WWII program at Penn State DuBois wins University award
DuBois – The Penn State DuBois program "The Greatest Generation Not Forgotten" was recently recognized by Penn State University as one of two university-wide outstanding programs.
The distinction was presented to program coordinator and originator Michael White, a senior business major, during the Penn State Vice President's Outstanding Service to Student Awards ceremony held at University Park May 16. The award is given to a staff member or group for the coordination of an outstanding campus program during the year. White coordinated the event in conjunction with the members of the Penn State DuBois Veterans' Club.
“This program came from an idea I had since the passing of my grandfather,
George White, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran," White commented. "My grandfather never spoke to me about World War II or his experiences there. In his last year, I published a few of his service photos I found in his cupboard on my Penn State website, and he became tearful when he saw them. I knew that there was a calling here, and I wanted to find a way to let other veterans of that time have the chance to share their stories before passing on."
White, a Coast Guard veteran, approached the Veterans' Club with the idea to bring in a featured speaker, someone who could talk about their experiences with the military. The club collectively decided to feature the WWII generation, White said, because they are dying at a rate of 1,000 per day, and there was no better time than the present to bring these men of the "Greatest Generation" to the DuBois campus.
During club planning sessions, student member Nathaniel Vida, a U.S. Air Force veteran, suggested the name "Greatest Generation Not Forgotten" which would coincide with the highly publicized Tom Brokaw book on the veterans of WWII.
Through the local Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion, White identified four men willing to come and talk on campus, during a lunchtime event that was open to the public. Presenters included: Bill "Lefty" Tangren, Army National Guard; Dave Duncan, Army National Guard; Bill Way, U.S. Navy; and James Fuller, U.S. Marines.
"This exceeded our expectations and we moved to develop a program to honor these veterans," White said. "It is our club's purpose to be of service to others, and this program was to feature these veterans, meet their needs, and assist them in any way we could.
"The program was a huge success. We had standing room only attendance and one veteran's son even videotaped the event for their family archives. The event ended with a standing ovation for the men who gave of themselves 60 years ago in the war said to end all wars, and who gave again here on the Penn State DuBois campus," White said.
While most program awards have historically gone to individuals for a successful program, this program was a group effort by the Veterans club students and their adviser, John Piccolo, a U.S. Army veteran.
Director of Student and Enrollment Services Sean Kelly said, "I believe that the program shows an overall true team aspect to planning and implementing a successful campus event. Michael’s leadership of the Veteran's Organization has been outstanding."
This is the sixth year in a row that a DuBois program has been selected to receive the Vice President's Award for Outstanding Program, Kelly said. The others have been the Adult Learner Celebration Week in 2005; Mad Flash Day alcohol and drug awareness education in 2004; Career Services' Business Tea in 2003; the campus Health and Wellness Series in 2002; and the Cultural Exchange Luncheon Series in 2001.
The Veterans Club plans to expand the program this fall.
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