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MU Student, Staff Member Receive Honorary Public Service Award from U.S. Department of Defense

Fleisher, Sewall honored for their work helping veteran students and faculty adjust to campus life

Jan. 23, 2012

Story Contact(s):
Christian Basi, BasiC@missouri.edu, 573-882-4430

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Carol Fleisher and Daniel Sewell from the University of Missouri Veterans Center were honored today by the Department of Defense. The two received the Outstanding Public Service Award (OPS) for their dedicated work with the MU Veterans Center and with individual veterans on campus and in the community.

The OPS is the second highest honorary public service award presented by the U.S. Department of Defense. It is awarded to civilians who have performed exceptionally meritorious service of significance to the Department of Defense Joint Staff and who have rendered service or assistance at considerable personal sacrifice, motivated by patriotism, good citizenship and a sense of public responsibility.

“Carol and Daniel’s efforts in developing the nation’s premier on-campus Veteran’s Center have set an unequivocal standard for all campuses to emulate,” said A.E. Rondeau, vice admiral of the U.S. Navy. “As educators, we know the challenges facing wartime veterans as they adjust to life in and out of the classroom, and these unique challenges offer no easy solutions. That is why the work being done by Carol and Dan is so remarkable.”

The MU Veterans Center, which reports to the Division of Enrollment Management, is a resource for veterans who are leaving from or returning to an academic setting from active duty in the Armed Forces. Staff members at the center help certify students for educational benefits, assist with deployment planning and subsequent return to work or school, help with access to health and counseling services and assist with employment searches. The center also aims to create a campus-wide understanding of veterans’ issues and better address their needs as students and as veterans.

The Veterans Center is supported by a campus-community advisory group with representation from veterans and others who have been a part of a military family. The center works closely with the Mizzou Student Veterans Association.

In August 2007, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton established the “Task Force for a Veteran-Friendly Campus” to examine issues that affect veterans and other military personnel departing and returning to campus as students, faculty or staff. Based on the task force’s recommendation, MU officials opened the Veterans Center in November 2008. At the time, it was one of the first centers of its kind in the nation to provide support, share information and be an advocate for members of the armed forces.

“We’re very proud of Carol and Daniel and all the work that that they have done,” Deaton said. “They are very deserving of this national recognition. The transition that many of our students, faculty and staff face as members of the military can be a stressful and anxious time. The work of Carol and Daniel and their staff has made our campus more welcoming to veterans, helping them adjust to the academic environment as effortlessly as possible.”

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