Q&A - November 11, 2015

OSUIT is a unique college that was founded in 1946 as a place where returning World War II veterans could receive robust vocational training that would help them reenter the civilian workforce successfully.

Oklahoma has always cared about its veterans, and this is one shining example of how public resources were applied to provide the very best for our returning heroes. To this day, OSUIT has remained true to that original mission and continues to hold its doors open wide to veterans and their families.

In respect to the observance of Veterans Day, let me address the following questions:

Q: Is it true that OSU in Okmulgee started out as a military hospital?

Yes, prior to becoming a vocational training branch of OSU, this Okmulgee campus was the site of the Glennan Army Hospital that operated between 1943 and 1946. After the war, it was purchased by Oklahoma State A&M College, under the direction of President Henry G. Bennett. All of the existing military facilities were repurposed and rededicated to serve the vocational training needs of Oklahoma veterans. The campus has since grown into one of the top technical training institutes in the country.

Q: What’s this I hear about Veterans Day?

Like many of you, my favorite season of the year is probably the fall. There are many things to appreciate about this wonderful season. Some like the cooler temperatures. Others enjoy the beautiful colors of nature. Some look forward to certain holiday traditions and sports fans love to cheer for their favorite football teams. But one of my favorite things about this time of year is the fact that for one day in November, the nation pauses in gratitude to our veterans. On the eleventh day of the eleventh month, many Americans stop focusing on themselves and give honor to those who have proudly worn the uniform and selflessly served the land they love. For one day, we become a more thoughtful and respectful nation—and this is a healthy thing in my opinion.

Last year, while preparing for the dedication and unveiling of the Veterans Memorial Display on our campus, I ran across a poem that I would like to share with you now. It is untitled and the author is unknown, but it speaks volumes about how many of us feel toward veterans.

It is the VETERAN, not the preacher,
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the VETERAN, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the VETERAN, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer,
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the VETERAN, not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.

We enjoy so many rights and freedoms in this great nation, but we must never forget from whence they came. Nor should we take for granted the bravery and sacrifice of those who gave them to us. Please don’t wait for one specific day out of the year to tell a veteran “thank you.” And keep forwarding your questions to osuit-president@okstate.edu.