Mark Loveless recalls eating a heck of a lot of macaroni and cheese after enrolling at SJSU fresh out of the military.
But not for long. After graduating with a business degree in 1978, Loveless began what became a highly successful 30-year career in accounting and entrepreneurial firms here in the Bay Area.
So it meant a lot when he returned March 14 for the first-ever SJSU Veterans Advisory Committee and Community Partners Scholarship Awards Ceremony.
“Hopefully this will help you buy a few books and the occasional a steak dinner,” Loveless quipped, after presenting a $5,000 scholarship to accounting major Kristopher Vallecer.
In total, seven vets and military personnel who are SJSU students received scholarships ranging in value from $1,000 to $5,000: José Calderon, Justice Studies; Serena Chan, Child and Adolescent Development; David Norman, Business Administration/Management; Patrick Rocero, Occupational Therapy; Dylan Wondra, Behavioral Science; Randy Ray Woods, Earth Science; and Kristopher Vallecer, Accounting.
Donors included the Lovelesses, Mark Farabaugh and Cisco Systems. The event was one of several efforts underway aimed at “creating a more veteran friendly campus,” said Anne Demers, Veterans Advisory Committee chair and assistant professor of health science.
Scholarship criteria included financial need, academic performance, letters of recommendation and personal statements.
The Veterans Students Organization thanked the donors with a surprise gift: a “challenge coin,” traditionally presented by a military leaders to subordinates for special achievements.
Damian Bramlett, a veteran, alumnus and coordinator of the Veterans Adminisration’s VITAL Program at SJSU, explained the coin can mean many things — gratitude, membership, loyalty.
That well reflects the thoughts shared by one scholarship recipient.
“This is the second best thing that’s happened recently,” he said, “with the best thing being going go back to school.”