Graduating veterans presented with unique stoles in campus ceremony
At ceremonies held on May 11, 2011, Salem State University and its alumni association honored the university’s 26 graduating veterans, 13 of whom were in attendance. A highlight of the tribute to students who have served in the United States armed forces was the presentation to each of a symbolic stole to wear over his or her academic regalia at commencement. Salem State is one of the few colleges and universities in Massachusetts to present the stoles, hand woven of Kente cloth, to those who have served.
The university’s first-ever stole ceremony brought graduating veterans, alumni veterans, faculty and staff, family and friends together to celebrate the accomplishment of the men and women who serve our country. Each was also honored with a citation from the VFW.
Veteran Thomas J. Cullinane '86 was the evening’s master of ceremonies. Also in attendance were:
· Michael Gormalley ’73 (Ret.), senior director, Veterans of Foreign Wars national headquarters
· Tim Smith, the national VFW’s state services officer for outreach
· Richard Denoyer, the national VFW’s senior vice commander and chief
· Samuel Ohannesian ’03, ’10G, Salem State’s manager of veteran's affairs
The 26 veterans eligible for stoles include:
Of the 1,231 universities and colleges in the country that are identified as military friendly by G.I. Jobs, only 21 are within the state of Massachusetts. Salem State is one of them, and has been rated by G.I. Jobs as one of the nation’s top 15 percent veteran-friendly schools. As a yellow ribbon campus, it also participates in a dollar-for-dollar matching program to supplement the existing Post-9/11 G.I. Bill for returning veterans.
Front row (left to right): Assistant Vice President of Alumni Affairs and Annual Giving Eileen O’Brien; Salem State University President Patricia Maguire Meservey; Rebecca Hegarty (Medford); Andrew Saltzman (Salem); Richard DeNoyer, senior vice commander-in-chief, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States; Edwin Agonavbare (Peabody); Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Kristin Esterberg, and Salem State’s manager of veterans affairs Samuel Ohannesian.
Second row (left to right): Carlos Goulart (Gloucester); Phillip Shafovaloff (Stafford); Frank Lang; Frederick Nuzzo (Saugus); Patrick Hickey (Waltham); Jeremy Bookman (Swampscott); Josue Flores (Lynn); Jeffrey Trahant (Lynn); and Mark Wheeler (Haverhill)