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When veterans come home

The cover story regarding veteran challenges in assimilating to life in higher education [“Reporting to Class,” Fall 2014] speaks to me on many levels. I am a U.S. Navy veteran and currently enrolled in the Executive MBA program in the UB School of Management. I truly believe one of the most overlooked aspects of military life is the “now what?” once our country’s bravest reach the end of their service. While I feel I was lucky enough to have a support system in place to help me through the transition back to civilian life, so many need a helping hand, and I am glad that UB is doing its part to assist.

Doug Stoll
East Amherst, N.Y.

Your article on returning soldiers brought back memories of a war years ago, and the men and women who returned to get on with their lives. I was privileged to work in the UB admissions office from 1964 to 1967. One of my first prospective student interviews was with a young man who struck me as somewhat tense. It turned out he was one of the first “in country” Vietnam green berets. My boss, John Walker, himself a Korean marine vet who came to UB on the GI Bill, filled me in on what that soldier might have experienced in battle and was likely to face as a student vet. The vets’ stories in your article were strikingly similar to what he described then. The UB Veterans Association and Veterans Services are a great response to the question of how to ease the transition.

Jim Vaillancourt (PhD ’74, EdM ’64, BA ’63)
Franklin, Tenn.

I read the Fall 2014 cover story with rapt attention. While Nicole Peradotto’s writing is uniformly excellent, I have to wonder where the school’s attention to the special needs of combat veterans was 50-odd years ago when I came back from Vietnam and enrolled in UB’s Millard Fillmore College. My enduring memory of my time at UB was the night I got my first creative writing assignment back, only to be called before the class. The professor advised me to drop his class, for he “could never give a passing grade to anyone who prosecuted that immoral war in Vietnam.” I’m glad that today’s veterans are getting a better shake than we did.

Steve Banko (BA ’73)
Buffalo, N.Y.

Wow! Excellent article. Well-written and conveys post-military transition others are not aware of—even noncombatants. Kudos to UB for its support in both traditional and creative ways! (USAF 69th Security Group 1961-1965)

George Dirksen
St. Louis, Mo.

Election envy

It was very encouraging to read about the vigor with which election officials in Ukraine apply for fair and free elections (“Seven Days in Ukraine,” Fall 2014). I can only hope that at some point Mr. Bejger can apply his experience and skills to help improve the quality of elections here at home.

James Rowe (BA ’71)
San Jose, Calif.

Give departments their props

If I might offer a suggestion: While faculty are highlighted appropriately, you might consider an occasional treatment of departments that historically rose to national or international standing in their heyday. Having been fortunate enough to have done my graduate studies in philosophy during the late 1960s, when this department was in its “golden age,” I well know the lasting significance of such a unique era.

Ronald H. Epp (PhD ’70)
Lebanon, Pa.

From the Editor’s Desk

We counted at least 400 cups. That’s a lot of joe!

Coffeenomics

Every once in a while, a photo lands on my desk that’s so charming I have to share it. In this one, engineering doctoral candidate Ehsan Dehghan Niri proudly shows off his coffee cup collection, which he explains is carefully arranged by vendor and reflective of his relative wealth from day to day: Starbucks when he’s feeling flush, Tim Horton’s when times are tough.

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