United States Army veteran and Syracuse University alum Modesto “Mike” Chemotti was born in Solvay, New York in 1914. Mike earned an accounting degree from the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University in 1938. He also was a member of the 1936 Syracuse University football team, joining the team as a walk-on.
Mike joined the U.S. Army in 1942 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and received quartermaster school training at Camp Lee, Virginia. Chemotti’s unit served in both Morocco and Italy. His proudest military moment came while in Italy when, on June 28th, 1945, he was ordered to supervise travel from Naples in order to secure essential printing supplies for the U. S. Army. Mike attained the rank of Staff Sergeant, and he was honorably discharged in 1945.
Following his time in service, Mike married Margaret Heverin. Together they had four children, ten grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. Chemotti was the owner of the Solvay Liquor Store for many years.
Today, Mike is an avid Syracuse University sports and New York Yankees fan. He is also a member of the Tyrol Club and the Geddes Veterans Club. At 103 years old, Mike Chemotti is proud to be one of Syracuse University’s oldest living veterans.
United States Army Veteran and Syracuse University Student Veteran Chloe Miliken entered the U.S. Army in 2013, where she attended the Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. She earned her Explosive Ordnance Disposal Basic Badge in 2014.
Chloe served one combat tour in Afghanistan from 2015 to 2016 in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. She was awarded the Purple Heart, Combat Action Badge, Army Commendation Medal, and three (3) Army Achievement Medals for her military service.
She completed her my four-year Army enlistment as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician with 754TH Ordnance Company (EOD) in 2017. Today, Chloe is a sophomore at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management studying management.
Lorimer W. Rich graduated from Syracuse University in 1914 with a degree in architecture, and then immediately went on to serve with distinction as a U.S. Army infantryman during World War I. At the conclusion of World War I, Rich continued his academic studies in Italy. Upon his return to New York, to join the firm of McKim, Mead & White.
Rich left McKim, Mead & White after eight years and over the next five decades he became one of the nation’s most prolific designers of government buildings, post offices, court houses, college dormitories, and churches. Locally, he designed the Rome Court House, Camden United Methodist Church, and State University College at Oswego. For his alma mater, Syracuse University, he designed the E.I. White College of Law, Watson, Marion and Shaw Dormitories, and the renovated Archbold Gymnasium.
One of Mr. Rich’s most famous works is the design of the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery – a commission he won through national competition early in his career. Lorimer also designed the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldiers, at North James and Liberty Streets in Rome, as one of his last works.
Later in his career, he became a critic in design at the School of Architecture of Columbia University, and in 1940 was awarded an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Syracuse University. He also was a critic in architectural and city planning at the Pratt Institute in New York City.
Rich retired in 1971 at the age of 80, to his native hometown of Camden N.Y. Upon his death in 1978, President Jimmy Carter personally approved his remains to be interred in Arlington – so that he could be near the tomb he designed. Lorimer W. Rich is buried in Section 48 of Arlington National Cemetery, directly behind the Tomb of the Unknowns and the Memorial Amphitheater.
Katy Quartaro, Student Veteran
Rorke T. Denver, U.S. Navy Seal and SU alum
Rorke T. Denver graduated from Syracuse University with Bachelor of Arts in 1996. While at Syracuse University, he was an All-American lacrosse player and captain of the varsity lacrosse team.
Denver has run every phase of training for the U.S. Navy SEALs and led special-forces missions in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and other international hot spots. He starred in the hit film Act of Valor, which is based on true SEAL adventures. Denver has authored both New York Times bestseller, Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior and Worth Dying For: A Navy SEALs Call to a Nation. Denver was most recently seen on FOX’s American Grit. The series followed 16 of the country’s toughest men and women as they face a variety of military-grade and survival-themed challenges set in the wilderness.
