Military Veterans Honored at Graduation Cord Ceremony

May 18, 2016

Veteran-Cord-ceremony-May2016Texas A&M University School of Law graduating military veterans were honored at a ceremony held prior to the May 2016 Hooding and Commencement Ceremony. The Military Veteran Cord Ceremony recognized the 17 active duty, national guard, reserve and veteran students of the Texas A&M Law class of 2016. Each graduate received a commemorative red, white and blue cord to be worn at graduation ceremony, signifying Texas A&M’s gratitude for their service and sacrifice.

The ceremony is part of Texas A&M’s rich tradition of military service, beginning with its founding as a military academy in 1876. The ceremony was conducted by law professors Dennis Kelly ’73 and Joe Spurlock ’60, both U.S. Army veterans. Other military veteran faculty, staff and current students also participated in the ceremony.

Spurlock said the graduates, as members of the military, have already demonstrated their commitment to the Texas A&M core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service, especially that of selfless service.

“In addition to what these graduates will do in the future as lawyers, they have already given service to our nation, our state and our community,” said Spurlock.

Veteran Cord and CoinIn a new tradition for the law school, each service member also received a unique medallion coin from the Texas A&M University Veteran Resource & Support Center (VRSC). The coin is a long-standing tradition in the military, rumored to have begun in WWI when pilots carried them as a show of respect, loyalty and camaraderie for their unit. 2L William Gribble, a U.S. Army captain and president of the Military & Veteran Law Society, initiated this tradition at the law school.

Veteran Coin May2016 Davis PauliGraduate Justin Davis (USAF), published author, ABA Representation in Mediation Competition national champion and outgoing Texas A&M Law Review technology editor, presents his service coin to Legal Analysis, Research ​& Writing Professor Carol Pauli

The law school ​service coin incorporates another time-honored military tradition. Customarily newly-commissioned officers in the armed forces present a silver dollar to the first enlisted member who salutes them. With the Texas A&M veteran coin, ​embossed "Thank you for serving those who served," the graduate is to present their coin to a faculty or staff member who has greatly contributed to the graduate’s academic success as a thank you for their mentorship.

Per the VRSC, whose motto is Serve Well Those Who Have Served, receiving the Texas A&M veteran coin signifies “being added to the list of those who give of themselves to help others…namely the student veterans of Texas A&M University.”

Texas A&M University School of Law class of 2016 military veterans:

Travis Askew, U.S. Air Force
William Brandt, U.S. Air Force
Justin Davis, U.S. Air Force
Mary Garner, U.S. Air Force
Michael Gill, U.S. Army
Erik Lisowski, U.S. Army
Mark Lister, U.S. Marine Corps
Steve Maglisceau, U.S. Army
Carrie Murdock, U.S. Marine Corps
Julian Nacol, U.S. Navy
Chase Poorman, U.S. Navy
Antonio Rodriguez, U.S. Army
Awilda Rodriguez, U.S. Army
Matthew Staton, U.S. Air Force
Jimmy “Dwight” Tom, U.S. Army
Natalie Voels, U.S. Air Force
Joseph Vrecheck, U.S. Army

See more photos from the ceremony in our Facebook album.

- ​Photos by Doug Thurman, Texas A&M University School of Law