th).