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Governor Mary Fallin Recognizes UCO for Outstanding Service to Veterans

From left to right, three men and a woman stand in front of a large clock; the two men in the middle are holding awards.June 14, 2018

Media Contact: Sarah Neese, Communications and Marketing Coordinator, UCO University Communications, 405-974-2121, sneese@uco.edu

Governor Mary Fallin Recognizes UCO for Outstanding Service to Veterans

Gov. Mary Fallin recently recognized the University of Central Oklahoma for its support of Oklahoma veterans during the Force 50 Foundation’s inaugural awards banquet in May.

UCO President Don Betz accepted the award, recognizing Central’s work to support veterans and their families as a higher education institution. In addition, Mark Kinders, Ed.D., Central’s Vice President for Public Affairs and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, received a special commendation and medallion for co-chairing Gov. Fallin’s Veterans Access Task Force.

Gov. Fallin created the Veterans Access Task Force to review access to health care for Oklahoma’s 400,000 veterans, reservists, National Guard members and active duty military. Kinders serves as co-chair of the task force with retired Army National Guard Maj. Gen. Myles Deering, the secretary of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs.

Additionally, Tracy Morris, Ph.D., assistant department chair and professor for Central’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, served as a co-principal investigator for a statewide veterans survey, in support of the task force’s recommendations for improvement.

Former Oklahoma Governor and UCO President George Nigh also was recognized at the event, for lifelong service to veterans.

“Governor Fallin’s recognition of UCO’s consistent support for veterans and their families is truly appreciated. The dedicated faculty and staff within our veteran support programs demonstrate the exceptional devotion to caring for those who have served our country,” said UCO President Don Betz.

“It is a great privilege and honor to support military members and their families, and I am proud of Central’s ongoing efforts to connect with Oklahoma’s veteran community.”

The UCO Veteran Student Support (VSS) office facilitates several programs geared toward student veterans and their families, including VetHERO, a veteran student-run department designed to address the academic, financial, physical, and social needs of veterans and veteran dependents, and the Central Veterans Student Organization. Additionally, VSS coordinates Central’s Veterans Upward Bound program, or Student Transition Readiness Integration Program for Education Support (STRIPES), which motivates and assists low-income, first-generation veterans in successfully enrolling and completing postsecondary education through educational assistance, academic services, and wellness services and activities.

For more information about support for veterans at Central, visit www.uco.edu/veterans or contact the VSS office at 405-974-2578.

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Editor’s Note: Download art with this release at https://media.uco.edu/press/uploads/2018/06/8ec2441-awards.jpg.

Cutline: Gov. Mary Fallin recently recognized the University of Central Oklahoma for its support of Oklahoma veterans during the Force 50 Foundation’s inaugural awards banquet in May. Pictured from left, UCO President Don Betz, Central SALUTE Project Director Retired Lt. Col. Kennan Horn, UCO Vice President for Public Affairs Mark Kinders, Ed.D., and Tracy Morris, Ph.D., assistant department chair and professor for Central’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics.