Utica College Student Groups Create Monument to Honor Veterans

Veterans Flagpole Monument Ceremony 2019 02

Student Veterans, Student Contractors Erect Flagpole, Monument for Living, Deceased Vets

Two student groups at Utica College have joined forces to honor U.S. veterans, including students and alumni who have served in the Armed Forces.

The Student Veterans Association (SVA) and Student Contractors Association (SCA) saw the need for a flagpole on campus, so they got to work. With the help of some donations, they purchased a 35-foot flagpole to be set in concrete in front of Strebel Student Center. The students also put in a sidewalk and a granite and bronze veterans monument, dedicated on Friday, November 8.

The keynote speaker at the dedication was be Major General (Ret.) Peter Lennon, former director of international military deployment and distribution operations throughout the Middle East. A native of Central New York, the much-decorated major general was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal and Bronze Star for service in the Middle East, the NATO medal for service in the Balkan Theater, and twice awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, which is the Army’s highest recognition for service in a non-combat environment.

Utica College, founded by Syracuse University when area leaders saw a need to provide education for veterans returning from World War II, is currently home to nearly 150 veteran students. The college has long been designated a Military Friendly College, and more recently, a Purple Heart campus.

Clayton Hawes, cybersecurity major from Edmeston, N.Y., currently serves in the U.S. Army Reserves. As president of the SVA, Hawes said, “This monument pays tribute to our fallen veterans and to the men and women currently serving under our flag. It speaks to the very reason that Utica College was founded in 1946, to educate those who served in defense of our nation.”

“Veterans have given so much – and in some cases, everything – to defend this country, regardless of politics, race or religion. They deserve this recognition,” said Michael Delia, senior construction management major who is also president of the Student Contractors and Student Government at the college.

Hawes, Delia and a team of students from both groups planned the project for months, did nearly all the work themselves, and completed the project recently.

During the dedication, wreaths were be laid representing all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, as well as one for POW/MIA.  Colors were be posted by members of the New Hartford American Legion, and Rev. Joseph Salerno gave the invocation and benediction.

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