Hodges University to honor local World War II veterans at D-Day anniversary ceremony

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Hodges University will hold a special ceremony on June 6, beginning at 10 am at the Hodges Naples campus.  Special honoree at the event will be Oscar-winning narrator and longtime Naples resident, Dr. Peter Thomas. The event will be sponsored by BMO Private Bank.

“It is always a pleasure to spend time with Peter and listen to him retell the stories of that most important time in American history,” said Phil Memoli, Vice President of University Advancement at Hodges. “He is a true patriot, and we are honored to have him join us for this special ceremony.”

With the onset of World War II, Dr. Thomas volunteered for the United States Army in 1943, serving with the First
Infantry Division in five major campaigns, including the Battle of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. He was issued a Battle Star for each of the five campaigns.  He was also awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the French Legion of Honor, the Unit French Croix de guerre, and Belgian Fourragère. Hodges University named him its 2004 Humanitarian of the Year and awarded him honorary Doctor of Humane Letters that same year.

“Peter has worked tirelessly for veteran causes, especially for the student veterans here at Hodges,” said Dr. Jeanette Brock, president of Hodges University.  “Peter has given both his time and treasures to help Hodges University in our pursuit of providing scholarship support for veterans. It is in this spirit that we have chosen to name our Veterans Services Center after Peter in recognition for all that he has done for our students.”

The Veterans Services Center at Hodges provides a variety of resources for student veterans, including GI Bill processing and information, details on available counseling, workshops and Veterans organization contacts, peer to peer support groups for student veterans and community involvement. 

Dr. Thomas has also been part of the American Military Veterans Education Fund (AMVEF) cabinet, a group of distinguished individuals raising crucial scholarship support to help returning veterans cover the costs of their education.

Hodges University currently has over 250 student veterans enrolled in the school. This comprises nearly 10% of the total student body. The institution is also home to American Legion Post 397, the first Post established on a college
campus in the United States run entirely by student veterans. The school has also been awarded 2014 Military Friendly Schools ® designation. 

Hodges University welcomes everyone to attend the June 6th ceremony and extends a special invitation to local World War II veterans who will be recognized and honored during the event. 

“We will never forget the spirit of sacrifice shown by our World War II veterans on that day,” said Memoli. “We hope that many of our local veterans will join us for this solemn occasion.”

Veterans who wish to attend are asked to respond to Alyssa DeLora at (239) 938-7826.

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