Inaugural Veterans Day breakfast to spotlight RIT patriots

Student, faculty and staff veterans join in community celebration Nov. 11

Follow RITNEWS on Twitter

Like many of his peers, Lou Spiotti Jr. remembers the 1960s as a “tumultuous time” in America. Domestic unrest was magnified by concerns over an escalating conflict in Vietnam. It quickly became clear to Spiotti that he belonged to a generation called to war.

“It was a war that a lot of people didn’t understand,” he recalls, “but our young people who were asked to fight did, regardless of what people around them were saying.”

Upon graduating from Ithaca College, Spiotti went on to spend six years with the U.S. Navy. Today, as RIT’s executive director of intercollegiate athletics and recreation, he is among a contingent of faculty, staff and students on campus with a history of service to our country’s armed forces. Next month, the university will take time to express its appreciation to these patriots.

On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, RIT hosts its inaugural Veterans Day Recognition and Celebration. The breakfast event, scheduled for 8 to 10 a.m. in the Gordon Field House and Activities Center, pays tribute to individuals who serve or have served honorably in uniform.

According to Barry Culhane, executive assistant to President Bill Destler and chair of the event committee, RIT boasts a long history of accommodating the educational needs of returning veterans, dating back to the end of World War II. He says creating an annual on-campus event to accompany the national observance of Veterans Day is another way to acknowledge the service of all veterans affiliated with RIT.

“We do not take our freedoms in America for granted, and it is those among us who wear the uniform of the military that protect these freedoms at home and around the world,” states Culhane. “For that, we are deeply grateful.”

Members of the campus community who have sons, daughters, parents or other relatives serving in uniform will also be acknowledged at the celebration. The program includes memorabilia on display from various branches of the armed forces as well as videotaped reflections from U.S. military personnel and their families.

Spiotti is among those to share his thoughts for the video. He hopes the entire event becomes as an educational enterprise.

“I think it sends a message to the community—faculty, staff and students alike—that these things are important, understanding what it takes to serve and how important it is for this country to have people who are willing to serve.”

All members of the campus community are invited to attend the Veterans Day Recognition and Celebration. For more information, contact Heather Cottone at 475-7500 or