Assumption University Honors Veterans Day

Nov 10, 2023

On November 7th, in celebration of Veterans Day, Assumption University honored those who have served in the United States Armed Forces, including those within the AU community, with a ceremony in the Atrium of the Tsotsis Family Academic Center. The service included a presentation of the colors and a performance of the National Anthem by Assumption’s Chorale. 

“Our world is dangerous, and veterans put themselves on the line to keep that danger at bay, so that we have the luxury of learning for learning’s sake,” President Greg Weiner said in his opening remarks. “Simply to say ‘thank you’ feels grossly inadequate…but when all else fails, words are what we have.” 

After Weiner’s speech, the guest speaker for the event, Gary Senecal, Assistant Professor of Human Services, spoke about his experience as a member of the United States Army Reserve since 2013, specifically his time serving in Somalia to provide medical care to wounded service members. Senecal emphasized how much of an impact serving has had on both his life and his outlook on teamwork and community. 

“I’ve learned a lot during my time in the service…teamwork, comradery, fulfillment in connection with others,” Senecal said. “I don’t know if I’ve found greater joy than being a part of that tight-knit group of people. This experience of comradery and connection only happens in the military.”

Senecal also spoke about his return to campus after service, saying that the Assumption community was able to help with the transition from life in military service back to work as a professor. 

“When I came back to campus, I cannot begin to describe how welcoming it was,” he said. “There are days when I miss doing the work that I did…nevertheless, I am thankful to have those sentiments placated by having a job that replicates it and allows me to operate daily in the company of friends.”

For many years, Assumption has offered programs and resources for students who are veterans of the United States Armed Forces in order to help them adjust to both college life and life outside of military service. Beginning with the creation of the Veterans’ Success Committee, faculty, staff, and students work together to ensure that veterans on Assumption’s campus have everything they need to thrive and be successful.

“I had a very difficult time making the transition from a combat zone to college when I got back from Vietnam,” said Michael Rubino, former Chair of the Veterans’ Success Committee and Veterans Recruitment Coordinator. “Because I had that experience, I am now able to help students make that transition.” 

Due to the number of efforts put forth by the Veterans’ Success Committee, along with other programs across campus, Assumption was honored by Military Friendly as one of the nation’s Top Ten Military Friendly Schools for 2023-2024. According to Military Friendly’s methodology and criteria, factors that determine rankings include: “retention, graduation, job placement, repayment, persistence, and loan default rates.”

These efforts include the creation of a veterans’ lounge, located currently in the Information Technology Center, to allow veterans a dedicated space on campus to gather and form communities. Rubino stressed that the lounge is extremely important to the veteran community on campus so they can have a place to connect and relate to one another.

“It gives the veterans a place to go to meet one another and so forth and try to work out problems because they all understand each other’s backgrounds,” Rubino said. “I have found oftentimes that veterans who have been in combat zones only feel comfortable talking to other veterans who have been in similar situations.”

On Veterans Day, Saturday, November 11th, a ceremony will be held to honor veterans in the Assumption community. This ceremony will be held at halftime of the Assumption Greyhounds football game against Southern Connecticut State, which kicks off at 12:00pm at Brian Kelly ‘83 Stadium.