Veterans Day a celebration of culture and community

12th November 2021
Guest speaker John Summerlot reflects on Indiana University’s longstanding connection to veterans.

By Steven Krolak

(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)–IU Southeast students, staff and faculty marked Veterans Day in a moving ceremony.

Special guest speaker was John Summerlot, Indiana University Assistant Director of Emergency Management and Continuity and University Coordinator of Military and Veteran Services.

A U.S. Marine Corps and Army National Guard veteran, Summerlot spoke of the importance of recognizing the unique contributions of the culture and community of veterans.

Summerlot, for whom the history of Indiana University is an abiding passion, also highlighted the many ways that the story of IU is intertwined with the services, beginning with David H. Maxwell, a veteran of the War of 1812 known as the “Father of Indiana University.” It was Maxwell who successfully lobbied the State Legislature to move the fledgling State Seminary from Corydon, to Bloomington, where it would blossom into IU. He went on to serve as President of the IU Board of Trustees from 1820-1837 and 1841-1852.

Lisa Huber, Government and Community Relations Manager at Duke Energy Corporation, which sponsored the event, shared her own family connections to the services, while emphasizing Duke Energy’s commitment to hiring veterans.

Jamie Hunt ’14, a Navy veteran, read “The Fallen Soldiers Table,” acknowledging those missing from the celebration. Veterans in attendance spoke of their service and tolled the symbolic bell.

In the annual remembrance, members of the gathering were invited to honor family members and friends who have served.

In her remarks, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Kelly Ryan noted that IU Southeast has been named among “Best Colleges for Veterans” by the Military Times, and ranked fourth among “Top Colleges for Future Service Members” in Indiana by The College Database.

“Having veterans on our campus makes for a more enriching educational experience for all students and for our faculty,” Ryan said. “They are great role models in their discipline and possess a compassion towards others that is derived from the experiences they have had in service around the country and around the world.”

Ryan, whose grandfather and father were Naval officers, and who was born and raised on military bases, stressed the foundational importance of that experience.

“Veterans imbued in me a special and valued mission to give back that brought focus to my life and an unparalleled sense of loyalty,” Ryan said.

On behalf of the campus, Ryan invited veterans to feel at home.

“You are truly welcomed and honored here as community members, students, faculty and staff,” Ryan said.

Homepage photo: Guest speaker John Summerlot.

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