North Central College celebrated the academic achievements of student veterans May 26 at the first Hail & Farewell Banquet.
“The intent of hosting our first annual Hail & Farewell Banquet was to build camaraderie and support among our student veterans and to celebrate the successes of the past year,” said Julie Carballo, the College’s veteran services coordinator.
The gathering provided opportunities to formally welcome student veterans who began their studies at North Central during the past academic year, to celebrate and bid farewell to five graduates who completed their studies, and induct seven new members into the SALUTE (Service, Academics, Leadership, Unity, Tribute, Excellence) Veterans National Honor Society.
“As I reflect on the past two and a half years I’ve come to appreciate the character of North Central College and how well-suited it is to serve the needs of student veterans,” President Troy D. Hammond told those gathered. “We put individual connection and faculty mentorship first.”
Guest speaker was M.B.A. alumnus John Stolz M ’90, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1974 and went on to become a vice president of human resources with Commercial Union Insurance Company and senior vice president of operations with Lee Hecht Harrison.
“Your military service makes you self-reliant, an effective team member and able to manage stress,” Stolz said. “Coupled with your North Central College education, those qualities create a dynamic package that will serve you well moving forward.”
Graduating seniors, including U.S. Navy veteran Ryan Brazel '15, who completed his undergraduate degree in exercise science in April, were invited to share advice with classmates.
“Never stop learning,” Brazel said. “Never be afraid to lead, and never be afraid to fail.”
Attendees included faculty and staff who are veterans of military service and offered advice about careers and education. Matt Burden, assistant vice president and chief technology officer, is a Gulf War veteran who served in the U.S. Army.
“I still feel my transition to civilian life hasn’t fully finished, as you try to understand where you fit in,” Burden said.
In addition to being rated a 2015 Military Friendly School, North Central College has affirmed its commitment to the U.S. Department of Education initiative 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success and is completing membership requirements for Illinois Joining Forces, a statewide, public-private network of veteran- and military-serving organizations. North Central College’s student veterans program is supported by a grant from The Siragusa Foundation, which helps pay tuition costs for military veterans whose educational expenses are not fully covered by the Yellow Ribbon Program.
2015 SALUTE inductees
Cornelius Donley '16 (Marines), computer science
Maxwell Gilbert '17 (Marines), health and physical education
Tim Jager ’15 (Navy), finance, economics
Maria Kornfeind ’16 (Marines), accounting
Jasmine Morgan ’16 (Navy), human resource management
Jesus Ponce ’17 (Army), finance
Justin Stuursma ’18 (Army), finance
2015 Student Veteran Graduates
Ryan Brazel ’15 (Navy), April 2015, exercise science
Katie Fermin ’15 (Marines), September 2015, human resource management
Tim Jager ’15 (Navy), April 2015, finance and economics
Anthony Lorig ’15 (Army), December 2014, history
Meghan Sabaini ’15 (Coast Guard), June 2015, exercise science