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Veterans worthy of our thanks

Submitted by on November 2, 2009 – 2:45 pmNo Comment

Dr.-Norman-Stephens-wideDear Colleagues,

At the time, it was called The Great War, and President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as Armistice Day to commemorate the cessation of hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany.  World War I, “the war to end all wars,” ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, even though the Treaty of Versailles was not signed for another seven months.  In 1926, Congress passed a concurrent resolution requiring “the anniversary to be celebrated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through goodwill and mutual understanding between nations.” 

In 1938, an act of Congress officially declared Armistice Day as a legal holiday — “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace.” After World War II, Congress amended the act and replaced “Armistice” with “Veterans,” and thereafter this day has been set aside to honor all American veterans.  President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Veterans Day proclamation on Nov. 11, 1954. Things got rather confusing after another Congress passed the Uniform Holiday Bill in 1968, moving Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day to Mondays to encourage three-day weekends for federal employees. Because of the historic significance of the Veterans Day and because most of the states refused to honor the change, President Gerald Ford returned Veterans Day to Nov. 11 1978, where it remains to this day.

Regardless of when and how it is celebrated, Veterans Day is a time to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism and their willingness to sacrifice to preserve our freedom and our way of life.  I hope you will join us on Nov. 11 at the flagpole on the Highlands Campus for an appropriate recognition of our veterans. 

In September, we received official notification from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) that we are scheduled to begin our decennial review in anticipation of action on reaffirmation of accreditation by the Commission on Colleges in June 2012.  We have been invited to send our leadership team to an orientation session in Atlanta in January.  The commission dictates that the leadership team be comprised of no more than five people, including the chief academic and financial officers, our SACS liaison, a faculty member, and the president. The SFCC leadership team includes Dr. Deborah Milliken, Erik Christensen, Dr. Leana Revell, Glenn Little, and me. Much work has been done, but even more remains to be done as we prepare for this peer review process.  Everyone will have an opportunity to be involved.  

We’ve made our United Way goal of $12,000, although as of this writing I don’t have the final figure. Thanks to your support, this represents a large increase over last year.  I’m still handing out Panther Spirit pins, and by the time I’m finished, almost 100 employees will be acknowledged for being members of the Florida Association of Community Colleges (FACC) and giving to both the SFCC Foundation and United Way.  This is fantastic news.

Only a few days remain until the deadline for nominations for 2009 President’s Awards.  Please don’t forget to nominate your colleagues and others who deserve this recognition.  We’ll announce the recipients at our annual holiday luncheon in December. 

 Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

 Norm Stephens

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