A panel of Harvard affiliates called on student service members to facilitate conversations with their peers about the role of the military at a welcome ceremony for veterans currently attending the University Monday night.
“Let there be no doubt that when you walk into Harvard—and that includes family members as well—you are the military at Harvard,” said Director of the National Security Program at Harvard Kennedy School Tad J. Oelstrom. “You are the military so what you bring to the Harvard community in fact is an education for and a representation of the United States military.”
The event attracted a large crowd of veterans to the Harvard Faculty Club—a venue choice that is testament to the importance Harvard has given to the military.
The presence of the armed services has increased at Harvard in recent years. The University officially welcomed back the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps in September of last year after a nearly 40 year absence. The following semester, Harvard recognized Army SROTC as well.
There are 15 undergraduates currently enrolled in Naval ROTC, 10 in Army SROTC, and four in Air Force ROTC. Many veterans and current service members also attend Harvard’s graduate schools.
The military’s newfound prominence on campus is often attributed to University President Drew G. Faust’s desire to improve the relations between Harvard and the armed services. Faust, who grew up in a military family, often lauds the military as a valuable public service.
“You and all your colleagues who have been deployed and could not join us today deserve our recognition and gratitude for your devotion to the noble work of supporting and defending the constitution,” Faust said. “We are very proud to call...each of you members of the Harvard community.”
Travis J. Belanger ’14, a Marine veteran, said that the event itself was indicative of the military’s prominence at Harvard.