UNH Honors Veterans During Annual Campus Ceremony
UNH Honors Veterans During Annual Campus Ceremony

by Dave Cranshaw
UNH Today Editor

Sean-Michael Green, associate vice president for graduate enrollment and marketing and a veteran of the United States Marines, admits that he feels a bit uncomfortable when people thank him for his service.

“I didn’t do anything exceptional,” he said at UNH’s 12th annual Veterans Day ceremony. He spoke less than an hour after participating in a 5K run that benefited the VA Connecticut Healthcare System. “My brother is a Marine, my father was a Marine. It’s just what we do.”

Upon completing his service, he enrolled at a community college, though he said his expectations weren’t high after finishing 723rd out of 725 students at his public high school.

During UNH's 12th annual Veterans Day ceremony, Grant Briggs '54 A.S. said, “I was proud to serve my country."
(Photos by Samatha Mathewson '15)

“But when I went in, I found a part of me come alive,” he said. “I loved the intellectual challenge, and I was very curious.”

Still, he seemed out of place. “I felt everyone was staring at me,” he said. “I just felt like I didn’t belong there.”

Green, who joined the UNH community over the summer, said it would have helped him to know there were other veterans like him on campus. And that is his goal at UNH. “I want everyone here who is a student veteran to know there are other people here like you,” he said.

There are nearly 200 student veterans in the campus community, including 45 who enrolled at the beginning of the fall semester.

To assist the veteran students on campus, UNH participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, and there are dedicated staff members in a variety of offices on campus – including Admissions, Financial Aid and the First-Year Success Center – to work with veteran students. Each of the last three years, the University has been recognized by G.I. Jobs magazine among the top colleges nationally for veterans.

During the ceremony, President Steve Kaplan reflected on his time teaching for the United States Military in Germany, and he thanked the veterans in the campus community for their dedication.

“Our veteran students have become a vital part of the campus community, and I am very grateful for their many contributions to the University,” said Kaplan.

Beyond their contributions in the classroom, the student veterans are active volunteers in the community. Last year, some visited Newtown just days after the tragic shooting to interact with some of the children and their families. Over the summer, they collected materials and supplies that were donated to a veteran transitional house in West Haven. 

“Through their actions, our veteran students serve as role models for the entire campus community, and I commend them all for their actions,” said Kaplan.

Also giving remarks was Grant Briggs ’54 A.S., a musician and first sergeant in the U.S. Army during World War II. He enlisted after high school and served two years in Germany before he enrolled at UNH to pursue his degree, taking classes at night.

“I was proud to serve my country,” he said.

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