Otter Student Union

CSUMB honors veterans in two campus commemorations

Veterans Wall of Heroes, Giselle Young

Giselle Young assembles the Veterans Day Wall of Heroes | Photo by Katherine Divas-Juarez

November 7, 2022

By Amanda E. Snyder

The fact that CSUMB is situated on the former Fort Ord military base means that the campus will always have a close connection to those who served in the armed forces. This week, the CSUMB community will have not just one, but two great opportunities to honor veterans.

The first is the Wall of Heroes, a display of photos and biographical information about CSUMB students, staff, faculty and family members who have served in the U.S. military. Find the display in the main lobby of the Otter Student Union, next to the information desk, through Thursday, Nov. 10.

Among those featured in the Wall of Heroes is graduating senior Francisco Narewski, a Collaborative Health and Human Services major. A veteran of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and a recipient of the Bronze Star for Actions on tehe Battlefield, Narewski aspires to work at the Marina Veterans Transition Center to assist homeless veterans. 

“Without support, veterans can easily slip through the cracks and become lost. I have been there,” Narewski writes. “I am going to pay it back with my education and skill-building from CSUMB.” 

Also on Thursday, Nov. 10, from 9-10 a.m., the first ever CSUMB Veterans Day Celebration Ceremony will take place at the OSU main outdoor plaza, in front of the main entrance. The event will include a welcome, brief remarks by CSUMB President Vanya Quiñones, and a color guard from the Presidio of Monterey. Following the ceremony, a reception with light refreshments will take place inside the lobby, where attendees can view the Wall of Heroes and join  in on a Fort Ord trivia game hosted by Student Veterans Services.

According to Veteran Services Coordinator, Giselle Young, there are 62 student veterans and 250 veteran dependents enrolled this semester at CSUMB. Student veterans in particular can face unique challenges including being older or married with kids. 

“One of the most challenging transitions for many student veterans is learning to understand and shift from their more structured military role to the less structured, more ‘flexible’ role of student,” Young says. 

Still, CSUMB student veterans are among the university’s most successful graduates. The average GPA for undergraduate degree recipients designated as veterans for the 2021-22 school year was 3.44, and nearly two-thirds of them graduated with academic honors and/or distinction in their majors.

While the official Veterans Day, Nov. 11, is a holiday and the campus will be closed, everyone is invited to learn more about the veterans on campus through these two events earlier in the week.

“Student Veteran Services is very excited to have the collaboration of Jeff Rensel and the Otter Student Union in putting this on,” Young says. She hopes this is the first in what becomes an annual tradition.