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11/10/2015 - Jackson, Miss.

Each year during this time, Mississippi Public Universities honor veterans on campus and in the community through a variety of programs thanking them for their service to our country and all citizens. These programs range from luncheons to mobile health services to recognition ceremonies held during athletic events and homecoming activities.

Honoring veterans has become a tradition each year during Homecoming festivities at Delta State University. This year marks the eighth annual Veterans Recognition Program at DSU. Held in the Veterans Atrium of Jobe Hall, the salute features music by the Delta State University Chamber Singers and Delta State music faculty and students, along with Cleveland community members. Each military branch is recognized and all service songs are performed.

In addition, the Bolivar County Historical Society and the University Archives and Museum will hold a reception and program following the community Veterans Day program on November 11 at noon in the Capps Archives and Museum Building on the Delta State campus in Cleveland.

Mississippi University for Women will also recognize veterans by offering complimentary lunch provided through MUW Dining Services for any veterans or current military personnel in Hogarth Dining Center on November 11.

On the Alcorn State University campus in Lorman, the GV (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center’s Rural Health Outreach Team will set up a Mobile Health Clinic to provide health care services and enrollment information to eligible veterans in the area on November 18 from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

The University of Southern Mississippi holds several activities as part of the Veterans Day Week Celebration, including a Ruck March for “Carry the Fallen” to raise monies for the Active Heroes Retreat Center; “Veterans in the Classroom,” a program sponsored by the Veterans Center to provide instruction for local community middle school students; a Veterans Day Dinner sponsored by the USM Osher Lifelong Learning Institute for student veterans; a Student-Veteran appreciation event conducted by the Gulf Coast Campus, and a Veterans Center Annual Fundraiser sponsored by the USM Foundation.

On November 21, Wounded Warriors will serve as game captains at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Military Appreciation Football Game, where between 500 and 1,500 active, reserve and retired military members and their families will attend.

The University of Mississippi will hold the Veterans Day Ceremony on November 11 at 2:00 p.m. in Paris-Yates Chapel with guest speakers Geoffrey O’Connell Yoste, a 1986 graduate of Ole Miss Army ROTC and Founder and Principal of Yoste Strategic Partners, and James-Roland Markos, President of the Inter-Fraternity County and a member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity and the Sally Barksdale Honors College. The Ole Miss ROTC Color Guard and the UM Men’s Glee Club will also participate in the ceremony.

Mississippi State University’s 2015 observance of national Veterans Day will take place on November 11 with a number of activities. Beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the historic Drill Field, names of the nearly 7,000 military personnel that have died during the current War on Terror will be read continuously throughout the day.

At 2 p.m., the reading pauses for a formal ceremony featuring remarks by MSU President Mark E. Keenum and Regina Hyatt, vice president of student affairs. Also taking part will be representatives of the land-grant institution’s Army and Air Force ROTC programs. A joint ROTC color guard will present the colors. To conclude the day’s events, the MSU Student Veterans Association is sponsoring 5-K and one-mile runs to benefit both a state veterans’ charity and its own ongoing mission.

Veterans also will be honored during the MSU v. Alabama football game with a military-themed halftime show on November 14. Halftime ceremonies will include official presentation of the proclamation designating Mississippi State University as a “Purple Heart University” by the Military Order of the Purple Heart for outstanding service to military veterans, service members, dependents and survivors.

Although Veterans Day offers the opportunity to recognize veterans for their services, programs and services offered to veterans and their dependents at Mississippi Public Universities extend far beyond November 11. All public universities in Mississippi offer non-resident tuition waivers to students entitled to veterans’ education benefits under Title 38 of the U.S. Code.

Designated a Top Military-Friendly University by the journal Military Advanced Education, Jackson State University offers veterans a number of services through the Veterans and Military Center on campus. The Center provides assistance to student veterans, dependents and military service members to improve and enhance their success, help them receive the benefits they deserve and to serve as a liaison between the veteran student community and the University.

The University of Mississippi Veteran and Military Services (VMS) recently began a new initiative to educate faculty and staff about veteran-specific issues through the “Operation Rally Point” program. This program is designed to increase retention of student veterans, service members and dependents through interaction with faculty and staff, by educating them on how their reality differs from those experienced by other incoming freshmen.

Operation Rally Point Faculty/Staff mentors complete a workshop on military culture, active listening, issues that veterans and their families face in and out of the classroom, services available to assist with solving problems and federal programs to assist veterans. VMS also has monthly veteran/military workshops that focus on veteran transition issues and include topics such as academic advising, counseling services, student disability issues, supporting university policies and the academic “Chain of Command.” VMS has also consolidated student services from other offices and created a one-stop shop for students using GI Bill benefits or with military questions.

This summer, Mississippi State University launched a new resource to help entrepreneurs who are military veterans get their businesses off the ground. The university is one of five new locations for a Veterans Business Outreach Center that provides counseling, training and other resources to former service members seeking to launch their own commercial operations.

Mississippi State University is also home to the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for American’s Veterans, a national leader in providing comprehensive support through a university based Veterans Resource Center. Approximately 450 veterans and service members are students at MSU and the veteran community, which includes dependents, comprises more than 2,100 students on campus. A premier veterans’ center is currently under construction at the MSU campus in Starkville and is set to open in 2016. The building will include 7,500 square feet and feature administrative offices, a meeting area and student support spaces, including a computer lab, study rooms and a “day room.”

The University of Southern Mississippi has established a comprehensive “Military-Friendly” education support program that attracts military veterans, service members and their family members that has been recognized nationally. For the second year in a row, USM has been designated a “Military Friendly School” by Victory Media and has been named a “Top School” for 2016 by Military Advanced Education. It has also been designated as a “Purple Heart Institution” by the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

This fall, USM enrolled more than 1,200 military students, created 12 scholarship opportunities for military students, established 10 student-veteran employment opportunities and founded a Student-Veteran Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Program. The university also instituted a full-service and active website to support veterans and their families.

Graduates of Mississippi Public Universities are also serving veterans. Mississippi Valley State University alumnus Jas Boothe founded Final Salute Inc. to identify and meet the unique needs of homeless women Veterans. Final Salute Inc. partners with other organizations that provide job training, education assistance, child-care, job placement, counseling and other services. The non-profit organization has assisted more than 900 women veterans and children in more than 30 states and territories.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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