On November 9, Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ) commemorated the courage, persistence, and dedication of its military students—past and present—by unveiling a brand-new Military Wall of Fame on the Cumberland campus.
Students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community members were on hand to support this special event. RCSJ–Gloucester held a similar celebration for its own wall of fame on March 31.
The installation—located on the first floor of the Catherine J. Arpino Education and Humanities Center, which is down the hall from the Office of Military Services—features photos of military students along with plaques commemorating the College’s past Student Veteran of the Year recipients, Student Veteran Association presidents, and its military-affiliated employees.
“During the College’s 55+ year history, veterans have distinguished themselves as esteemed members of our student body and as leaders and scholars on our campus,” said Jim Piccone, VP/CAO, RCSJ–Cumberland. “The Military Wall of Fame reminds us every day that freedom isn’t free and those who are willing to serve are [the] true heroes!”
One of the inspirations that brought this project to life are the commendation walls situated in military bases that proudly acknowledge the units and their service.
“Many military bases … have some place of honor … where we brag about [a] units’ citations or accomplishments,” said John Ryder, director, student affairs & military services, RCSJ. “I thought we needed something here to recognize our military students, our military staff, and the recognitions the [College] receives.”
RCSJ has received several recognitions for the high level of service it provides to its military students including the Military Friendly® School designation and New Jersey’s Governor “We Value our Veterans” Academia Award. Earlier this month, the College was also chosen as one of Military Times best institutions for veterans to pursue their higher educational aspirations.
“It shows our campus community and particularly the military community at RCSJ that the school and its administration are military supporters and are proud of their accomplishments,” Ryder, a combat veteran, who has a passion for assisting military service members and their families, said.
Representatives of the Cumberland County Campus Education Foundation (CCCEF) were also at the event and played a key role in the ceremony.
“The Foundation donated $5,000 to support RCSJ-Cumberland military veterans in need of furthering their education,” said Dr. Maria LeBlanc, executive director, CCCEF. “Through our partnership with Military Services, the Foundation is dedicated to giving back to those who have already given so much for our country, and our county.”
Several RCSJ administrators who attended the event spoke about the significance of the celebration.
“The Military Wall of Fame at RCSJ–Cumberland campus is a huge accomplishment,” said Danielle Crawford, an Air Force Veteran and currently a compliance manager for student affairs and military services. “It shows that RCSJ supports our military members and continues to support our military students, including our colleagues [who] have served.”
“Having a military wall at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland campus is a long time coming,” said Frank Piccioni, who served six-years in the United States Navy and is currently the director of dual enrollment at RCSJ. “It makes me proud as an employee and a veteran that the College put a wall like this together, so people remember and pay tribute. To me, this is a big day for the Cumberland campus.”
For more information about support services and educational opportunities available to Rowan College of South Jersey’s military students, please visit RCSJ.edu/Veterans.