North Texas Daily

UNT named a Purple Heart University for its support of the combat wounded

UNT named a Purple Heart University for its support of the combat wounded

Victoria Nguyen

UNT named a Purple Heart University for its support of the combat wounded
May 17
19:06 2018

The Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) proclaimed UNT a Purple Heart University for its support of the combat wounded and veterans during a ceremony May 3 in the University Union.

“This is a good university, and it has been really good to the veteran population here,” Director of Student Veteran’s Services James Davenport said. “I am proud of what we do here.”

The MOPH is a veteran’s organization made up of individuals who received the Purple Heart which is awarded to those who are wounded or killed in service. The Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the organization recognized UNT for its service to veterans.

“The purple heart is not something someone goes into the military wanting to get, but they do end up earning it because they have made the commitment to serve,” said William Dwiggins, Veteran’s Educational Coordinator for the North Texas district of the Texas Veterans Commission.

The process for becoming a Purple Heart institution is based on the number of Purple Heart recipients in the faculty and staff, student and alumni populations. UNT will join other Purple Heart organizations such as UNT Dallas, UNT Health Science Center, Texas A&M and Liberty University.

Davenport said that between 2,400 and 3,400 veterans attend UNT every semester, and UNT brings in employers to help them when they graduate and holds a separate graduation ceremony to honor veterans.

He also personally gives veterans tours of the University.

“It’s a big honor because evidently, in [MOPH] research, this university does some very impressive things with the veteran population,” Davenport said.

Hazlewood helps Texas veterans at many Universities, but Davenport said UNT does not put a cap on the number of veterans or dependents that can use the program. He said this costs UNT millions of dollars because they are not reimbursed by the state.

“It’s painful financially, but we are proud that we do it,” Davenport said. “When you give that much money to veterans, it is hard to say you are not veteran friendly.”

Bright Akwarandu is an emergency management and disaster planning student who also served in the army. He said the Student Veteran Office, located on the bottom floor of the General Academic Building, is a place veterans can go if they need help with anything from classes to family issues.

“The veterans office is like a safe haven from every other thing out there,” Akwarandu said.

The ceremony took place during President Neal Smatresk’s staff sack lunch. Members of MOPH will attend to present the award to Davenport. Military Times named UNT the 42nd best college in the country for its veterans and military service in its 2018 list.

Victory Media also ranked UNT No. 8 for the top 10 Military friendly tier-one research institutions.

Dwiggins said the Purple Heart recognition is a huge compliment to the UNT community.

“The purple heart organization has recognized that the community and this university has treated all veterans and the military connected community extremely well,” Dwiggins said. [This shows] how well the university has treated people and how they have made the environment welcoming and inclusive for those who have served in uniform.”

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Devin Rardin

Devin Rardin

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