After completing the SEALs’ legendary Basic Underwater Demolition program in 1999 (BUD/S Class 224), Denver began an action-filled 13-year career as a platoon commander and training leader with America’s premier special-operations force. As assistant officer in charge of BRAVO Platoon at SEAL Team THREE, he was deployed to SOUTCOM, the Central and South American Area of Operations, where his platoon was the “alert” SEAL team for maritime interdiction, hostage rescue, counter-insurgency and counter-narcotics. As SEAL officer aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard, Denver led his group’s response to a murderous uprising in the Ivory Coast nation of Liberia, launching advanced-force operations, conducting hydrographic beach reconnaissance and helping to get U.S. Marines safely ashore. At Special Boat Team TWELVE, he started the Maritime Capable Air Deployable Boat Detachment, which specialized in parachuting large assault boats from U.S. aircraft.
In 2006, Denver was officer in charge of BRAVO Platoon of SEAL Team THREE in Iraq’s Al Anbar Province in one of the most combat-heavy deployments of any regular SEAL team since Vietnam. Stationed in Habbaniya, his team conducted more than 190 missions including sniper operations, direct assaults, special reconnaissance and ground patrols. Two of his teammates were killed in action, including Mike Monsoor, who received the Medal of Honor for jumping on a live grenade to save his teammates. Denver’s team has been widely credited with propelling the “Tribal Awakening” that helped to neutralize Iraq’s Shia insurgency. Denver was awarded the Bronze Star with “V” for valorous action in combat.
After returning to the United States, Denver was appointed flag lieutenant to Admiral Joseph Maguire, commanding officer of Naval Special Warfare, traveling to Afghanistan and briefing Congress on SEAL operations. In 2009, he became First Phase officer of SEAL Basic Training including Hell Week, then rose to Basic Training officer. He went on to run all phases of training including advanced sniper, hand-to-hand fighting, communications, diving and language.
Denver is an honor graduate of the United States Army Ranger School. In addition to his Syracuse University education, he earned a Master’s Degree in Global Business Leadership from the University of San Diego.
Maria Delgado, Student Veteran
Eileen Collins – Air Force Veteran, NASA Astronaut and SU alum
Eileen was born on November 19, 1956 into a family of Irish immigrants in Elmira, New York. From an early age, Eileen marveled at the wonder of flight. Her fondest childhood memories were visiting the Harris Hill Soaring Corporation and Museum and standing around the local airport with her parents to watch planes take off. This sparked a desire to take flying lessons, so she took a part-time job at a pizza parlor to save up $1,000 for private lessons. By the age of nineteen, Collins entered the cockpit for the first time and knew instantly that she would be a pilot.
After high school, Collins attended Corning Community College. With determination and her family’s support, she quickly earned an associate degree in mathematics and a two-year Air Force ROTC scholarship at Syracuse University. Collins graduated from Syracuse in 1978 with a bachelor of arts in mathematics and economics and a commission as an U.S. Air Force Second Lieutenant. Eileen entered the Air Force just as the doors started opening for women pilots. She set her sights on attending undergraduate pilot training school at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma where she was among the first group of 120 females to apply—and one of only four women selected. Within a year, the 23-year-old lieutenant became the U.S. Air Force’s first female flight instructor. In 1983, Collins was reassigned to Travis Air Force Base in California, where she flew C-141 cargo planes and participated in numerous military and humanitarian missions overseas. Several years later, Collins taught mathematics at the U.S. Air Force Academy after earning master’s degrees in operations research from Stanford University and in space systems management from Webster University.
With two advanced degrees, over 1500 hours of flight time, and a cool-headed reputation, Collins was the second woman ever accepted to the prestigious Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Upon graduation in 1990, NASA selected her for the astronaut program. At NASA, she famously became the first woman astronaut to both pilot (1995) and then command (1999) a Space Shuttle mission. Under her command, the shuttle Columbia made history when it deployed a $1.5 billion telescope into orbit to enable deep-space exploration of exploding stars, quasars, and black holes.
Collins retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2005 at the rank of Colonel. Her list of honors and awards is long and befitting of one of our nation’s the first female pilots and astronauts. The main boulevard entrance to Syracuse Hancock International Airport proudly enjoys her name. So too does the astronomical observatory at Corning Community College. Collins is also a Syracuse University Arents Award recipient, an inductee of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and recognized by Encyclopedia Britannica as one of the top 300 women in history to have changed the world.
