Introduction by Mark Guthier, Associate V.Chancellor for Student Affairs & Union Director
What is the Gold Star Honor Roll?
Each Veterans Day, the Wisconsin Union acknowledges and thanks USA service members and veterans, especially those among our students, staff, faculty and alumni. We are grateful for all they sacrifice, from time with family and friends to, in some cases, the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. Hundreds of veterans and service members have studied and continue to study at our university. They are heroes that are among us every day.
As a memorial to service members, our Memorial Union serves as a daily reminder of these heroes and the sacrifices they make for our country. This part of the building’s identity is permanently etched across the front balustrade with the words, “Erected and dedicated to the memory of the men and women of the University of Wisconsin who served in our country’s wars”. Memorial Union is also home to the Gold Star Honor Roll on its second floor, with the names of more than 1,000 fallen alumni service members engraved in wooden scrolls and their stories included in an electronic, interactive kiosk. See more on that below.
We also host an event each year at Memorial Union in honor of our country’s veterans and service members. This year, we cannot gather together at Memorial Union as we have in the past, but we can still take time to acknowledge these heroes on campus and throughout our communities.
To our country’s service members, we are grateful for you. We are humbled to share a campus and community with people with such courage, heroism, work ethic, dedication and selflessness. We appreciate each of you today and acknowledge you for being the heroes who you truly are.
Support the UW Veterans Services Fund
The Gold Star tradition began during World War I. When a family had a spouse, son or daughter in the service, the family displayed a card with a simple blue star in the window. If the service member passed away in active duty, the card was replaced with one with a gold star.
We are proud to carry on the tradition today, and we welcome you to learn more about the service persons of UW-Madison who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service for our country. The next time you visit Memorial Union, please stop by the display on the second floor, outside the main lounge.
For more on the Gold Star Honor Roll project and exhibit, see the Union's Gold Star Honor Roll page.
Most of us will never experience military service. We can’t grasp the rigors and structure that service entails as it’s a life we’ll never know. That lack of shared experience can make the college experience difficult for military-connected students among their traditionally-aged student colleagues. Yet their life experience also strengthens them for the task before them – the pursuit of a career where the skills and strengths developed in the armed forces will serve as the foundation for what comes next.
Serving 700-800 individuals each year, University Veteran Services champions our military-connected students, providing vital assistance navigating and accessing their military benefits, and connection to a community that shares and understands their life experiences.
Zoë Atkins with the Army’s 1158 Transportation Company, says “their support has enabled me to always make the transition from military to school as easily as possible.”
Pictured: Zoë Atkins.
For student veteran Mark Schneider, who transitioned from Active Duty Army to the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) in June, Veteran Services has helped him “feel more integrated with the Student Veteran community on campus. I feel like they know who I am. If I have a question, then I can call them and they will help me quickly find the answer.”
Zoë is right: “The student veteran and military-connected population needs to have access to experts like those in Veteran's Services, who can help them simultaneously pursue an education and a military career.” You can make that possible with a donation to the Veteran Services fund.
You can make a difference.