Military honor stole ceremony kicks off grad week at ASU
An event to honor military veterans that started with just 10 participants in the university club in 2011 has grown to the point that it will be held for the first time in Grady Gammage auditorium here Saturday at 10 a.m.
Over 215 of the more than 650 student veterans graduating this semester are expected to attend the Arizona State University Veterans Honor Stole Ceremony, which will feature keynote remarks from Tempe Vice Mayor and Army veteran Robin Arredondo-Savage.
“This particular ceremony is unique and stands apart from others because of the specific military theme, allowing us to include elements that are specific to this group,” said Martha Byrd, executive director of operations for the ASU Alumni Association. “Each graduating student receives a stole during the ceremony from one of the alumni who served in the same branch of service.”
There are five different honor stoles with the symbol and colors associated with each of the military branches — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. The stoles can be worn over academic regalia during graduation ceremonies.
One of the graduating students attending the stole ceremony is Army veteran Timothy Rogers, who is double majoring in social work and public service and public policy from the College of Public Service and Community Solutions on the Downtown Phoenix campus.
“I am crazy happy to finish my undergrad,” said Rogers, a Gilbert native. “It has been an insane ride. So, I am very happy to graduate and move on to grad school, where my school schedule will slow down a bit.”
Rogers started his academic journey in the Maricopa Community Colleges system and for a time was attending both ASU and Rio Salado College.
“I finished 120 credits in 22 months and was able to maintain a 4.0 in everything,” he said.
A former UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter mechanic and crew chief, Rogers served in the Army for eight years mostly on active duty. He was based in various places throughout the U.S. and Europe, serving in several major military operations, including Operation Joint Guard, which was a mission to support the Dayton Peace Accords calling for the stabilization of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The honor stole ceremony represents ASU’s commitment to veterans and national defense, one that has contributed to the growth of a diverse student veteran population of nearly 5,500 women and men who’ve served in all service branches and supported a wide range of military missions on behalf of the nation.
“I think it is an awesome tradition that ASU and the Pat Tillman Veterans Center honor veterans with this ceremony and I am looking forward to it,” Rogers said. “I think I am just as excited if not more for it as the actual graduation.”
ASU’s veteran community also consists of over 1,000 current and former military family members enrolled in classes throughout all university campuses and ASU Online.
The Veterans Honor Stole Ceremony is a signature event of the ASU Alumni Association in partnership with the Pat Tillman Veterans Center and in coordination with ASU’s University Ceremonies Office.