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Campus to honor veterans, award new scholarships
Monday, October 31, 2011


SUNY Fredonia will hold its annual memorial service for U.S. veterans on Friday, Nov. 4. The ceremony will take place at 3:30 p.m. at the Cranston Marché in the University Commons.

The event will provide a forum through which university and community members can gather to remember, honor and show their gratitude for the 23.4 million living men and women, and the generations before them, who fought to protect freedom and democracy through the many branches of the Armed Forces.

In addition, the ceremony will include the first ever presentation of the Smith-Viggiani Veterans Scholarship awards, recently established by National Fuel Gas Co. Chairman and CEO David Smith, ’74, and his wife, Lucy Viggiani, who met and were married while both were students at SUNY Fredonia. The first four recipients of this award will include:

  • Freshman: Nicholas Caccamise, a History major from Forestville, N.Y., who currently serves in the U.S. Marine Corps in the Motor Transport field;
  • Sophomore: Brittany Toapha, an Early Childhood/Childhood Education major from Monroe, N.Y., whose mother served honorably in the military;
  • Junior: Lori Dispenza, a Psychology major and Criminal Justice minor from Portland, N.Y., who served in the U.S. Army in Logistical field; and
  • Senior: Michelle Hoch, a Physics/Cooperative Engineering major from Falconer, N.Y., who served in the U.S. Navy in the Nuclear Engineering field.

In addition, Ms. Dispenza, a 1998 graduate of Brocton Central School who honorably served four consecutive enlistments totaling 12 years of active duty in the U.S. Army, will also receive the annual SUNY Fredonia Veteran’s Scholarship.

SUNY Fredonia President Dennis L. Hefner will lead the veterans’ remembrance service and the Dunkirk High School Junior ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) cadets will present and retire the colors (U.S. and state flags) during the ceremony. In addition, Claire Walton, a senior Musical Theater major from Palmyra, N.Y., will perform “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

At SUNY Fredonia, 28 student veterans are currently enrolled who together have provided 103 years of cumulative military service. In addition, the university employs 60 veterans who have given 798 years of service to the university, as well as three Faculty Student Association (FSA) employees who represent an additional 61 years of campus service. All major branches of the military are represented in some fashion within the SUNY Fredonia community.

A brief reception with light refreshments will follow the ceremony.

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