Halston Canty, Student Veteran
Daniel D’Aniello, Syracuse University Board of Trustees and SU alum
Daniel D’Aniello grew up in Butler, Pennsylvania and was raised by his Italian Catholic mother and grandmother. As a “good Italian boy” as he put it, he used to help his single mother pay the bills by bagging groceries at his uncles produce company, while she earned a living working four jobs. D’Aniello’ s childhood consisted of working at an early age, being an altar boy and singing in the church choir, and competing on the gymnastics team. He was voted most popular in high school, but higher education would be what “changed his life”.
Daniel D’Aniello was accepted to Syracuse University to study transportation economics. He graduated magna cum laude in 1968 and was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma, an honor society for business students and scholars. Drafted in the U.S. Navy that same year, D’Aniello spent the next three years serving as a supply officer before continuing to Harvard Business School. He received his M.B.A. in 1974 and was also a Teagle Foundation Fellow.
He served as a financial officer at PepsiCo and Trans World Airlines (TWA), developing skills he would need when he later served as Vice President for Finance and Development at the Marriott Corporation from 1981-1987. While at Marriott, he was responsible for the evaluation of major mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, debt and equity offerings, and project financings.
With his partners William Conway Jr. and David Rubenstein, he cofounded the Carlyle Group in 1987. They used politically connected advisors such as former President George H.W. Bush and former British Prime Minister John Major to buy defense-oriented firms, turning them around and selling them for profit. He serves as Chairman of the Board, running the firm’s daily operations. Today the firm manages around $203 billion across 129 buyout, leveraged finance, real estate, and venture capital funds. The Carlyle Group bought pipeline outfit Kinder Morgan for $22 billion, acquired Philadelphia Energy Solutions in 2012 saving 850 local jobs, and even has minority investments in Beats Electronics. It has become a famed Washington-based private equity firm with expansions and investments internationally, and was even inducted into the Dow Jones Private Equity Analyst Hall of Fame. The Carlyle Group’s geographical reach spans the globe in 23 countries on six continents, making it one of the largest private equity firms in the world.
Currently, D’Aniello serves as Vice Chairman of the American Enterprise Institute’s Board of Trustees, in addition to serving on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Syracuse University, and on the Corporate Advisory Council of the Whitman School of Management.
According to the Forbes 400 richest people in America this year, Daniel D’Aniello made #229, with a net worth of $2.8 Billion, which he has made through private equity. The Carlyle Group’s big returns have made D’Aniello and his family rich and continues to show his gratitude through donations to several institutions, one of which is Syracuse University. The D’Aniello Entrepreneurship Internships, an internationally recognized initiative, are named after him as a testimony to what he stands for: the entrepreneurial spirit, hard work, imagination, aggressiveness, tenacity, and strong moral values. D’Aniello also made a huge contribution to the American Enterprise Institute of $20 million, in order to help the conservative think tank move into its first permanent home in history.
Daniel D’Aniello has also been married to his wife Gayle for thirty-six years and are the parents of two daughters. They currently reside in Vienna, Virginia.
Ryan Gross, Student Veteran & Tillman Scholar
Albert Lee Gaines, Tuskegee Airman & SU Alum
Albert Lee Gaines was born in Struthers, Ohio on November 27, 1923. Gaines spent the majority of his adolescence in Seneca, New York, where he attended the Seneca Vocational School. Following high school, Gaines went on to Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri; however, in the thick of World War II, he transferred to the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
With much reluctance and through great adversity, Gaines became a member of the now world-renowned Tuskegee Airmen in his early 20s. Prior to the Tuskegee Airmen, there were no black U.S. military aviators. When Congress forced the U.S. Army Air Corps to form an all-black combat unit in 1941, Gaines was able to complete the course. He graduated from Tuskegee University as a Second Lieutenant and progressed to the rank of Captain as a pilot, bombardier, and eventually flight instructor.
