Celebrating Our Graduating Veterans

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Wendy Marie-Limbaugh Nevarez's husband places the red, white and blue cords around her neck during the Veteran Graduation Ceremony
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UNC Asheville celebrated its seven December 2016 graduates who have served in the U.S. military at the Veteran Student Graduation Celebration.

“You embody and represent the very best parts of a liberal arts education: service, critical thinking, humanity, heart, and acknowledgment of how important it is to work as a team. So I thank you for that,” said Chancellor Mary K. Grant, honoring the veteran graduates. “I thank you for your sacrifices, and I’m honored to be your chancellor, and I wish each one of you a very hard-earned and a very well-deserved congratulations.”

Stephanie Franklin, director of Transition & Parent Programs and coordinator of veterans programming, introduced each graduate and recounted their many accomplishments during their time in the military and at UNC Asheville.

The ceremony then grew more intimate as family members and spouses expressed their love and pride in their graduates and placed red, white and blue cords around their necks.

“One thing we instill in all our kids is to never give up. It’s been in the making a long time for her to graduate,” said the husband of graduate Wendy Marie-Limbaugh Nevarez in tribute to his wife's dedication. Then, in an especially touching moment, graduate Lucas Austin Myers’ young son placed the cords around his father’s neck.

To close the ceremony, Christopher Nettles, president of UNC Asheville’s University Veterans Alliance student organization, gave the Class of 2016 Statement of Unity and Remembrance: “Today is your day—your day to rise up to the challenges that come to you and those that you so valiantly pursue. As a veteran student, you’ve stood the test of time, the test of strength, and the test of battle. You’ve stood the test of humanity and have come through and are all the better for it.”

December 2016 Veteran Graduates

Miguel Diaz
United States Army
Specialist, Combat Medic
Biology with 6-9 Science Licensure and 9-12 Biology Licensure

Austin Jermiah Hanna
United States Air Force
Senior Airman
Political Science

Benjamin Allen McClure
United States Marine Corps
Corporal
Psychology

Lucas Austin Myers
United States Marine Corp
Corporal, Infantry Mortarman
Mathematics

Wendy Marie-Limbaugh Nevarez
United States Navy
Clerk Petty Officer First Class, Disbursing Clerk
Political Science

Garrett Alan Ruark
United States Army
Sergeant, Combat Medic
Economics

Andrew Willis Todd
United States Marine Corps
Lance Corporal
Political Science