Miami regional military grads also get special ceremony at school’s regional campuses

Recently the regional campuses held Miami University's first Green Zone graduation honors ceremony (pictured) on the Miami University Hamilton campus. The commencement-related ceremony is the latest effort by the two regional schools' Centers for Veterans Services. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)
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Recently the regional campuses held Miami University's first Green Zone graduation honors ceremony (pictured) on the Miami University Hamilton campus. The commencement-related ceremony is the latest effort by the two regional schools' Centers for Veterans Services. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)

Event had presentation of graduation honor cords and coins ahead of ceremonies on main Oxford campus.

Miami University students with military backgrounds are graduating from the school’s regional programs in two Butler County cities with special recognitions this spring, including recently their own special ceremony.

The highlighting of student military veterans and military-affiliated students at Miami’s Hamilton and Middletown regional campuses comes as officials at the schools also spotlight their Centers for Veterans Services offices.

The offices, said Edward Syron, regional coordinator of Veteran Services, are essential to helping this special segment of students and together during the school year and can serve up to 70 students per week.

“The primary purpose of our Veterans Service Centers is to provide a supportive environment for all veteran and military-affiliated students as they transition from the military to college and from college to career,” said Syron.

“Our facilities offer a place for our student veterans to meet and talk; do homework; use computers; do printing and get snacks in between classes. The centers provide a ‘safe environment’ for our veterans to share their stories with fellow service members to help them transition into college life and feel like they belong.”

Recently the Hamilton campus was the site for a new twist to those services as it hosted the program’s first “Green Zone Grads” recognition ceremony for graduates from both this school year and the coronavirus-impacted 2020, who missed out on having in-person commencements.

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The late April gathering, which included refreshments and snacks, saw the presentation of graduation honor cords and coins in front of faculty, family and friends. Graduates will also participate in commencement ceremonies on the main Oxford campus.

“As military members, veterans are accustomed to the ceremony. Miami University has a special Military Honor Cord for graduating student veterans to wear with their traditional cap and gown at graduation. The Regional Student Veterans Association wanted to establish a special annual tradition and ceremony,” said Syron.

Hamilton native Becky Ortman, a 2020 graduate of Miami University Regionals nursing program, comes from a military family and appreciated the help offered by the campus office during her undergraduate studies.

Ortman served in the Ohio Army National Guard for 15 years, stepping down at the rank of staff sergeant in 2020 to focus on her nursing career.

Mixing classes with military service can be challenging. But Ortman credits Miami Regionals faculty for their willingness to work with her to accommodate her schedule.

“The Veterans Center provided a place for me to meet and connect with other veterans. Having other people who understand your background and experience as a soldier was comforting,” said Ortman.