Honoring Veterans for Their Service
Kent State University paid formal tribute to all those who have served in the U.S. armed forces at its annual Veterans Day Commemoration on Thursday.
The event, titled “Honoring All Those Who Serve,” was held on the Student Green, in front of Risman Plaza on the Kent Campus, with a flag-raising ceremony conducted by a joint color guard with students from Kent State’s Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC programs. Tim Coyne, senior business manager for Kent State’s Division of Student Life, served as bugler.
President Todd Diacon, in his welcome remarks, noted how Kent State was there to serve all students, particularly our veterans.
“I often say at events such as these that Kent State University is a university not just for the fortunate few but for the meritorious many, and certainly, our veterans among us are among that group of meritorious many, and we thank you all for your service,” Diacon said.
The president also noted the day’s cold weather and said it was an appropriate reminder of how veterans have served in the worst conditions.
“A fitting reminder that our veterans have always served no matter what the conditions, that our veterans have served no matter what the weather; they have always served our nation under all circumstances,” Diacon said.
Keynote speaker for the event was Maureen McFarland, Ph.D., associate dean of academic affairs for Kent State’s College of Aeronautics and Engineering and a retired lieutenant colonel with the U.S. Marine Corps.
She began her remarks by asking for a moment of silence for the ongoing Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas wars.
“Veterans Day is an opportunity to acknowledge the human cost of battle and to reflect on the importance of peace, diplomacy and the pursuit of solutions that can prevent future clashes,” McFarland said.
She spoke of how her career as a Marine and her career at Kent State have intersected in unique and meaningful ways.
McFarland noted the May 4, 1970, shootings of student protestors at Kent State. This event secured for the university a unique place in American history, and she pointed out how our military is called upon to protect the very right to freedom of speech that the students were exercising that day.
She also spoke of how as an instructor at Marine Corps University, she taught courses to other Marines on humanitarian aid including the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda. She now works for a university that not only has formed an agreement with the University of Rwanda, but Kent State’s College of Aeronautics and Engineering is expected to play a key role in the future of Rwanda. She marveled at how the country was able to rise from the horrors of its past.
McFarland also noted how, last summer, Kent State sponsored Peace Education in an Era of Crisis, a global peace conference in Kigali, Rwanda, and she was pleased to see the number of students in attendance.
As a parent, she said she is keenly aware of the importance of educating the next generation. “I recognize the pivotal role education plays in safeguarding tomorrow,” McFarland said.
“So, on this Veterans Day, let us commit to educating the next generation not just about the horrors of war, but about the enduring spirit of humanity that prevails even in the darkest times,” she said.
McFarland graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering before commissioning as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. She served on active duty as an electronic countermeasures officer, completing three combat tours. McFarland was the first female navigator in her squadron and the third female navigator in the U.S. Marine Corps. She worked as the officer selection officer supporting Kent State before transitioning to the Marine Corps Reserve.
There, while working at Kent State, she completed another combat tour, served as an accreditation officer for Marine Corps University, taught Electronic Warfare School and served as the commanding officer for Combat Logistics Battalion 453, leading more than 1,100 Marines nationwide. McFarland retired after 20 years of honorable service at the rank of lieutenant colonel.
McFarland joined Kent State in 2003 as an adjunct professor. Since 2004, she has served as an associate professor of aeronautics, aeronautics program coordinator, senior academic program director of aeronautics and interim associate dean of academic affairs. In her current role as associate dean of academic affairs, McFarland assists the dean of the College of Aeronautics and Engineering in the overall undergraduate administration of the college.
McFarland earned a doctorate in educational psychology and instructional technology from Kent State and a Master of Science in Business Administration from Boston University.
Kent State continues to take pride in serving and supporting military and veteran students. Just this week, the university was named to the 2023 Military Times "Best for Vets: Colleges" list, ranking No. 84 overall and No. 13 in the Midwest. Earlier this year, Kent State was named a military-friendly institution by G.I. Jobs for the 14th year in a row. In addition, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine this year presented the university with Ohio’s new Collegiate Purple Star designation for its support for veteran and military students.