CLEMSON — Graduates from Clemson University’s student veteran population were honored Wednesday evening in the annual “Hail and Farewell” ceremony inside the Hendrix Student Center. Eighteen students were presented red, white and blue cords to place over their graduation gear. The graduates also received a letter from President James P. Clements and a special challenge coin featuring the insignia of the military branches. One was unable to attend.

Eighteen graduating student veterans from May 2019 gather outside of Hendrix Student Center.

Eighteen graduating student veterans were honored on May 8 during the annual “Hail and Farewell” ceremony.
Image Credit: Clemson University Relations

Brennan Beck, Clemson’s director of military and veteran engagement, hosted the 90-minute ceremony inside the David Peebles Room of the Hendrix Student Center. The graduates were joined by their families and a slew of special guests, including representatives from the Alumni Association, Clemson Corps, Graduate School, Student Affairs, Student Veterans Association, Undergraduate Studies and more.

The evening featured a keynote address from Associate Vice President for Public Safety and Chief of Police Greg Mullen. He is a retired veteran of the U.S. Air Force with 22 years of combined active and reserve service. Mullen spoke for about 10 minutes, addressing what the next chapter of leadership would look like for the graduates. He implored them to operate purposefully because of the ‘why,’ as opposed to the ‘what’ and ‘how.’

“To the graduating student veterans, this great accomplishment marks a huge milestone in your career,” Mullen said. “To the families, these student veterans would not be here without you standing behind them. You are filled with joy and deserve to share in this moment.”

Jason Cronin, pictured with Director of Military and Veteran Engagement Brennan Beck, was named Outstanding Student Veteran for 2019.

Jason Cronin, pictured with Director of Military and Veteran Engagement Brennan Beck, was named Outstanding Student Veteran for 2019.
Image Credit: Clemson University Relations

Following the presentation of cords and coins, Beck named the Outstanding Student Veteran. The award is given to an individual who has displayed admirable leadership to veteran and military-connected peers and furthered the mission of Military and Veteran Engagement by creating a veteran-friendly campus at Clemson.

Jason Cronin earned the Outstanding Student Veteran award for 2019. He served as president of the military council for Clemson Undergraduate Student Government (CUSG) and as vice president of Clemson’s chapter of the Student Veterans Association (SVA). He has worked as an assistant at the Student Veteran Center the past two years.

“This award is merely a small recognition for all of Jason’s accomplishments and the impact he’s had on supporting veteran and military-connected students at Clemson,” Beck said. “He should look back on his two years with great pride.”

Ph.D. CANDIDATES

Leslie Lewis

  • Doctorate in educational leadership
  • Native of Sewickley, Pennsylvania who served five years of active duty with the U.S. Army with military intelligence
  • Achieved the rank of captain

James Righter

  • Doctorate in mechanical engineering
  • Native of Elizabethton, Tennessee who served 20 years of active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps; worked in logistics and achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel
  • Deployed to Iraq, Japan and Korea during his time in the military

MASTER’S CANDIDATES

Gary Ashton Brown

  • Majoring in packaging science
  • Native of Greenville, South Carolina who served four years in the U.S. Army Reserves as an aerial delivery officer and forward support platoon leader
  • Achieved the rank of first lieutenant and deployed to Iraq

Daniel Griffin

  • Majoring in business administration
  • Native of Anderson, South Carolina who served 10 years in the Army National Guard as a battery commander within air defense artillery
  • Achieved the rank of captain and deployed twice as part of Operation Noble Eagle

Jacob Hammett

  • Majoring in business administration
  • Native of Greenville, South Carolina who served 10 years in the Army National Guard as an engineer officer
  • Achieved the rank of captain and deployed as part of Operation Enduring Freedom

Matthew Loebs

  • Majoring in public administration
  • Native of Naples, Florida who served eight years of active duty and eight years of reserve duty in the U.S. Army
  • Achieved the rank of sergeant first class and deployed to Iraq as a combat engineer
  • Awarded a Bronze Star

Vinnie White

  • Majoring in communication, society and technology
  • Native of Seattle, Washington who served five years of active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps
  • Achieved the rank of corporal as a combat photographer

Kay Wilson

  • Majoring in wildlife and fisheries biology
  • Native of South Carolina who currently serves in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves
  • Achieved the rank of second class petty officer as a marine science technician and deployed to Florida and Puerto Rico for hurricane response purposes

BACHELOR’S CANDIDATES

Jonathan Anderson

  • Majoring in forest resource management
  • Native of Irmo, South Carolina who served six years in the Army National Guard as a combat engineer
  • Achieved the rank of E4 and deployed to Iraq

Daniel Crocker

  • Majoring in mechanical engineering
  • Native of Union, South Carolina who served 14 years of active duty in the U.S. Air Force
  • Achieved the rank of technical sergeant and deployed to South Korea and the United Arab Emirates

Jason Cronin

  • Majoring in health services administration
  • Native of Manchester, New Hampshire who served nearly eight years of active duty in the U.S. Air Force
  • Achieved the rank of staff sergeant and deployed to the United Arab Emirates
  • Served as vice president of Clemson’s chapter of the Student Veterans Association

David Hinz

  • Majoring in psychology
  • Native of New Hampshire who served three years of active duty in the U.S. Army
  • Achieved the rank of E4 as a utility helicopter repairman

Chris Matthews

  • Majoring in civil engineering
  • Native of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina who served active duty in the U.S. Navy
  • Achieved the rank of second class petty officer as a nuclear machinist’s mate and deployed to the Persian Gulf

Josh Ortiz

  • Majoring in mechanical engineering
  • Native of Virginia Beach, Virginia who served 12 years of active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps
  • Achieved the rank of gunnery sergeant as a helicopter mechanic and deployed to Iraq

Korey Pritchett

  • Majoring in political science
  • Native of Greenville, South Carolina who served four years of active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps
  • Achieved the rank of corporal as a logistics/security guard and deployed to The Netherlands and Balkan Peninsula

Kristopher Saylors

  • Majoring in agricultural mechanization and business
  • Native of Piedmont, South Carolina who served eight years of active duty in the U.S. Army
  • Achieved the rank of specialist within air defense tactical operations and deployed to Bahrain

Patrik Shuler

  • Majoring in industrial engineering
  • Native of Switzerland who served five years of active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps
  • Achieved the rank of sergeant as a radio repairman

Casey Sumner

  • Majoring in electrical engineering
  • Native of Hillsboro, Oregon who served nine total years of both active and reserve duty in the U.S. Air Force
  • Achieved the rank of staff sergeant as a missile maintenance technician

Tyler Williams

  • Majoring in management information systems
  • Native of Athens, Georgia who served four years of active duty in the U.S. Air Force
  • Achieved the rank of senior airman as an operations intelligence analyst