More than 350 UCLA community members — veterans, ROTC cadets, faculty, staff, alumni and friends — gathered in Wilson Plaza today for UCLA’s eighth annual Veterans Day ceremony to honor current military service members and veterans.
Thanking them for their service, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block talked about UCLA's innovative programs that care for the physical and mental health needs of veterans and military service members and about the university's 70-year partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles campus. There are new opportunities for further collaboration, he pointed out, as leaders develop a master plan to transform that campus into a 21st century space for veterans.
Among several other speakers at the ceremony was retired U.S. Navy Captain Captain George Thompson, a UCLA alumnus and retired ROTC instructor, who spoke of the determination, fortitude, knowledge and dedication to service that characterize veterans. U.S. Navy Captain Christian Dunbar, an M.B.A. student at UCLA Anderson School of Management who has been selected a John Wooden Global Leadership Fellow and Pat Tillman Scholar this year, said he is inspired daily by the moral courage of veterans and military personnel who live a life of service to others. He called on others to be inspired as well.
Dunbar encouraged student veterans to use the leadership skills and courage they gained from military service to work for positive change through social action.
Later, attendees visited a resource fair, staffed by representatives from Congressman Ted Lieu's office, student veteran organizations, The Mission Continues, TELACU, and other nonprofit and veterans-related organizations. Today’s program was organized by Naval ROTC at UCLA.