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President Johnson meets with university’s military-connected students

ROTC tour includes presentation of commendation

Ohio State University President Kristina M. Johnson offered support and gratitude to members of the university military service community during a tour of Converse Hall last week. She also got to extend her appreciation to a quick-thinking Marine.

Johnson spoke to students, staff and supporters of the university’s ROTC programs and met with members of the university's Military and Veterans Services office. She also delivered a commendation medal on behalf of the Department of the Navy to a U.S. Marine who is a student at Ohio State.

Sgt. Jason Day, an enlisted Marine who is part of the university’s Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps unit, was presented with a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. According to the commendation, in June, Day “demonstrated outstanding leadership and initiative by rendering lifesaving aid to an unconscious victim at a local retail store.”

Day noticed a customer in medical distress and began performing chest compressions. He also directed bystanders to exit the store and guide first responders to the victim’s location. The citation notes that such decisive action reflected credit upon him and was in keeping with “the highest traditions of the U.S.Naval service.”

Johnson said she was reminded of a message Ohio State football coach Ryan Day uses to encourage his players: Win the moment.

“I think every day, when you are in a situation that is challenging, it’s that moment that you have to win,” she said. “Then you get another moment, and another moment, and pretty soon, that adds up to a life.”

Day said he was inspired by Johnson’s call for people from ordinary backgrounds to do extraordinary things.

“It’s amazing to have an opportunity to be here at Ohio State. I’m the first person in my family to ever graduate high school, so I’m coming from a fairly ordinary background,” he said. “It’s amazing to see so many diverse people from so many different backgrounds being here today, coming together to make the world a little bit better of a place, each in our own individual ways.”

In addition to presenting the commendation, Johnson held discussions with current students and staff serving the Military and Veterans Services office and ROTC. She discussed research projects with current Tillman Scholar Brandi Wooten, spoke to staff about the Scarlet & Gray Advantage program to provide a debt-free bachelor’s degree, and discussed support programs offered by military-affiliated alumni groups and the National Veterans Leadership Foundation.

At the conclusion of the tour, Johnson was presented with challenge coins from each of the service branches. The medallions carrying the insignia of the military units are a way to recognize the hard work and dedication of team members and supporters.

Ohio State continues to be ranked as one of the top universities serving veterans. Military and Veterans Services acts as a single point of contact for the more than 2,100 military-connected students. 

Earlier this year, the university was awarded the Collegiate Purple Star designation. The designation recognizes public and independent colleges and universities in Ohio that are supportive and inclusive of military-connected students.

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