The Syracuse University Student Veterans Organization (SVO) recently hosted its fourth annual SVO Ball and Awards Banquet celebrating the successes of student veterans. Proceeds from the event were donated to Clear Path for Veterans, a local veterans’ resource and community center.

The SVO welcomed Jeff Cleland as the keynote speaker. Cleland, who is the director of organizational excellence with the Maryland State Highway Administration, holds a B.A. in policy studies from the Maxwell School and is completing the executive M.P.A. at Maxwell in December 2018. Cleland encouraged student veterans to leverage everything Syracuse University has to offer and become brand ambassadors for veterans and excellence.


six photos of Lewis, LeGrand, Cordial, Carson, Quartaro and Whaley

SVO leadership also recognized several student veterans for their excellence and achievements, both academic and serving the larger community. SVO Treasurer Daniel Lewis, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and a senior studying information management and technology in the School of Information Studies, received the Sergeant Danny Facto Award for Best VA Work Study, given by the Veterans’ Resource Center in memory of the very first VA Work Study participant, U.S. Army Sergeant Danny Facto, who was killed in a motorcycle accident following his appointment. Adam LeGrand, U.S. Air Force veteran and communication and rhetorical studies major in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, was awarded the Best for Vets award for his work as one of the first Disability Services Liaisons in the country, assisting veterans every day, and for his support of the SVO.  Daniel Cordial, an Army veteran and the SVO community relations coordinator, was awarded the Community Support Award for his efforts this year, which included a successful care package campaign.  Tristan Carson, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and English Education Major in the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education, was given the People’s Choice Award for his positive attitude and participation. Marine Corps veteran Katherine Quartaro, the SVO secretary, PAVE team leader and a forensic science and psychology major in the College of Arts and Sciences, was awarded Student Veteran of the Year by the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs. Student veterans who achieved a GPA of 3.5 or higher during the Fall 2017 semester, and those graduating in May 2018 were recognized as well.

“I am proud to have had the chance to lead this organization this year. The annual ball and awards banquet is vital to our community. It’s a chance for us to celebrate our successes throughout the year as well as relax and have a good time with our fellow comrades and supporters,” says Kierston Whaley, SVO president. I’m beyond proud this year’s administration was able to pull off such a successful event.  We raised over $1,600 for Clear Path for Veterans and thanks to donations from local businesses, we were able to raise just over $300 for the SVO. I’m excited to see what next year brings for Adam and his team, and will be back to support future generations of SU Student Veterans!  Go Orange!”

“It is important and inspiring to support our student veterans in their efforts to pursue their educational dreams,” says Ron Novack, Office of Veterans and Military Affairs executive director. “The success of our student veterans is a win for all—our student veterans, our university and our nation. We are proud of the enduring commitment of our university to make Syracuse University the best place for veterans.”