The University of Toledo is nationally recognized as the first university campus in the country to simultaneously honor all service members of the armed forces and the families who lost a loved one defending the United States by dedicating both a Blue Star Memorial marker and a Gold Star Memorial marker.
UT unveiled the new markers at the Veterans Memorial Plaza on Veterans Day.Andrea Little, national chair of the Blue Star and Gold Star Families Memorial Marker Program, recently wrote a letter on behalf of the program and National Garden Clubs to Navy Reserve Lt. Haraz Ghanbari, UT director of military and veteran affairs, to notify the University of the pioneering honor.
“By these actions taken, you and your staff have elevated this program’s standards; and a distinct precedent has been established by which all other university campuses should emulate,” Little noted. “There is no greater way to honor all our armed forces and their families.”
UT student Clinton Grantham, a senior studying social work, spearheaded the effort with Ghanbari. Grantham, who is a medically retired, active-duty Army veteran, served a tour in Afghanistan as a member of the 10th Mountain Division based at Fort Drum, N.Y.
“UT has a lot of student veterans, and I wanted to do something special not only for them, but for families who lost a loved one in combat,” Grantham said. “When I started the process, I had no idea that no one had done this before. I’m proud we accomplished it in seven weeks, on time for Veterans Day. Future students will walk by every day, hopefully read the memorial markers, and understand what service members and their families sacrifice to serve and defend their country.”
The Blue Star Memorial reads, “A tribute to the Armed Forces who have defended the United States of America.”
The Gold Star Memorial reads, “A tribute to Gold Star Families whose loved one paid the ultimate price defending the United States of America.”
The University has long been recognized as a military friendly school for its commitment to providing exceptional assistance and support to service members, veterans and their families.
In 2017, UT was again recognized by Military Times in its Best for Vets: Colleges 2017 rankings and by Military Advanced Education & Transition as a top school in its 2017 Guide to Colleges & Universities research study.