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Record number of military graduates honored at coin presentation ceremony

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Before Austin Peay State University celebrates its 88th Spring Commencement on May 5, those active duty and military veterans graduating alongside their classmates were honored for their dedication in the classroom and in service to the nation.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Before Austin Peay State University celebrates its 88th Spring Commencement on May 5, those active duty and military veterans graduating alongside their classmates were honored for their dedication in the classroom and in service to the nation.

A record number of graduating seniors were honored at the military and veteran graduate recognition and coin presentation ceremony on May 3, as 76 men and women were recognized and presented with APSU’s military coin, as well as a special cord to wear with their commencement regalia.

Tim Schoonover, career advisor with APSU’s Office of Career Services and VetSuccess counselor, served as the event’s speaker. While he congratulated the soon-to-be-graduates on their academic success, Schoonover challenged each of them to continue to serve and to continue to make the difficult choices that led them to enlist and that ultimately led them to APSU.

“I believe that, without exception, each and every one of you enlisted in the armed forces out of a sense of commitment, duty and service to your country,” Schoonover said. “So, when you accept your hard-earned diploma, you will face another crossroad in your journey.  Will you follow your dreams, your goals or your passions, or will you sit on the bench?

“I challenge each and every one of you to ignore the naysayers who tell us that there is no hope, that we are powerless to change our world and make it a better place.”

A coin was also presented to Force Master Chief, and APSU alumnus, Karim Cole, who returned to campus for the ceremony. A 1986 graduate, Cole received Bachelor of Science degrees in both industrial technology and mathematics and returned to campus from Pensacola, Florida, where he serves as Force Master Chief at the Naval Education and Training Command. Cole previously served as Command Master Chief of the Blue Angels, the Navy’s flight demonstration squadron.

Branded with the theme “All Hail to Those Who Serve,” APSU crafted its own coin with its military students and veterans in mind. The antique bronze color coin, designed by the APSU Office of Public Relations and Marketing, is finished with black enamel. The first set was cast in 2011.

On one side of the coin, the eagle is prominently displayed as the nation’s symbol, along with other American patriotic elements. The University’s AP logo is situated at the bottom of the coin. The words, “All Hail to Those Who Serve,” were crafted from the lyrics of APSU’s alma mater and from the military’s customs and courtesies to welcome those who have joined the unit.

The other side of the coin shows an image of the clock tower atop the Browning Administration Building, generally considered the emblem of APSU. The year APSU was founded, 1927, also is noted on the bottom of the piece.

For more information on the ceremony or APSU’s military coin, please contact Jasmin Linares, coordinator for the Military Student Center at Austin Peay State University, at linaresj@apsu.edu.