Penn State Military Appreciation Week to honor veterans with virtual events

October 20, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State will honor those who served their country as part of the armed services during the University’s ninth annual Military Appreciation Week, which will take place virtually and will include special events and programming adapted to align with health and safety guidelines related to the pandemic.

The week-long series of events from Nov. 7-14 is dedicated to honoring veterans, service members and military families and recognizing their service and sacrifice. This year’s celebrations will include a livestream of the annual Veteran’s Day ceremony, virtual veteran student panel conversation and more.  

Additional details will be provided in Penn State News in the coming weeks about planned events, including: 

  • Centre County Military Appreciation Week Proclamation (meeting will be streamed) 
  • State College Borough Military Appreciation Week Proclamation (meeting will be streamed) 
  • Livestreamed Veterans Day ceremony  
  • Downtown Improvement District “scavenger hunt” to support veterans and local businesses 
  • Virtual veteran student panel  
  • Virtual Mindful Resilience yoga class 

“While events and activities will be adapted this year to support the health and safety of our campus and local community members during the pandemic, we look forward to showcasing our ongoing pride and support for the Penn Staters, and all, who have fought and served over the years,” said Col. Eugene McFeely, Penn State’s senior director for veterans affairs and services and chair of Penn State’s Military Appreciation Committee.  

Flags surround Veterans Plaza at Penn State
IMAGE: Patrick Mansell

The University’s annual military appreciation celebrations have been among the largest of their kind in the Big Ten year after year. While the annual tailgate party for veterans and servicemembers will not take place this year due to the pandemic, veterans and servicemembers will still be honored during the Penn State Nittany Lions football game against Maryland on Nov. 7. 

Among ongoing opportunities to support Penn State veterans and servicemembers, community members can make a donation to the Penn State Military Student Fund or Veterans Service Support Fund. 

“Penn State is committed to supporting our active-service, veteran and ROTC students so they receive the resources and benefits they deserve,” McFeely said. “Through our military appreciation events — as well as ongoing academic programs and support offerings — we strive to address the unique needs of military students and families year-round.” 

Today, more than 5,600 students have direct military ties as either service members, veterans or military dependents, across all of Penn State’s campuses, including World Campus. 

Cadets drill during May Day 1920

Army ROTC cadets on May Day at University Park, 1920.

IMAGE: Penn State

“The University has a longstanding military history spanning the University’s founding, World War II and beyond, with landmarks scattered across campus honoring Penn Staters’ commitment to school and country,” McFeely said. “Each year Military Appreciation Week is an opportunity to pause and reflect on this important history and what we can continue to do as institution of higher education to give back and to address the needs of military members and their families.” 

Penn State Military Appreciation first got its start in 2012 by donating 100 tickets to a football game. In 2013, a pair of faculty members and Vietnam-era veterans collaborated with Penn State Athletics to increase the number of football ticket donations and in-stadium events and to organize the first Military Appreciation Tailgate at Pegula Ice Arena for 1,200 military personnel. In 2014, Military Appreciation expanded to include a week-long series of events in addition to the football game and tailgate. By 2019, Military Appreciation Week grew to where 7,000 tickets were donated through the Seats for Servicemembers program and 500 campus and local volunteers were postured to serve more than 8,000 veterans and family members at the tailgate before the game

Throughout the year, the University provides multiple programs and resources to support the military community, and for these efforts, the University has consistently been recognized as a military-friendly school. 

In 2019, Penn State joined with 30 other higher education institutions in a commitment to graduate more military veterans. In addition, the University opened a new 6,300-square-foot Student Veteran Center in Ritenour Building at University Park to bring all programming and services for veterans into one place. 

Veteran students continue to use their GI Bill benefits with support from the Office of Veterans Programs, which offers peer counseling services and assists with VA benefits, the college application process and financial aid. Additionally, Penn State University Park offers a peer mentoring program to assist students in their transition from the military to higher education. 

More information about military appreciation at Penn State is available at militaryappreciation.psu.edu.  

Last Updated October 27, 2020