During the height of WWII, Mr. Gaines was one of the few Tuskegee Airman to join the ranks of a unit known as The Red Tails. This elite group developed a feared reputation among German pilots having been accredited for shooting down 106 enemy aircraft and never losing a plane under escort. It was only later in 1952 that Gaines and several other Tuskegee Airmen were acknowledged for their success by the T.J. Watson family, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the founders of IBM, with whom he would eventually find employment. Notably, when he took the IBM opening exam, he had achieved the highest test scores on record.
With support from important figures, Gaines was accepted into and attended Syracuse University—Gains would call this his “Jackie Robinson moment”. Gaines retired from IBM in 1999. He continued to be a legal activist at the Montrose VA Hospital and even ran once for county executive. Gaines fully retired in 2003.
Syracuse University employee and U.S. Navy Veteran, Derek Brainard, was honored as “Hometown Hero” during Friday’s SU Women’s Volleyball vs. Virginia Tech.
U.S. Navy Veteran, Petty Officer Second Class Derek Brainard hails from Kirkville, New York. He served as a United States Navy Musician from July 2007 to December 2013. Upon completion of Recruit Training Command Basic Training in Great Lakes, Illinois and Musician “A” School in Little Creek, Virgina, Petty Officer Brainard completed his full tour of duty attached to Naval Base Kitsap, in Bremerton, Washington.
As a member of Navy Band Northwest, Petty Officer Brainard served as a Trumpet Instrumentalist, Unit Leader, Operations Coordinator, Command Fitness Leader, and Public Affairs Officer. Petty Officer Brainard’s musicianship and leadership directly contributed to over 640 performances for audiences exceeding 30 million people. He is the recipient of two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
The proudest moments of Petty Officer Brainard’s career as a military bugler came in the solemn service of rendering “Taps” to those that gave the greatest sacrifice for our country and our enduring freedom.
Today, Derek Brainard is Syracuse University’s Financial Literacy Coordinator.
Syracuse University Army ROTC Cadet and U.S. Army Veteran, Colin Santacroce, was honored as “Hometown Hero” during Friday’s SU Football game vs. Clemson.
Cadet Colin Santacroce enlisted in the United States Army in 2010 as an 11 Bravo, Infantryman, and he attended One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Georgia.
After completing Infantry training, Cadet Santacroce served in 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, in the 10th Mountain Division, at Fort Drum, New York. He deployed as a Squad Assault Weapons gunner to the Zhari District of Kandahar, Afghanistan for one year in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM.
In 2012, Cadet Santacroce completed the Warrior Leader Course at Fort Drum and was the recipient of the Jared C. Monti award for outstanding leadership. After his promotion to Sergeant, Cadet Santacroce deployed again to Afghanistan in support of OPERATON ENDURING FREEDOM for one year. He was later promoted to Staff Sergeant.
Cadet Santacroce’s proudest military moment was winning the 10th Mountain Division’s best Non-Commissioned Officer competition in February 2015. Today, he attends Syracuse University on a Green-to-Gold Scholarship. In December 2018, Cadet Santacroce will enter the United States Army as a 2nd Lieutenant.
As Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month continues through October 15th, 2017 Maria Delgado G’19 took some time to reflect on how her heritage and family influenced her to join the U.S. Army. Delgado, a Syracuse University graduate student from Buenos Aires Argentina, Army medic and LPN, credits her family’s hardworking lifestyle for her success in the Army and now is focused on Public Health in Falk College with a goal of ultimately working to improve preventative patient care – and becoming a commissioned officer. She is a prime example of the value student veterans bring to the campus and what Syracuse University offers to our nation’s heroes.
Syracuse University Student and Marine Corps Veteran, Katherine Quartaro, was honored as “Hometown Hero” during today’s SU Football game vs. Pittsburgh.
Katherine was born in Rochester, New York, and graduated from Churchville-Chili Senior High School in 2008. She attended Basic Training at Parris Island, South Carolina. Following combat and Military Police training, she reported to III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, Military Police Support Company in Okinawa, Japan and was briefly assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma Provost Marshal’s Office.
