Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It is a pleasure and honor for me to host you at the President’s Residence for this reception as we honor your service in our armed forces and your contributions to the University of Iowa.

Our veterans play an increasingly important role—and are enjoying an increasing presence—in our university. With one of the largest veteran student enrollments in the country, the UI is proud to offer an excellent and accessible education for those who have served our country. We provide excellent services and support for our returning men and women in uniform. And our efforts have been recognized nationally. This year, we could not have been more pleased to be recognized in the G.I. Jobs list of Military Friendly Schools for the third year in a row. And we are very pleased to be selected as a top school in the 2013 Guide to Top Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities from the journal Military Advanced Education.

The UI was also proud to sign a statement of support this past year with the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve. This agreement reflects our commitment to honoring veterans’ rights, to providing our staff with the tools necessary to support our employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve, and to extending our ongoing support and appreciation to all of our country’s service members and their families. When we have a staff that understands and knows how to attend to veterans’ needs, our students are able to excel even more.

The UI fulfills its mission best when we have a university community comprising students, faculty, and staff from diverse backgrounds and experiences. The veteran experience is crucial to a fully representative university, in its teaching, research, and service pursuits and obligations. I often say that I want the University of Iowa to be an institution that inspires as well as educates. Our UI veteran community provides us with not only an important perspective, but also unique inspiration.

In honor of our veterans, President John F. Kennedy once said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” This is an important thought for all of us to remember regarding our gratitude to you for your service to our country. Saying “thank you” and “we honor you” on Veterans Day is very important. But beyond saying words of appreciation to you, all of us need to live lives that are worthy of your sacrifice and dedication. You yourselves have lived your ideals and your commitment to our country and our society through your service. That is a high call for all of us to answer—to live, work, and sacrifice for the benefit of others, no matter what our pursuits in life may be.

Thank you all for joining us today, and thank you once again for your service to our country and for your significant contributions to the excellence of the University of Iowa. We have so much pride in you.