Oxford Graduate School, Dayton, will honor 22 Tennessee National Guard men and women who were killed in the Iraq War, on Friday, at 1:15 p.m.
The first of 22 cherry trees was planted following the school’s graduation on Sept. 22. “The Last Tree” will be planted in a ceremony for the 22 fallen heroes, their sacrifice duly-recognized and remembered by the appropriate military and veteran leaders.
The ceremony will be held in front of the school administration building, 500 Oxford Drive. The public is invited to the ceremony and the reception that will follow.
Two years ago Oxford Graduate School (OGS) became the fifth graduate school on the Consortium List of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges. Committed to helping veterans and military personnel obtain an advanced degree, OGS has sent several staff to seminars held by the Department of Defense and the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges.
One year ago Mark Smith, a veteran of the Iraq War enrolled at OGS. Mr. Smith brought a passion for veterans and was appointed Coordinator for Veteran Affairs, helping OGS facilitate the education of veterans and military personnel, and assisting in planning the renovation of a suite in the Oxford Lodge for the physically impaired.
The ceremony follows the initial process held on Sept. 22, the planting of the initial tree along the auxiliary road from the Gathering Place to the Lodge, now known as “The Tennessee National Guard Memorial Lane.” This lane will be covered with white rock over an asphalt base. OGS has started a fund drive to pay for the lane, renovation of the Lodge suite and purchase of a golf cart for the disabled students.
OGS programs lead to advanced degrees, a masters and a doctorate, ideal for the service member who will retire from active military service. With only two weeks a year spent on campus, the student can prepare for civilian life before discharge. With advanced technology, the student continues her/his studies at home while fully employed, the close, weekly contact between student and faculty member facilitating completion of homework assignments. Veterans follow the same accommodating schedule, allowing them to be gainfully employed while obtaining an advanced degree. An expert team has compiled a list of military courses and experiences that qualify the student for advanced credit, further assisting the veteran or military student. To learn more about OGS visit www.ogs.edu or call 423 775-6596.