UT to debut new veterans lounge named for alumnus

September 7, 2017 | Events, News, UToday, Alumni, Library, Arts and Letters
By Christine Billau

The University of Toledo will commemorate the opening of its new veterans lounge with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, Sept. 15, at 3 p.m. on the second floor of Carlson Library.

Lt. Col. Thomas Orlowski spoke after being recognized by the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes with its Hometown Hero Award and the news that the veterans lounge at his alma mater will be named in his honor. Orlowski, who graduated from UT in 1965 before his 20-year career in the U.S. Army, is being recognized with the naming of the Lt. Col. Thomas J. Orlowski ’65 Veterans Lounge on the second floor of Carlson Library.

The Lt. Col. Thomas J. Orlowski ’65 Veterans Lounge offers student veterans a place to relax, study and enjoy the camaraderie they experienced while serving their country.

The University’s veterans lounge was previously located in Rocket Hall. The new lounge named in honor of Orlowski, a UT alumnus, was part of the recent $6 million renovation project to the library made possible by state biennium capital funds.

“Our student-veterans were interested in a more centrally located space, and in this academic setting they also will have better access to library resources for research and homework with longer hours to take advantage of the lounge,” said Navy Reserve Lt. Haraz Ghanbari, UT director of military and veteran affairs.

A $20,000 donation from the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes supported the creation of the new lounge, which is larger with a separate social area and private study section.

The coalition’s gift was made in recognition of Orlowski, as a UT alumnus and Army veteran, who is the immediate past chairman of the organization’s board.

Orlowski graduated from UT in 1965 with a degree in English literature, and he also was a middle linebacker for the football team. He joined the Army later that year, and his 20-year military career included assignments in the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam, 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized), HQ U.S. Army Europe, HQ U.S. Continental Army Command and the Office of the Adjutant General of the Army.

For his service in Vietnam, Orlowski was awarded the Purple Heart, Silver Star, Bronze Star for Valor with two Oak Leaf Clusters, and Air Medal, according to the coalition.

“The lounge will definitely help veteran students academically, but a secondary benefit that people may not realize is the camaraderie of others who have been where you’ve been and done what you’ve done,” Orlowski said.

The ceremony will be followed by an open house and refreshments from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

RSVP by Friday, Sept. 8, to tyna.derhay@utoledo.edu or by calling 419.530.4488.

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