Mike Frasciello, dean of University College; Kierston Whaley ’17 G’18, outgoing SVO president; and Vice Chancellor Mike Haynie with Whaley’s dog Bella at the Veteran Commencement

Last week, Syracuse University and the Office of Veterans and Military Affairs honored 198 graduating student veterans at its 2018 Student Veteran Commencement at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications on Friday, May 11. The graduates represented 46 different majors from all of the University’s schools and colleges with the master’s of business administration and master’s of public administration programs boasting the largest enrollments.

Vice Chancellor Mike Haynie emphasized how this day is his favorite at Syracuse University because the “life cycle of national service takes center stage” as student veterans graduated in the morning and later Chancellor Syverud and University leadership commissioned the nation’s newest second lieutenants. The commencement ceremony’s keynote speaker, U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Dwayne Murray, an alumnus of the class of 1997, served in several tactical, operational and strategic assignments throughout his military career, with duty assignments in Germany, the Republic of South Korea, Texas and Washington State. Murray has also served on multiple assignments in conjunction with the National Security Agency.Keith Doss, assistant director at the Veterans Resource Center, was the master of ceremonies and provided words of encouragement to the graduating student veterans. “You reached a career milestone through dedication, tenacity, discipline and hard work,” he said. “You make SU a better place. … Help us support the veterans who are following in your footsteps.”

“Syracuse University takes care of its veterans better than any other university in the nation,” Murray stated. Listen to his comments about how he agrees Syracuse University is “the best place for veterans.”

“You decided not to quit. You are bold and tenacious. Keep it up!” he added.

U.S. Army veteran Kierston Whaley was an accounting major graduating from the Whitman School of Management, and the outgoing Student Veterans Organization (SVO) President delivering the student address. “I attest my success to this organization and this school,” Whaley said, talking about her new accounting job at KPMG. “I couldn’t have done this without all SU does for veterans.”

Whaley said the University helped her fit in somewhere again, and her experience as SVO president was one of the most rewarding positions she’s ever had the privilege of holding. “It’s (the SVO) the camaraderie we were missing and the support we needed.”