Retired Gen. Gordon-Bray “Huddles” with Campus Veterans to Obtain Feedback
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Feb. 4, 2014) – Launching an ongoing dialogue at the University of Central Missouri, Distinguished Alumnus Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Arnold Gordon-Bray conducted the first “All Hands Be There” event recently to solicit feedback from active duty military, veterans and university employees who are veterans.
Gordon-Bray, who works as a consultant for the university on matters pertaining to Military and Veteran Services, spoke to a small group of service members Jan. 27 during a gathering in the ballroom of the Elliott Student Union. He termed the conversation a “huddle,” reminding those in attendance that their feedback is important for the university to determine how UCM can best serve their educational needs. A brief survey was also given to obtain feedback, particularly with regard to services such as the Military and Veterans Success Center. Gordon-Bray said President Charles Ambrose has charged him and the staff at MVSC with looking at what “we are doing well, what we are not doing well, and what we want to do better” as an institution to serve those who served their country.
He noted that there are about 1,000 veterans on campus. This includes 878 students who are active duty military, veteran and military dependent students, as well as 117 military veteran faculty and staff members on campus. A survey was taken earlier this year to help gain a better understanding of how the university is meeting the needs of active duty military members and veterans, and the “huddle,” according to Gordon-Bray, was designed to help validate information obtained from respondents.
“To those who are here, I would like to at least get the word out that we are your teammates,” Gordon-Bray told the small gathering. He stressed that the university is committed to supporting those who have served, and emphasized that all veterans have unique needs.
“No matter who you are as a veteran there is something different and special about you,” Gordon-Bray said. He noted that experiences each of these individuals have gained through their service can have a significant impact on their personal lives that carries into their education.
“Some of you served when our nation was not very veteran-friendly...Some of you served when there was an unblemished kind of soldier…Some of you have the scars and memories of Vietnam, and some of you never saw a shot fired in anger,” Gordon-Bray remarked.
“You are very different. The effects of that are very different. It affects how you study… but all of you are joined by the fact that you raised your right hand at some point in time to serve this nation,” he said.
The seasoned military veteran told the gathering the university wants to keep lines of communication open to military service members, veterans and their families so that their needs can be addressed. He also reminded them that others they encounter in the classroom or meet elsewhere on campus can learn from their experiences.
“The greatest part of an education is not what happens in textbooks, but what happens through communication between students. The success of veterans, especially recent veterans, is also changed by those who share their stories,” Gordon-Bray said.
Although no specific dates have been set, the MVSC hopes to continue the work started by Gordon-Bray, and foster ongoing dialog with active duty military service members and veterans. Individuals who want to know more about opportunities available to those who have served this nation may contact Jeffrey Huffman, director, Military and Veteran Services, at 660-543-8989 or Delilah Nichols, coordinator, at 660-543-8977.