OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University is one of five schools in the nation to be charter members of SALUTE, a new honor society for student veterans at two- and four-year institutions of higher education.
Establishing a chapter of the new honor society is the latest in a series of efforts WSU has undertaken to better serve the needs of student veterans.
SALUTE stands for service, academics, leadership, unity, tribute and excellence.
“SALUTE offers a great way to encourage our student veterans to pursue academic excellence, and recognize their achievements,” said Jeff Grunow, advisor to WSU’s SALUTE chapter and a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.
WSU has been recognized the last two years as one of the top “military-friendly” universities in the nation by Military Advanced Education magazine. The Department of Defense’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve recently selected WSU as one of Utah’s outstanding institutions for providing exceptional support and commitment to employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve.
Nearly 700 WSU students are veterans of the United States military.
“Weber State has a long history of serving the needs of veteran students,” said WSU vice-provost Bruce Davis, a Vietnam-era veteran who came to Weber State to pursue his education in 1976 after leaving active duty. “I found the campus to be very supportive of veterans like myself.”
Davis chairs WSU’s Military Outreach and Veterans Education (MOVE) group, which was established 18 months ago to further support veterans’ needs.
“Our task is to identify and clear away barriers that veterans face when they come to campus to pursue their education,” Davis said. The group has met with officials at Hill Air Force Base, attended the annual symposium of the Council of College and Military Educators (CCME), and talked with veterans and active-duty personnel to better understand their concerns and needs.
WSU has held workshops, seminars and luncheons to support and recognize student veterans and active-duty military. At spring commencement exercises this year, WSU graduates and faculty who served in the armed forces wore red, white and blue honor cords with their academic regalia, in honor of their military service. Student veterans who graduated cum laude will have the opportunity to join SALUTE.
Davis views his efforts today as a continuation of his experience 35 years ago, especially with a new G.I. Bill and an influx of veterans returning home from tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Davis has a son who served with the Marines in Iraq and a son-in-law who was deployed to Afghanistan with the Marines.
Funded by the American Council of Education’s Wal-Mart Success for Veterans Grant, the SALUTE honor society was first established at Colorado State University, which serves as headquarters for the society.
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