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State VA commissioner to speak at APSU ceremony honoring military graduates

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs (TDVA) is coming to Austin Peay State University on Dec. 10 to help honor a special group of graduating APSU students. At 5 p.m. that afternoon, the University will host its Fall 2014 Military and Veterans Graduate Recognition Ceremony in the Mabry Concert Hall, with Many-Bears Grinder, the state’s first female TDVA commissioner, serving as the keynote speaker.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs (TDVA) is coming to Austin Peay State University on Dec. 10 to help honor a special group of graduating APSU students. At 5 p.m. that afternoon, the University will host its Fall 2014 Military and Veterans Graduate Recognition Ceremony in the Mabry Concert Hall, with Many-Bears Grinder, the state’s first female TDVA commissioner, serving as the keynote speaker.

During the ceremony, veterans, reservists and active duty military personnel who are scheduled to graduate from APSU on Friday will receive a red, white and blue cord to wear over their academic regalia. They will also receive one of the University’s military coins. About 20 percent of APSU students have a military connection, and the coin was created to honor those individuals.

Grinder, a retired colonel with the Tennessee Army National Guard, holds a master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College and a master's degree in human resources development from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is an Operation Enduring Freedom combat veteran, having served in Afghanistan as the Head of Secretariat for the International Police Coordination Board, and her military awards include the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal. In 2004, she was inducted into the Fort Benning Hall of Fame.

In September 2013, former U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki appointed Grinder to the VA Advisory Committee for Minority Veterans. In November 2013, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam appointed her as Chair for the newly formed Governor’s Veterans Education Task Force, which is charged with evaluating how to best serve Tennessee’s veterans seeking a certificate or degree beyond high school.

The Dec. 10 ceremony is open to the public. Parking will be available in the lot between the Music/Mass Communication Building (MMC) and Burt School, directly across Marion Street from the MMC.

For more information on the ceremony or APSU’s military coin, please contact Dr. Bill Cox, executive director of the Austin Peay Center at Fort Campbell, at coxw@apsu.edu.