Thursday, November 17, 2011

UMB 2011 Veterans' Welcome Back Dinner


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UMB 2011 Veterans' Welcome Back Dinner
By Felicia Whatley

University of Massachusetts Boston celebrates their veterans' service for an exclusive --by invitation only-- annual dinner at the Ryan Lounge 6:30 -9:30pm on Thursday November 10, 2011.

”It is a UMB tradition around Veterans Day started sometime after 9/11 intended to welcome back and acknowledge new and old veterans on campus. UMass Boston has been veteran friendly since the beginning of its establishment. In the first few years they were a major component of the student body, and they still are,” said Professor of American Studies, Paul Atwood, who is also the new Director of the Joiner Center. The William Joiner Center of War and Social Consequences is a center that promotes study of issues of war and conflict.

The event is sponsored by the Joiner Center, Veterans Upward Bound, Veterans’ Affairs, Student Veterans Center, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance.

“It is time for the annual dinner to welcome back all student veterans to the UMass Boston campus! This is a wonderful opportunity sponsored entirely by a variety of Veterans groups on campus, to include but not limited to: the Student Veterans Center, Veterans Upward Bound, and William Joiner Center,” stated Katie Govoni UMass Boston’s Veteran’s Center Coordinator.

The dinner is catered by Spinellis. So far this year 90 people have confirmed they will attend. Last year the event hosted 120 guests. Currently, there are over 600 veterans on campus.

“Yes, I'm looking forward to the dinner. It's going to be a bit different, as this will be the first year that Kevin Bowen isn't running it, because he retired over the summer. The campus Administration is paying for the entire thing. Last year it was enjoyable. This year I hope it is as good, if not better. Although, I fear it is going to be fewer people than last year, which I find sad,” said student Navy Veteran and Senior Caroline Necheles.

Veterans’ Upward Bound Director Barry Brodsky is also helping host the event. He said by popular demand the same menu as last year will be back, because people really liked it. “This will be a night for veterans to sit down, eat a nice meal, and hang out with one another,” said Brodsky. Upward Bound is a pre-collegiate program funded by the Federal Department of Education. Currently about 200 student veterans came through the program.

"The event is free to attend and just requires a response to an e-invitation that will be sent out. You may also go to the Joiner Center and put your name and a guests name on the guest list," stated Govoni.

This year the guest speaker will be Chancellor Keith Motley. Veterans Affairs Representative Gus St. Silva will say a few words and the Theodore Parker Award of Outstanding Service to Veterans will be presented to Marybeth O’Sullivan. She is the Outreach Coordinator for Upward Bound and is also a former Navy nurse who retired at the rank of Commander. The Theodore Parker Award was named after an Upward Bound student who tried to brake up a fight in Dorchester’s Field’s Corner and was stabbed to death in the ‘80s.

The event is known for commemorating Gold Star mothers and fathers who lost their sons and daughters to war, UMB veterans of various branches, select UMB staff and faculty-- including Carol de Souza, who helps students with disabilities and Linda McDonough from the office of Human Resources.

“There will be raffle prizes given away to some student veterans in attendance. I will post a list of available prizes once I have received them; last year students won everything from restaurant gift certificates and Bruins tickets!” stated Govoni.

Various local businesses and campus departments have donated gift certificates and coupons from Parking and Transportation, Athletics Department, and the Women’s Center for the Welcome Back Veterans’ Dinner.

To RSVP email Allison.Duffy@umb.edu
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