MU receives recognition for support of student veterans

MU has had a 180-year history with the U.S. military.
Chancellor Cartwright with MU Veterans Center members celebrating that MU is now a Purple Heart University. Courtesy of Twitter via @Mizzou

MU was recognized as a Purple Heart University in recognition of its support of military members, including veterans and their families, during a ceremony at Stotler Lounge on Monday.

The Purple Heart medal was originally called the Badge of Military Merit and was created by George Washington on Aug. 7, 1782. After the Revolutionary War, the Badge of Military Merit was not awarded until Gen. Douglas MacArthur authorized an updated version. It was reinstated on Feb. 22, 1932, on Washington’s 200th birthday.

“The Purple Heart is a medal that is bestowed upon members of the United States military who have been wounded or killed in action by an incident of war in the hands of an opposing armed force,” Bryce Lockwood, representative from the Military Order of the Purple Heart, said. “It’s a medal no one seeks to obtain, but it truly represents the high price we pay for our freedom.”

Memorial Student Union was originally constructed to honor former students who died in World War I, but its purpose has changed over time, Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said during his speech.

“It has since become a tribute to all members of our Mizzou family who have given the greatest sacrifice in service of our country,” Cartwright said. “Every time I read the names of the brave Tigers we lost in battle, I am reminded of their loyalty to our core values: Respect, Responsibility, Discovery and Excellence. We salute all of those Mizzou family members today and we accept the Purple Heart University designation in honor of their sacrifices.”

MU has had ties with the U.S. military since 1862.

“[MU started] as a school where every male went through the ROTC program, to one of the oldest student veteran organizations established in 1944,” Kyle Smith, president of the Mizzou Student Veterans Association, said. “Whether it is Memorial Union or Memorial Stadium, Mizzou has shown its appreciation toward service members. By accepting this award, Mizzou solidifies its commitment to the preservation of the Mizzou military student veterans culture.”

MSVA helps student veterans transition from their military lives to academic lives, learn about the academic resources available to them and connects them to service opportunities and potential employment for after their academic careers.

Cartwright said he is grateful for the recognition MU is receiving for its support of veterans in the MU community.

“We are truly honored to be designated a Purple Heart University,” Cartwright said. “We are proud of the immense contributions our community has made to this country throughout our 180-year history. I want to thank the Military Order of the Purple Heart representatives who recognize the great work happening here to support the military service members and veterans who are part of the Mizzou family.”

Edited by Emily Wolf | ewolf@themaneater.com

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