In June 2010, Katherine was attached to the 12th Marine Artillery Regiment to deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom- Philippines and she deployed to the southern island of Mindanao, Philippines, as part of the Marine Security Element for the Joint Special Operations Task Force- Philippines (JSOTF-P). She served as the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of ammunition. Katherine acted as Quick Response Force and security on various humanitarian missions, and escorted VIPs and sensitive mission critical materials through areas dense with Al-Qaeda backed rebels. For this deployment, she was awarded the Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal. Following her return to Japan, Katherine attended Military Working Dog Handler’s Course at Lackland Air Force Base where she graduated at the top of her class with distinguished honors. She also served as a Combat Marksmanship Coach after receiving high rifle and pistol qualifications throughout her career.
In 2012, Katherine was assigned to the Provost Marshal’s Office, Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, where she and her explosive detector dog conducted patrols, antiterrorism operations, and assisted the U.S. Secret Service on multiple missions. In 2013 Katherine transferred to the Criminal Investigation Division, where she conducted investigations of military, State, and Federal law alongside NCIS. For her service with the Criminal Investigation Division, she was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal prior to separating honorably in October 2016 after eight years of active duty service. Katherine is a Junior studying Forensic Science and Psychology and she serves as the Secretary of the Student Veterans Organization and the Team Leader for the PAVE program. Katherine’s proudest moment of her service was becoming a Marine and receiving her Eagle, Globe, and Anchor from her Senior Drill Instructor, SSgt Davis, following the Crucible at MCRD Parris Island.
United States Air Force Airman First Class Preston Blake is the Hometown Hero for the September 16, 2017 SU Football Game V. Central Michigan.
United States Air Force Airman First Class Preston Blake hails from Weedsport, New York, and on August 6, 2014, he enlisted in the New York Air National Guard. Airman Blake graduated from both the Air Force Basic Military Training and Air Force Security Forces Academy as a Distinguished Graduate.
In August of this year, Airman Blake returned home following a six-month deployment to the Middle East supporting Operations Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel. For his overseas performance, Airman Blake was awarded the Global War on Terrorism Medal and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.
Airman Blake’s proudest military moment took place when he was hand-selected to participate in a military exchange program, where he was embedded with the Qatar police force and was responsible for advising and directing Qatari police officers in western military tactics, training, and procedures.
Today, Airman Blake serves with the 174th Security Forces Squadron, Hancock Field in Syracuse, New York, as an Internal and External Security Response Team Member.
United States Marine Corps Sergeant Katelyn Hunter is the Hometown Hero for the September 9, 2017 SU Football Game V. Middle Tennessee.
Sergeant Hunter’s first assignment was with the Marine Corps Installations Pacific in Okinawa, Japan. She deployed with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit supporting multiple small-scale exercises in various countries in the Pacific.
In 2015, Sergeant Hunter graduated the Machine Gunner’s course at the School of Infantry in Camp Geiger, North Carolina. She became part of the first group of females to earn this skill in the Marine Corps.Sergeant Hunter’s proudest military moment was in 2014 when she received the Corporal William T. Perkins Award as the Marine Corps’ Combat Cameraman of the Year.
Sergeant Hunter’s proudest military moment was in 2014 when she received the Corporal William T. Perkins Award as the Marine Corps’ Combat Cameraman of the Year.
Today, she is a student at the Military Photojournalism program at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
Syracuse University and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) were among the participants at the George W. Bush Institute’s Stand-To summit. The summit, which focused on veteran transition, convened key leaders from government, higher education and the private and philanthropic sectors to outline key priorities and a cohesive action plan to help more veterans and their families thrive.
Chancellor Kent Syverud and J. Michael Haynie, vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and innovation and IVMF executive director, participated in the event, which included the nation’s foremost experts participating in the summit.
Chancellor Syverud appeared on a panel consisting of high-profile leaders in higher education, including Margaret Spellings, former Secretary of Education and president of the University of North Carolina system; and Admiral (ret.) William McRaven, Chancellor of the University of Texas System. The panelists discussed some of the most pressing issues facing veterans and their families as identified by a working group led by Vice Chancellor Haynie. Health and well-being; education; and employment were just a handful of the topics discussed.
Former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush delivered remarks, and U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs David Shulkin participated in a conversation moderated by POLITICO. The event will also feature a congressional panel on issues faced by transitioning veterans.