The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus will host a full schedule of activities to honor veterans in conjunction with Veterans Day on Thursday, November 11. The events have been organized by the Veterans Success Center and the Division of Student Success.
“I want to thank all our veterans for their service, and for all the ways they enrich our community of Volunteers through their experiences and perspectives,” said Chancellor Donde Plowman. “Our servicemen and women are the ultimate example of stepping forward with courage, and their service is an inspiration to Volunteers everywhere.
“We are committed to meeting their specific needs and supporting them in their time here on campus and beyond. Just like everyone on our campus, we want every veteran student, faculty, and staff member to feel they are valued and that they belong here at the University of Tennessee.”
Megan Byrd, from Cleveland, Tennessee, served as a sergeant (E-5) in the Marine Corps from 2015 to 2020, working as an air traffic controller in Pensacola, Florida, and Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. She started at UT in August 2020 as a pre-med biological science major. “The transition out of the military during the pandemic was a little rough until I started school,” she said. “The transition from that point was not too difficult since my classes were online.”
Byrd took a work–study job at the Veterans Success Center, working at the front desk doing tasks like assisting with GI Bill paperwork and answering questions for incoming veterans and dependents using benefits. “That gave me the opportunity to connect and talk with other veterans,” she said. Before too long, she had become president of the UT Chapter of Student Veterans of America, known as VOL Fighters or VOLF. “We are working to sponsor more social events, to get more veterans involved and connected with each other,” she said.
Byrd is also the president of 4FirstGen, UT’s first-generation student organization, which works closely with the first-generation initiative of the Division of Student Success.
Schedule of Events:
Monday, November 8, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., in Room 169 of the Student Union, the Veterans Success Center will provide Green Zone military cultural competency training geared to student veterans. The session will focus on veterans’ benefits, the transition from active duty, and cultural awareness of today’s student veteran. It will feature interactive panels of student veterans to help facilitate and answer questions.
On the evening of Wednesday, November 10, the VOL Fighters student veterans group will partner with Air Force ROTC to paint the Rock with a Veterans Day image.
From 10 a.m. to noon on Veterans Day, November 11, the Veterans Success Center will host Coffee with a Cop, where student veterans can join UT Police Department veteran officers for food, coffee, and conversation.
From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., also in the Veterans Success Center, a Swag and Go event open to all first-generation students will provide the opportunity to pick up T-shirts, caps, and other branded items.
At 3:30 p.m., Army and Air Force ROTC will sponsor a wreath-laying ceremony at the site of the future Armed Forces Memorial in front of Brown Hall.
From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., a campus-wide Veterans Appreciation Dinner will be held in the Pilot Flying J Ballroom of the Student Union. Retired Major General William Gary Beard, a UT alumnus and a lawyer in civilian life who commanded US Army Reserve units in Kosovo and Iraq, will be the guest speaker. UT’s Army ROTC will present a color guard. Faculty, staff, and student veterans should have received a digital invitation to the dinner.
After Veterans Day
Friday, November 12, at 4 p.m., UT veterans will take part in the Homecoming parade.
Athletics will host Salute to Service Week, starting with men’s basketball against East Tennessee State University on November 14, including Lady Vols basketball vs. the University of South Florida on November 15 and Lady Vols volleyball vs. Alabama on November 18 and 19, and culminating with the football game against South Alabama on Saturday, November 20.
For the basketball and volleyball games, members of the military and veterans can receive free tickets by showing their military ID at the ticket windows. They can also get free tickets for their immediate family members.
Football tickets will be distributed directly to 10 local and state veteran, military, and first responder organizations that Tennessee Athletics has identified as longstanding partners. Individual military and veteran requests for tickets should be directed to www.VetTix.org
For more information about these events or other veterans services on campus, contact Veterans Success Center Coordinator Tom Cruise at email@example.com or 865-974-8716.
Military Friendly recently named UT a 2021–22 Military Friendly Gold School, a designation granted to only 162 out of 1,200 institutions evaluated, and a 2021–22 Military Friendly Spouse School. UT recently rose three spots to 45th among public institutions as a best college for veterans in the 2022 U.S. News and World Report undergraduate rankings.
On October 6, UT and the Pilot Company announced the naming of the Pilot Company Veteran Student Lounge in the UT Veterans Success Center, located in Hodges Library. As part of the naming, Pilot established the Pilot Company Veterans Success Endowment to benefit the center, which serves more than 1,200 students receiving US Department of Veterans Affairs benefits.
Brooks Clark (865-974-5471, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lacey Wood (865-974-8386, email@example.com)