Remarks by two distinguished military servicemen with connections to UCLA highlight the university’s Veterans Day ceremony, one of several veterans-related events in coming weeks.
Christian Dunbar, a U.S. Navy captain who has led SEAL teams into combat multiple times and earned a John Wooden Global Leadership Fellowship, is pursuing an executive M.B.A. at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. George Thompson, who earned a UCLA bachelor’s degree in English before joining the Navy in 1953 and rising to the rank of captain overseeing several different commands, was a UCLA professor of naval science from 1978 to 1982.
Both men — joined by UCLA Chancellor Gene Block — will address UCLA’s eighth-annual Veterans Day ceremony, set for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in Wilson Plaza. The ceremony includes a joint color guard presentation and trumpet renditions of the “Star Spangled Banner” and a medley of military service songs.
Wednesday’s Veterans Day holiday follows the recent release of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs draft master plan to revitalize its West Los Angeles campus through housing and a suite of services that meet the needs of today’s veterans.
Building on a long-standing partnership with the VA, UCLA is working with the federal agency to expand the range of services and programs for veterans in such areas as mental and physical health, family support and adaptive recreation. UCLA already serves those who serve in myriad ways, including medical school faculty and residents providing care to some 3,000 individual patients at the VA each year. U.S. News and World Report places UCLA as the top public university for veterans.
“One of my top priorities is to find new opportunities to strengthen UCLA’s already extraordinary outreach to veterans and their families,” Chancellor Block said in an email inviting the campus community to the Veterans Day ceremony. “In addition to our own efforts, UCLA looks forward to building on our 70-year partnership with the Veterans Administration to heal the physical and psychological wounds of war and to help improve the lives of thousands of veterans and their families at the VA’s West L.A. campus.”
On Saturday, the UCLA football team will honor the military by wearing flag-inspired stars-and-stripes logo helmets during the game at Oregon State. On Veterans Day, UCLA Athletics will auction some of the special helmets online, with proceeds going to charitable groups working to address homelessness among veterans in Los Angeles. At the team’s Nov. 14 game in the Rose Bowl, the 19th annual military appreciation day will include on-field ceremonies, and discount and free tickets will be available to veterans and active-duty members of the military.
Among other upcoming UCLA veterans-related events are a breakfast to honor female veterans on Monday, Nov. 9, and the first annual UCLA Warrior Games on Thursday, Nov. 12, when veterans and students will gather for friendly competitions and food and music.
On Nov. 11 — the official Veterans Day holiday — UCLA is making the batting cages and Jackie Robinson Stadium available to veterans living on the VA’s West L.A. campus.
Event and RSVP information: http://www.veterans.ucla.edu/events/