NYIT Thanks Its Veteran Heroes
May 23, 2018
Pictured: U.S. army veteran and NYIT student Daniel Kennelly, chief of operations for student veteran affairs for the NYIT Student Veterans Organization, addresses guests. Seated in uniform to the right is Randall O’Shea, director of student affairs for the NYIT Student Veterans Organization. At the bottom left is the Missing Man Table that honors the memory of fallen or missing service members.
More than 140 attendees celebrated the brave men and women of the U.S. armed forces on May 10 at the “Operation Thank Our Heroes” NYIT Veterans Recognition Gala. Held at the NYIT de Seversky Mansion and sponsored by the NYIT School of Management Debra A. Vogel Student Advancement Program, the inaugural event invited veterans to speak about their military service and share how these experiences helped shape their lives.
As guests entered the ballroom of the NYIT de Seversky Mansion, they walked passed a table set for one. U.S. army veteran and NYIT student Daniel Kennelly, chief of operations for student veteran affairs for the NYIT Student Veterans Organization, explained that the Missing Man Table honors the memory of fallen or missing service members.
Robert Koenig, Ed.D., associate dean and chair of hospitality management in the School of Management served as the evening’s master of ceremonies. “It is your dedication, commitment to excellence, and heroism that provides this exceptional country with the freedom and liberty that we are blessed with each and every day,” said Koenig, who also serves as executive director of the Debra A. Vogel Student Advancement Program, which provides opportunities for business students to develop their leadership skills through civic responsibility and team-driven experiences. “Sitting amongst us here this evening are true heroes.”
NYIT hospitality students under his direction planned the event (along with Student Advisement Specialist Patthara Chandaragga), from table service to menu options to entertainment, with additional support provided by the NYIT Student Veterans Organization and NYIT Office of Student Life.
NYIT President Hank Foley, Ph.D., seconded Koenig’s remarks. “To all of the veterans, I want to say thank you very much,” he said. “Tonight’s event is just a small token of our appreciation for your service.”
NYIT veterans salute during the national anthem at the “Operation Thank Our Heroes” NYIT Veterans Recognition Gala.
Debra Vogel (A.A.S. ’85), president and owner of Las Vegas- and New York-based Paradigm Management LLC, told veterans: “Your dedication to this country is your reward and ours.”
She also discussed the parallels between military and business leadership, and impact each has on the individual and on organizations. “Effective leadership training and the training of subordinates are integral components of any successful military operation, as well as for any successful company project,” Vogel noted. “The military and its operation as well as the company and its projects must always be priority one—not the individual. This way, everyone wins.”
Other guest speakers included:
- U.S. Air Force veteran Randall O’Shea (B.S. ’18), NYIT student and director of student affairs for the NYIT Student Veterans Organization
- U.S. Marine Corps veteran William Joseph, director of security at NYIT
- U.S. Air Force veteran Gabriel Sunshine, Ph.D., professor of physics in NYIT College of Arts and Sciences
- U.S. Army veteran Andrew Fong, NYIT veteran liaison and transfer advisor in Admissions and Enrollment
- Amy Bravo, senior director for international and experiential education
- Gabrielle St. Léger, Ed.D., dean of students
Performances included an honor guard ceremony, singing group The Clusters, and renditions of “God Bless America” and "The Star-Spangled Banner" sung by performing artists Alana St. John and Charles B. Powell Sr., respectively.
U.S. Marine Corps veteran and keynote speaker John H. Young, Jr. (B.S. '76), founder and owner of Young Consulting Group LLC, concluded the evening’s remarks with stories detailing the commitment and sacrifice of U.S. service members. He also asked attendees to thank veterans whenever they meet one.
“When they joined the armed forces, [veterans] simply wrote a blank check in their name to the U.S. government that could be cashed for any amount, up to and including their lives,” he said. “They are the very best that America has.”
Read more about veteran services at NYIT, which is ranked No. 17 among best colleges for veterans by U.S. News & World Report.