The Office of Alumni and Events Management at Youngstown State University will welcome military alumni back to campus next weekend during the third annual Veterans and Reserves Officer Training Corps Reunion.
The event will begin on Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the atrium of Williamson Hall with the annual reunion dinner. The following day at 5:30 p.m., there will be a reunion picnic at the newly opened YSU Veterans Resource Center. Afterward, all alumni are invited to the YSU vs. Western Illinois University football game at 7 p.m.
The Veterans and ROTC Reunion at YSU is an annual gathering of local veterans, most of who are YSU alumni, including graduates of the ROTC program at YSU.
During the dinner, the YSU Office of Veterans Affairs will introduce keynote speaker Colonel Patricia Brunner, and present the Cincinnatus Award to alumnus Bernie Kosar Sr.
Brunner received direct commission in the United States Air Force Nurse Corps as a first lieutenant in 1991.
The Cincinnatus Award, awarded to Jim Olive last year, is named after the ancient Roman soldier Cincinnatus, who is considered the symbol for honor and noble service. Annually, the YSU Office of Veterans Affairs awards the honor to an individual who they believe best represents the spirit of the military.
Kosar, who is receiving the award this year, is a 1959 YSU and ROTC graduate who served in the US Army Reserves for six years and completed his service as Captain.
Rick Williams, YSU Office of Veterans Affairs Coordinator, played a central role in planning the event, as in years past. However, this year he will get to show off the new YSU Veterans Resource Center to reunion attendees.
“The YSU Veterans Resource Center is a wonderful and state-of-the-art center for YSU Student Veterans,” Williams said. “The center includes a study hall area, classroom, board meeting room, veterans lounge and computer lab. The office of Veterans Affairs has been relocated to the new center and various related veterans programming is being planned for the future.”
The new Veterans Resource Center will be available for touring during the picnic on Saturday.
“The reunion is open to all veteran and ROTC alums of YSU,” Williams added.
Heather Belgin, YSU Office of Alumni and Events Management Events Coordinator, said the event strives to reunite old friends, but also to share the changes that have come to the university and Veteran’s Affairs.
“This is the third year for the event,” Belgin said. “[The Veterans and alumni] enjoy the opportunity to learn about the latest happenings with the ROTC and Veterans Affairs on campus, while reconnecting with fellow veterans and ROTC alumni.”
Pat Billett, alumnus and alumni society board member, is proud that YSU offers the event.
“YSU is a national leader in being veteran-friendly and is very supportive of its alumni,” he said.
He also encourages students to get involved with veteran and alumni affairs
“I find this weekend, in particular, very exciting,” Billett said. “I believe it’s important for students to begin networking and interacting with alumi early on in their academic career. You never know who you might meet and what doors might open