Veterans Day Hometown Hero: Modesto “Mike” Chemotti, U.S. Army veteran

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.

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Hometown Hero: Chloe Miliken, student veteran

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.

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Veterans Day Week 2017: Syracuse University Student Profiles

Nick Brincka, Student Veteran

Lorimer W. Rich, Army veteran and SU alum

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.

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Hometown Hero: Airman 1st Class Preston Blake

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.

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Syracuse University’s Ryan Gross Named 2017 Tillman Scholar

Ryan Gross grew up hearing stories about his grandfathers’ military experiences during World War II, leading tank units through the Battle of the Bulge and serving on a Navy destroyer in the Pacific. Inspired by their service, he accepted a commission in the U.S. Army as a military intelligence officer. After his deployment with an infantry battalion in Baghdad, Gross transitioned from the Army to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), where he leads intelligence analysis.

Gross, a graduate student in Syracuse University’s master of public administration program (M.P.A.) in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, has been named a 2017 Tillman Scholar in a cohort representing 61 U.S. service members, veterans and military spouses across the nation. The newly named class, funded by the Pat Tillman Foundation, will receive more than $1.1 million in scholarships to pursue higher education degrees.

“These scholars are tackling challenges across national security, healthcare, technology, civil rights and education. They believe their best years of service to our country are still ahead of them, and they are working together to strengthen communities at home and around the world,” Marie Tillman, co-founder and president of the Pat Tillman Foundation said in a statement released on June 8. “In Pat’s spirit of service, we are proud to unite and empower them as our country’s next leaders.”

Gross says he is honored to be selected as a Tillman Scholar and is eager to begin his studies in Syracuse University’s renowned M.P.A. program.

Through his experiences in Baghdad, Washington, D.C., U.S. Central Command, and three civilian deployments to Afghanistan, Gross witnessed how “one size fits all” policies developed at the national level do not always translate effectively to the tactical environment, requiring commanders on the ground to determine how to tailor policies to fit their battlespace. He plans to use his M.P.A. degree to build upon the leadership and decision-making skills he gained through his career and to hone his policy development expertise. His goal is to create flexible, effective policy that will meet military commanders’ and soldiers’ operational needs on the ground.

In 2014, Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud identified four pillars to guide the future growth of the University, one of which was ensuring the University once again became the best institution for veterans and their families. J. Michael Haynie, vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and innovation and the executive director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, works closely with Chancellor Syverud on that important effort. He says he is proud of the University’s partnership with the Tillman Foundation and is pleased Gross selected Syracuse University for his academic pursuits.

“Syracuse University is honored to have Ryan as part of our academic community and to celebrate him as our first Tillman Scholar recipient,” says Haynie. “The purpose and mission of the Tillman Foundation aligns well with Syracuse University’s commitment to be the best place for veterans. The education Ryan will receive and the skills he will develop during his time at the Maxwell School will well equip him to inspire positive and impactful changes in military operations.”

The scholarship honors Pat Tillman. In 2002, Tillman, a starting safety for the National Football League’s Arizona Cardinals, put his football career on hold to serve his country. Family and friends established the Pat Tillman Foundation following Pat’s death in April 2004 while serving with the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan. The foundation invests in military veterans and their spouses through scholarship and programmatic support, and is dedicated to building a diverse community of leaders committed to service to others.

Founded in 2008, the Tillman Scholars program supports our nation’s active-duty service members, veterans and military spouses by investing in their higher education. The scholarship program covers direct study-related expenses, including tuition and fees, books and living expenses, for scholars who are pursuing undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate degrees as a full-time student at a public or private, U.S.-based accredited institution. The selection process for the Tillman Scholars program is highly competitive.

Each year, the foundation collaborates with 15 University Partners to identify and select qualified applicants on their campuses for the Tillman Scholar screening process. Syracuse University was named a University Partner in 2016, selected for its innovative veteran services, strong culture of support for military veterans and spouses and its rigorous academic programs.

About Syracuse University
Syracuse University is a private research university of extraordinary academics, distinctive offerings and an undeniable spirit. With a gorgeous campus in the heart of New York State, a global footprint, and nearly 150 years of history, our University is made for those who want a quintessential college experience. Proudly selective, we take a chance on people who dream big. This is where you come to cheer, to grow and to become the person you want to be. The scope of our University is a testament to its strengths: a pioneering history dating to 1870; a choice of more than 200 majors and 100 minors; nearly 15,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students; more than a quarter million alumni in 160 countries; and a student population from all 50 U.S. states and 123 countries. Syracuse University’s proud commitment to veterans and their families is unrivaled in higher education. From the leading role it played in the original G.I. Bill, to launching the nationally recognized Institute for Veterans and Military Families, the University continues to honor and expand upon this legacy.

About the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University
The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs is Syracuse University’s home for innovative, interdisciplinary teaching and research in the social sciences, public policy, public administration, and international relations. It is the # 1 ranked school in the nation for graduate education in public affairs, offering highly regarded professional degrees alongside advanced scholarly degrees in the social sciences; and it is home also to undergraduate programs across the full spectrum of social sciences.

