Friday, August 05, 2016

[030] MTSU recognizes student veterans with Stole Ceremony

MURFREESBORO — Joe Stout figures he has spent about one-half of his life trying to earn a bachelor’s degree.

On Saturday, Aug. 6, he will earn his MTSU degree in liberal studies with a concentration in management training. Wednesday (Aug. 3), the U.S. Army veteran and nine others received recognition from the university in the form of a stole they can wear with their cap and gown at commencement in Murphy Center.

MTSU’s leadership honored 10 of 28 graduating student veterans during the fifth Stole Ceremony, recognizing their “commitment, recognition and appreciation,” said Keith M. Huber, senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives.

To view video from the event, visit

“In order to graduate and it be done and then to be with fellow veterans that we’ve all kind of shared the same fox hole or whatever you might want to call it, it just means a lot to be able to be there with fellow brothers and sisters in arms,” Stout, 50, a resident of Brush Creek, Tennessee, in Smith County.

Stout thanked his professors “for teaching an old dog some new tricks,” his academic advisers for “making sure he got things done right,” the university in general and the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center inside Keathley University Center.    

University President Sidney A. McPhee, interim Provost Mark Byrnes and Huber, who had a nearly 40-year career in the U.S. Army, shared remarks.

Among those attending were Many Bears Grinder, Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs commissioner; Edna MacDonald, director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Nashville regional benefit office; Suzanne Jené, Tennessee Valley Healthcare System interim health system director; and Mike Krause, new Tennessee Higher Education Commission director.

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