SRU's Military Appreciation Week sets stage for annual Veterans Day ceremony


Veterans Day picture

Slippery Rock University is celebrating Military Appreciation Week Nov. 6-11. The week concludes with the annual Veterans Day ceremony, Nov. 10 at the Alumni House.

Nov. 2, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University will celebrate Military Appreciation Week Nov. 6-11 with a series of events culminating with the annual Veterans Day celebration at 11 a.m., Nov. 10 at the Alumni House.

Capt. Andrew Bolla, a 2011 SRU graduate who currently serves as the communication strategy and operations officer with the U.S. Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment in Quantico, Virginia, is the invited keynote. Bolla will talk about the importance of the day, recognizing veterans and staying connected with our military veterans and active-duty service members.

"We live in an ever-shrinking world in a sense that small actions can have global effects," said Bolla, who has served on active duty the last six years, including two overseas deployments. "As college students or Americans who are preparing to go out into the world and be part of the economy and potentially traveling overseas, it's important to know what your military is doing on your behalf."

A native of Fairview, Bolla graduated magna cum laude from SRU with a bachelor's degree in history and philosophy.



"It's an honor to be asked to speak at such a great event," said Bolla, who has not returned to SRU in at least two years. "SRU did amazing things for me in preparation for my military career and a lot of times I didn't know I was doing things that would prepare me so well for my military service. It's great to have an opportunity to give something back."

As part of the ceremony, members of the SRU Army ROTC will raise the colors, lay a wreath, present a 21-gun salute and play taps. Capt. Joseph Barrow, assistant professor of military science, will recognize enlisted cadets. Additionally, the SRU Chamber Singers will perform the national anthem, Alma Mater and "God Bless America."

"Knowing that there are military-connected students on this campus and knowing that their voices are heard is important," said Spc. Shelby Kemery, a senior history major from Saint Petersburg who is president of SRU's Student Veterans of America and an infantry solider in the Army National Guard. "A lot veterans stick to the shadows because they don't want to be noticed or recognized. But if you signed a contract you need to be recognized because you are giving up your life for three or four or maybe even 20 years in service to the country, which benefits everyone."

The SVA has been an integral part of a fundraising project that started earlier this year with a goal to match a service dog with an SRU student-veteran each year. The first recipient of a service dog is Mike Ditto, a senior philanthropy and nonprofit management major from

Gibsonia, who served 12 years in the U.S. Marines and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

Ditto's story was featured in a recent issue of Rock Magazine (click here) and he and his dog, Justice, will be introduced at the ceremony. Donations to fund additional service dogs can be made via the SRU Foundation website at:

"A goal is to help every veteran we can and to see this happen really makes us incredibly elated that people would be willing to donate and keep this project going," Kemery said.

Representatives from the American Warrior Initiative and Dogs for Warriors will also be on campus Nov. 10 to distribute information about their organizations.

Military Appreciation Week events include:
-Suicide awareness and prevention panel at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 6 in the McKay Auditorium.
-"Candid and Controversial" a discussion about transgender in the military, sponsored by the Women's Center at 12:30 p.m., Nov. 7 in Spotts World Culture Building, Room 113.
-A "Protect the 22" push-up contest, sponsored by SVA and SRU Army ROTC at 12:30 p.m., Nov. 7 and Nov. 9 in the Quad.
-SRU Veterans Thank You Movement, all day Nov. 7 in Smith Student Center lobby.
-Guest speaker Capt. Eric McElvenny, amputee endurance athlete and U.S. Marine veteran, presented by the Office of Inclusive Excellence, at 7 p.m., Nov. 8 in the Smith Student Center Ballroom.
-Wear RED for "Remembering Everyone Deployed," sponsored by the Green & White Society, all day Nov. 10.
-Veterans Breakfast sponsored by the Office of Inclusive Excellence at 8:30 a.m., Nov. 10 at the Smith Student Center Ballroom. RSVP to or 724.738.2700. Veterans from the Class of 1954 are asked to attend in order to discuss the plans to improve the Medal of Honor Room in North Hall.
-Showings of the movie "Dunkirk," sponsored by the Student Government Association at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., Nov 10, and at 8 p.m., Nov. 11 in the Smith Student Center Theater.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 |