Maxwell scholars conduct wide-ranging research through nine interdisciplinary centers, each focused on a topical area within public affairs, such as social and economic policy, conflict and collaboration, public wellness, aging, energy and environment, national security, regional studies, and more. For more information, please visit: maxwell.syr.edu.

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Military Veterans to Attend Academic Boot Camp at Syracuse University

Intensive program helps prepare enlisted veterans for transition from military to four-year college.

Syracuse, New York – For some military veterans, the first day of school at a new college or university is as challenging as a deployment to a foreign country. Immersion in a new culture and reintroduction to a demanding academic environment can make the transition from military to higher education difficult. To ease the transition, the Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP) is hosting an intensive one week academic boot camp at Syracuse University beginning Sunday, June 18.

The Warrior-Scholar Project coordinates immersive academic preparation courses for enlisted military veterans of any skill level at America’s top universities. The program is designed to help military veterans develop and rediscover the skills and confidence necessary to successfully complete four-year undergraduate degrees. Because veterans are non-traditional students with unique experiences distinguishing them from their college peers, WSP also uses the boot camps to help prepare participants for the emotional and cultural adaptations required to succeed in a higher education setting.

“We are proud to host a Warrior-Scholar Project Academic boot camp at Syracuse University for the 2017 year,” said Dr. Sidney Ellington, Executive Director of WSP. “The program at Syracuse will tap into the immense potential of Post-9/11 veterans and reduce obstacles to success, addressing veterans’ misperceptions about college and building their confidence through an intense academic reorientation.”

WSP launched its first program at Yale University in 2012 with nine participants. Since then, WSP has expanded to encompass 12 top schools, including Syracuse University, and is on track to host more than 200 veterans at boot camps across the country in 2017. In addition to Syracuse University, WSP graduates have gone on to enroll at top schools including Yale University, Harvard University and Georgetown University.

“Stepping onto a college campus is intimidating for anyone, and can be even more so for active or veteran service members,” said Mike Haynie, Vice Chancellor and Executive Director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families – Syracuse University. “The important role the Warrior-Scholar Project plays in engaging these military members with universities around the U.S. is vital to their future career success. We are proud to be a part of that work, and we look forward to hosting this year’s participants this summer to share our educational experience with them.”

Each WSP boot camp is run by a team of student veterans, and taught by university professors and graduate students. An intensive syllabus composed of both classic and modern scholarly works guides participants as they learn how to frame their ideas in an academic context, think critically, and formulate scholarly arguments. Participants not only learn the subject-matter material; they learn how to learn.

“Because of their technical training and diverse, cross-cultural experiences, military veterans have much to contribute to higher education, beyond their strengths in discipline, teamwork, and resilience,” said Corri Zoli, Chair, Board of Academic Advisors – WSP and Director of Research, Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism – Syracuse University. “Yet too often veterans are an uncommon sight at four-year colleges. The presence on Syracuse University’s campus of venerable veterans’ programs such as the Defense Comptrollership Program and the Military Visual Journalism Program, means our partnership with WSP is a natural fit, and it works exceptionally well. As an instructor, I can attest to how this college-readiness program strives to make veterans part of a wider academic conversation and to become campus leaders.”

“This course was a rigorous challenge which prepared myself to succeed in my studies at Syracuse University,” said Adam LeGrand, WSP program alumni. “The focused reading and writing skills have enabled me to anticipate earning honors this past semester; I highly recommend this course to any veteran considering returning to higher education. The contacts and support I have received in my goals of attending law school from WSP staff and alumni have by far been the most important outcome for myself.”

WSP funders and private donors cover the entire cost of the program for participants, excluding travel. Student veterans attending Syracuse University boot camp will reside in campus housing and attend lectures in various classrooms.

To learn more about the program, visit www.warrior-scholar.org.

About the Warrior-Scholar Project
The Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP) runs immersive academic boot camps hosted at America’s top universities for enlisted military veterans, and is funded by the prestigious Bob Woodruff Foundation, the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The majority of enlisted personnel exiting the military have not been in a classroom setting for several years, and find it hard to transition, being unprepared for the fundamentally different social and cultural environment. WSP helps veterans rediscover and develop the skills and confidence necessary to successfully complete 4-year undergraduate programs in higher education. WSP unlocks their educational potential and transforms the way veterans view themselves as students. For more information, visit http://www.warrior-scholar.org, email info@warrior-scholar.org or call 202-796-8777.

About Syracuse University
Syracuse University is a private research university of extraordinary academics, distinctive offerings, and an undeniable spirit. With a gorgeous campus in the heart of New York State, a global footprint, and nearly 150 years of history, our university is made for those who want a quintessential college experience. Proudly selective, we take a chance on people who dream big. This is where you come to cheer, to grow, to become the person you want to be. The scope of our university is a testament to its strengths: a pioneering history dating to 1870; a choice of more than 200 majors and 100 minors; nearly 15,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students; more than a quarter million alumni in 160 countries; and a student population from all 50 U.S. states and 123 countries.

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