The JHU Veteran Employee Resource Group (ERG) hosted its first Veteran’s Commemoration to honor the those who have served in the country’s armed forces at Hopkins on Nov. 11.
The commemoration began with a prayer. President Ronald Daniels gave an introductory speech thanking Hopkins veterans for their contributions to the University and the security of the country.
“We stand committed to being a place of unparalleled opportunity for all operating and former service members and their families,“ he said. “Whether we are recruiting and retaining hundreds of veterans to our Applied Physics Lab, helping veterans navigate college enrollment and extending tuition benefits.”
Dr. Sherita Hill Golden, vice president and chief diversity officer of Hopkins Medicine, provided remarks on the necessity of welcoming and supporting the veterans.
Coming from a military family, Golden shared how PTSD affected her family members who served in Korea and Vietnam. She stated that she is grateful that support for veterans’ physical and mental health has come a long way since then, and called for students to thank veterans in their lives.
“I encourage you to look for veterans in your life. Thank them and remember that regardless of their role, they each pledge their life to defend our freedom,“ she said. “Your appreciation will give the veteran a lift and encouragement that he or she can recall throughout the day.”
Andrew Coté, a Hopkins alum and former Marine, was the keynote speaker of the commemoration. Coté served as deputy assistant Secretary of Defense and is currently chief of staff and director of federal and defense sales at BRINC Drones.
He honored multiple distinctive Hopkins alumni who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, including Wes Moore, the recently-elected governor of Maryland, and Nick Black, founder and CEO of the non-profit, GoodUnited.
Concluding his speech, Coté addressed the students in the room.
“You students are smarter than me. You have that gift. Your intellect has the ability to continue to support and defend democracy and ensure that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will remain the pillars of our republic,” he said.
Mary Clare Coghlan, a member of the Veteran ERG, also saw the event as part of Hopkins’s broader mission to support our community’s veterans and military-related endeavors. She shared how the University hopes to continue building the veteran community across the Hopkins system in an interview with The News-Letter.
“We were ranked as a top employer for veterans which is quite exciting,“ she said. “We are looking to expand so that our reputation for current and prior military continue to consider for furthering their education.”
In recent years, Hopkins has made taken initiative to more veteran events, collaborate with military organizations, and establish ways to admit and employ more U.S. veterans.
The University set up a website to guide veterans through undergraduate admissions in January of 2020. In August this year, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded the Applied Physics Lab a contract for research and development in military-related technology. Most recently in October, the School of Advanced International Studies and the Whiting School of Engineering partnered with the U.S. Space Force to provide officers with the education they need for the evolving needs of U.S. military branches.
In an interview with The News-Letter, sophomore Jeremiah Reen explained that he attended the event primarily because of Coté‘s speech.
“An eloquent and widely-respected former Marine, he serves as an example to many,” he said. “I'm glad I was able to make it to this event because hearing him speak and seeing him interact with the audience has given me and no doubt many others a lot to strive to.”
Coghlan looks forward to building more veteran-related events on campus.
“This was the first ceremony on campus and the way the school came together was an honor,” she said.