Wentworth Reaffirms Support for Veterans, Military Affiliated Students

November 8, 2019

A group of people cutting a red ribbon

Wentworth Institute of Technology marked Veterans Day 2019 with a Nov. 7 ribbon-cutting for a lounge and study space for ROTC and Veteran-students, and a luncheon that drew some 150 attendees to Watson auditorium—including alumni who served in the military, current service-affiliated students, and corporate sponsors of support programs for Veterans and active military personnel.

President Mark A. Thompson, Ph.D., said the new Willson Hall Veterans space highlights an enduring commitment by Wentworth to support military affiliated students at the university.

“This space reflects the forward momentum that we are realizing with regard to our Veteran-students and our shared mission to make Wentworth a highly productive environment for them,” he said. “This is a team effort, without which none of the things we do to support our Veterans would be possible.”

At the luncheon, Thompson quoted the late U.S. Senator, Veteran and prisoner of war, John McCain.

“He [McCain] said, ‘Glory belongs to the act of being constant to something greater than yourself, to a cause, to your principles, to the people on whom you rely and who rely on you.’

To those who have served our country and shielded us from harm, know that you have brought glory to us all. Thank you very much for your service and God bless you.”

In recent years, Wentworth has been fleshing out its contemporary mission as a Veteran-friendly institution where ROTC cadets and Veterans can find certificate and degree programs that are intended to help them build productive civilian lives. The Institute’s support for the Armed Forces dates to when Wentworth trained servicemen heading off to battlefields and war-support positions during World War I and, later, World War II. Veterans from most if not all the major U.S. military conflicts abroad since then have also attended Wentworth.

Wentworth Professor Gloria Monaghan, an ROTC academic advisor, Student Veterans Club advisor and member of the staff-faculty Veterans Committee, has said the university has been steadily expanding its support for servicemen and servicewomen.

“Wentworth remains a Veteran-friendly university,” she said.

For the first time, at this year’s luncheon, the university presented awards to members of the campus community for their steadfast commitment to supporting veterans and active military personnel on campus. There are two categories for those awards—one goes to a student, the other to a staff or faculty member, Wentworth graduate or community member.

This year’s honorees were Army ROTC Cadet Simon Chin Lee, Class of 2021, and Brian Quigley of the Center for Student Engagement. The awards were presented by Joe Albanese, founder and CEO of Commodore Builders and retired Captain in the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps. Commodore Builders, the Gold sponsor for the luncheon, has a long history of supporting Veterans programs and scholarship initiatives at Wentworth.

The university also announced the first three recipients of WIT-Vet and Heinstadt scholarships for military affiliated students: Michael Aikey, David Toupin, and Jonathan Locke.

Other participants in the luncheon tribute included keynote speaker Paul Williams, a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel and Wentworth alumnus who has been an Army signal officer for 17 years and served as a cyber officer for the past five; U.S. Air Force Colonel Jerry Arends, who is completing his bachelor’s degree in the Construction Management program; Army ROTC Color Guard cadets Thomas Bushway, a Wentworth undergraduate, two Suffolk University students, Arthur Lacerda and Nicolas Malm, and Kayla Spellenberg, a student at Berklee College of Music; Computer Science Professor and chaplain Arthur Strafuss, WIT ’84; Wentworth undergraduate Ryan Torr, a U.S. Marine Corps sergeant; the Colleges of the Fenway Choir, comprised mainly of Wentworth undergraduates; and Robert Totino, vice president of finance and member of the Heinstadt Scholarship Committee, which has surpassed its goal and raised $80,000 thus far.

--Dennis Nealon

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