LACEY, Wash. — A Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 11 at Saint Martin’s University will pay tribute to veterans, living and dead, and will thank the University’s many veterans, active-duty military and their families for their service to this country.
The ceremony, sponsored by the University’s Veterans Committee, will begin at 10 a.m. at the Fr. Marcel Berthon, O.S.B., Veterans Flag Pavilion, which is located at the base of the Grand Staircase outside the Old Main building on the University’s main campus at 5000 Abbey Way SE in Lacey. The entire community and the Joint Base Lewis-McChord community are invited to attend the free event. A giant tent will provide cover in case of inclement weather.
Speakers for the event will be Joseph S. Williams, a former member of the military police with the U.S. Army and current chair of Saint Martin’s board of trustees; Saint Martin’s President Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D.; and U.S. army veteran Fiona Kelly, the University’s Veterans Committee chair.
Kelly, an alumna of Saint Martin’s, said the committee plans to make the Veterans Day commemoration an annual event.
“In a survey, we found that more than 33 percent of our students were associated with the military, and numerous faculty and staff also were,” Kelly said. “That’s why we realize it’s so important to have veterans’ support services and show our appreciation for them.”
Throughout its history, Saint Martin’s has had a strong relationship with veterans and the military. In the late 1930s, it trained civilian pilots for potential involvement in what became World War II. After Pearl Harbor, both students and monks of Saint Martin’s Abbey, who served as military chaplains, gave their service. The school’s bond with the military was deepened when the University welcomed and expanded classes for returning World War II veterans on the GI Bill, and grew stronger when the University began offering classes at Fort Lewis during the 1950s.
In the 1960s, the University established a formal extension program at the nearby bases that helped educate generations of military students and veterans. Currently, about 350 JBLM military, veterans and their families attend classes through the University’s extended learning division at JBLM’s Stone Education Center, said Cruz Arroyo, the University’s director of extended learning.
Kelly, who also serves as a data analyst and marketing strategist for the University, said, “Saint Martin’s has had such a long relationship with JBLM – it’s been a necessary and beautiful relationship that we encourage and want to flourish.”
Kelly said that besides the Veterans Committee, the Lacey campus also has an active Veterans Club. The two groups work together on such projects such as Rally Point 6, which helps veterans plan their future after leaving the military, and a community outreach for homeless veterans.
Saint Martin’s University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 25 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,243 undergraduate students and 277 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 350 more students to its extended campus at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
For additional information:
Chair, Veterans Committee
Data Analyst and Marketing Strategist
Interim Media Relations Manager