SARASOTA, Fla. (Nov. 2, 2017) Dozens of USF Sarasota-Manatee students and student veterans gathered in the rotunda Thursday as the campus kicked off Veterans Appreciation Day. Home to nearly 190 student veterans, USFSM has formally hosted veterans-related events for the past seven years.
The three-hour appreciation started solemnly with a rendition of the National Anthem by Dan Veitkus, a USFSM biology student. USFSM’s Veterans Services Administrator Todd Hughes then welcomed the crowd, including USF and USFSM alumni and representatives from the Vietnam Brotherhood, American Legion Post 266, Veterans of Foreign Wars 3233 and other organizations.
“Thank you for coming out. Thank you for showing the veterans here at school, and in the community, how much they are appreciated,” Hughes said.
Around the rotunda, veterans’ groups set up tables, including USFSM’s Student Veteran Society, the Wounded Warrior Project, the Sarasota County Veterans Commission and the Sarasota National Cemetery. After the comments, attendees mingled, stopped by the tables and enjoyed food from Mission BBQ in Bradenton.
Steven Garcia, a Marine Corps veteran and senior business management student at USFSM, said that appreciation events help foster understanding about veterans while also pointing out vital services.
“They bring veterans and civilians together so we can discuss important topics and bring up issues important to veterans, such as veteran suicide, veteran employment and educational benefits,” he said. “And they bring out organizations, like the ones you see here, so that a veteran can come to one spot and learn about all these programs that may improve their quality of life.”
Military Times magazine ranked USF as the nation’s best four-year university for veterans for 2016 and 2017.
For more information about programs for veterans at USFSM, visit usfsm.edu/veterans-services.