Today's Update: Tuesday, November 10

November 10, 2020

Dear Student Life Team, Tomorrow is Veterans Day, a university holiday, and an excellent opportunity to reflect on Ohio State’s long record of service and support to veterans.  

The history dates back to the earliest days of the university. The Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 called for states to create institutions that would train future generations in agricultural studies, mechanical arts and military tactics. The first recorded classes at what would become Ohio State in tactics and drill were offered in 1874, taught by a lieutenant colonel who led infantrymen in the Civil War. 

Today, there are thousands of Buckeyes at the university who are veterans and their dependents, including more than1,800 students and 1,400 current faculty and staff veterans. There are also over 400 Tri-service Air Force, Army and Navy ROTC program participants. 

Last week, ROTC students continued a more than 100-year tradition called the Rock Ceremony to honor alumni of the university who sacrificed their lives in the service of their country. They annually place a wreath at Bricker Hall at a memorial rock honoring Ohio State veterans.  

On Friday, a number of ROTC students stopped outside the buildings hosting those in quarantine and isolation for a special program organized by Student Life that included a series of drills, including jumping jacks, in the parking lot. The students inside reciprocated by holding signs from their windows thanking the ROTC members for their service.  

Student Life has played a large role in honoring veterans over the years. Many of you were here a few years ago when the North District was transformed, and the tradition of naming buildings in that area after Buckeyes who served was continued.  

Student Life University Housing includes the Veterans House, a former fraternity house on East 17th renovated for students who are veterans, active duty, reserves and National Guard who want to live and learn together. It accommodates residents who may be older than most undergraduate students and have different life experiences from their time in service. 

A number of Student Life departments have taken part in the Veteran Community Advocates program the past few years. Students who are veterans work in various departments to bring a greater understanding of vets’ needs and programming ideas to those areas.  

In 2016, Brianne Szymanski, a fourth-year history major from Toledo, succeeded in an effort to designate a POW-MIA chair in Ohio Stadium to honor those who have served in the military and are unaccounted for still. The chair is in Section 3AA, where ROTC students sit during home football games during a typical season. 

I won’t do an update tomorrow as the university observes Veterans Day. I know some of you will be working, and I am grateful for your ongoing support for our students. Please take some time for self-care, and to reflect on the service and sacrifice of our veterans. They’ve earned our Scarlet and Gratitude.

Melissa