November 8, 2011 - by
Veterans In Free For Jacksonville

Nov. 8, 2011

The Florida State men’s basketball team will honor current and former members of the military on Veterans Day (Nov. 11) when it plays host to Jacksonville University in its season opener at the Donald L. Tucker Center. All military veterans and active-duty personnel who present a valid military ID will be given one free admission courtesy of the FSU Department of Athletics as a token of its appreciation for their service to the nation.

“Florida State University strives to be the most veteran-friendly university in the country,” said Florida State Director of Athletics Randy Spetman. “It is an honor to give back to those who have given so much for all of us.”

The Seminoles play host to the Dolphins on Friday, Nov. 11 (Veterans Day), at 7 p.m. in the season opener for both teams. Tickets can be picked up beginning Tuesday morning at the FSU Athletics Ticket Office in University Center C or beginning at 6 p.m. on the day of the game at the Tucker Center box office.

Florida State President Eric J. Barron has created initiatives to make FSU become the most veteran-friendly university in the nation. The efforts are designed to provide support and services to assist veterans in their transition to college and successful pursuit of a degree. The free admission for current military personnel and veterans to the basketball game against Jacksonville ties the athletics department in to the overall mission of the university in this area.

To formally launch the initiatives, a special Veterans Day screening of “Hell and Back Again,” a documentary directed by Danfung Dennis, will be presented at Florida State’s Ruby Diamond Concert Hall on Nov. 11. The film is a 2011 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prizewinner.

“With nearly 25 percent of recently-separated-from-the-military veterans enrolling in college within two years, the need for support and assistance in the transition from military service to college student is obvious,” Barron said. “Although FSU is already recognized as a ‘Military Friendly School,’ we want to do more for our student-veterans, while raising awareness about their educational needs and service to our country among the student body in general.”

A university advisory board recommended establishing the Florida State Veterans Center and hiring a director to oversee the center and its services. Barron appointed the advisory board in spring 2011 after Jared Lyon and other members of the Collegiate Veterans Association approached him about the need for improved support and services for veterans and their dependents at the university.

The connection with the men’s basketball team this year is especially appropriate given that FSU starting forward Bernard James served a six-year term in Iraq, Qatar and the Middle East (2003-08) as a member of the U.S. Air Force. He earned the rank of staff sergeant during his deployment. James is on track to earn his bachelor’s degree in social sciences in April.

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