May 15, 2014

Alumni Association charters first veterans group

The SIU Alumni Association has chartered its first group dedicated to military veterans who have and continue to serve their country. 

The Association’s National Board of Directors formally chartered the Saluki Veterans Alumni Group April 26 during its bi-annual meeting in Carbondale. The charter was the culmination of work began in 2013 when alumnus Ryan McKennedy, a 2013 SIU graduate, approached the Association looking for a way to connect veteran alumni and students. 

McKennedy, who enlisted into the Army National Guard in March 2007 as a human resource specialist, was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 and served a casualty liaison clerk. He is currently with the Army National Guard unit in Carbondale. 

Working with other alumni and Association staff, McKennedy got the required number of signatures on a petition to establish the charter. He will serve as group president, while Paul Copeland, a 1983 graduate and SIU Veterans Service coordinator, will be vice president.  Brenda Carter, a two-degree graduate, 1998 and master’s degree in 1999, is secretary, and former SIU employee and U.S. Marine Mark “Skip” Cosgrove, also a two-degree graduate, 1975 and master’s degree in 1984, will serve as treasurer. 

Alumni groups are made up of graduates, former students, and friends of SIU, all of whom share a special mutual interest and gather as an organization to serve the university. The Saluki Veterans Alumni Group joins other charters, such as the Black Alumni Group, the Alumni Band Group, and the Greek Alumni Group. 

“The SIU Alumni Association is excited to have the veteran’s group as a part of our organization,” Michelle Suarez, Association executive director, said. “This initiative certainly illustrates a real collaboration between the university, our alumni around the world, and our students.”