PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A crowd of more than 200 people from the Brown and Rhode Island communities gathered on Friday, Nov. 11, to commemorate Veterans Day, honor the service of military members and reaffirm the University’s commitment to expanding the number of student veterans on campus.
The event welcomed accomplished military veterans including U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, current chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services; U.S. Under Secretary of Defense Gilbert Cisneros, a Brown alumnus; and Terren Wise, an undergraduate student veteran and member of Brown’s Class of 2026. Reed, Cisneros, Wise and other former service members also had the opportunity to welcome the newest Brown-affiliated members of the Army and Air Force during an ROTC contracting ceremony held during the event.
“Our student veterans and ROTC students bring an incredible diversity of experience and perspective to the University, and they strengthen the education of everyone here on College Hill,” said Brown President Christina H. Paxson during the event.
The ceremony was held on Ruth J. Simmons Quadrangle near Soldier’s Memorial Gate, erected in memory of the 42 Brown students, alumni and faculty who lost their lives during World War I. And while the gate may be the most prominent marker honoring military service, the Brown campus as a whole is rich with military significance.
Paxson shared often-overlooked facts about the role Brown and its community members have played during historic military conflicts through the centuries: During the American Revolution, French and American troops were quartered on campus, and British troops in Narragansett Bay were spotted from the top of College Hill; in World War I, the campus became a military camp, and training exercises were held on the same spot that held the speaker’s podium and lines of uniformed ROTC students during Friday’s ceremony. Scores of Brown students served in the Civil War and World War II — 71% of the Class of 1942 was enrolled in the armed services — and many alumni also served honorably in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.