TUCSON, Ariz. -- The University of Arizona is now officially recognized as a Purple Heart University for its support of military members, including veterans and their families.
UArizona President Robert Robbins signed the proclamation Wednesday. "We have more than 1,800 student veterans at the University of Arizona. Obviously, we are deeply committed to every student we have, but a little extra special are our military students – either active or veterans," Robbins said. "One thing that I think everybody is united behind are the people who served and made freedom a reality. We really are one of the top military-serving universities, and I’m proud of that fact."
The Veterans Education and Transition Services and student representatitves with the Associated Students of the University of Arizona led the initiative that led to the designation. According to a news released, ASUA leaders compiled evidence that the University of Arizona serves veterans and supports the Purple Heart recipient community, then worked with the Executive Office of the President and the Military Order of the Purple Heart to make the designation a reality.
"We passed a resolution to recognize our vast veteran population on campus. In doing so, the ASUA secured funding for two student awards: a small book scholarship and a fully compensated Purple Heart parking spot," said ASUA Student Body Senator Rocque Perez.
"Nationally, the process of asking universities and colleges to be Purple Heart Universities started about four years ago. There are about 60-80 now. As far as we know, what the U of A is going to do as a Purple Heart University is ahead of all the ones we know of, and we so much appreciate that," said Michael Dyer, commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 442 in Tucson. "We are totally service-oriented, and doing things like this is a service to all veterans. We call it a Purple Heart University, but that brings in every veteran that served."
The Purple Heart Medal was created by George Washington in 1782 and is the oldest military award given to U.S. military members. It is given to those wounded in combat or to their next of kin if they are killed in action or die from wounds received while serving.