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Like many people, I can venture into the branches of my family tree or the pages of my family history to find relatives and ancestors who served in the military. However, some of you need only glance across the dinner table, point to a family portrait or even look in the mirror.

For the few who have served, so many more have benefited. I want to take a moment today to pause and share my gratitude to military veterans and their families as we observe Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

Every day we step on this campus, we enjoy, practice and benefit from fundamental principles and values that veterans have defended and strengthened through service. The delivery of an affordable, accessible public education that transforms lives and livelihoods. The sense of stewardship for classrooms, labs, residence halls and other spaces that welcome diverse people and examine different ideas. The everyday pursuit of discovery, knowledge and truth.

I want to thank the staff of the Advance-Titan newspaper for allowing me some space this week to reflect on recent recognition of UW Oshkosh student-veteran and alumni-veteran leadership. I also noted a new achievement for UW Oshkosh. I joined several Chancellors at the Board of Regents meeting Thursday in Madison to accept our institution’s UW Veterans Education and Transition to Success (VETS) Certification. This designation recognizes our institution for “outstanding and continuous commitment to assisting student veterans in navigating the challenging transition from military service to college life through specialized services, training, comprehensive supports and welcoming resource centers.”

We have so many people and accomplishments to be proud of at UW Oshkosh. We are surrounded by Titans who have served and sacrificed. Join me in sharing your thanks and appreciation this Veterans Day.