WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 14, 2015) -- When the Syracuse Orange invited the Fort Drum, New York-based 10th Mountain Division to participate in pre-game festivities for Saturday's high-visibility gridiron contest against the top-ranked team in the country, it was but a tiny window into the heart of an elite school, which has long stood by men and women in uniform.
Noted for its innovative and aggressive approach to what university officials dubbed the "G.I. Bulge" at the end of World War II, Syracuse has strikingly reaffirmed its commitment to troops, veterans and their Families under current Chancellor and President Kent Syverud, who took the helm last year.
In an unprecedented move, Syverud named veterans and military support one of his "top three priorities" and backed up his commitment by putting Dr. Mike Haynie in charge at the rank of vice-chancellor.
Haynie, an Air Force veteran, oversees and nourishes a robust collaboration that includes both Army and Air Force ROTC units; the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities; and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, which Syracuse claims as "the nation's first, interdisciplinary academic institute focused purposefully on informing and impacting the policy, economic, wellness and social concerns [of] veterans and their Families."
Syracuse also hosts a unique military visual journalism program, which enrolls 34 active-duty enlisted personnel annually; and the Defense Comptrollers Program, which administers the Army Comptrollers Course among other military-oriented initiatives within the prestigious Whitman School of Management.
One grateful beneficiary of the supportive pro-military/pro-veterans environment is Lt. Col. Jason Warner, professor of military science at the school. The Army officer is wrapping up his first fall as a department chair at Syracuse.
"They take very, very good care of us," said the Norwich University grad and often-deployed military intelligence officer. "Our ROTC scholarships, for example, include full room and board, and both the cadets and veterans enjoy early registration."
Perhaps not surprisingly, Veterans Day activities on campus Nov. 11 have in recent years expanded to a week's worth of well-attended events, including a student veterans-led chapel service; an exhibition honoring 1914 Syracuse graduate and World War I Soldier Lorimer Rich, the designer and architect of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery; and a multi-faceted evening concert conceived and conducted by internationally-renowned choral director (and Army wife) Dr. Barbara Tagg.
Before the Orange's football battle against the Clemson Tigers, school officials and guests were gathering at "Plaza 44" near the new Ensley Athletic Center to unveil a statue in honor of legendary Syracuse football coach and Silver Star Medal recipient Ben Schwartzwalder, whose enlisted and commissioned Army service included jumping into D-Day with the 82nd Airborne Division.