A Veterans Day message from Air Force veteran and MSU Denver President Janine Davidson, Ph.D.

Nov. 11, 2021

Veterans Day flag plantingToday is Veterans Day, a day to pause and honor the millions of men and women who have served our armed forces. It is a day when those of us who have served are thanked formally and informally by government officials, pundits, friends and family for doing something that for many of us felt perfectly natural – the honor of serving our country.

Yet because our armed forces are based on the principle of civilian control, this gratitude and respect is not something we take for granted. Indeed, it is foundational to the strength and resilience of our democracy. This delicate relationship between our country’s armed forces and the civilians they serve is why I am so dedicated to serving our veteran students and helping them make their transition from uniform to their next adventures.

Having veterans as well as reservists and active military members on our campus pursuing their degrees, along with so many faculty and staff members who are also veterans, enriches our diverse community and is a reminder of what we can accomplish if we pause to get to know each other and work together.

I am extremely proud that so many veterans choose MSU Denver to learn, teach and work. I want to recognize the more than 1,000 Roadrunner veterans, reservists, and active duty military members among our students, faculty and staff who have served in Vietnam, the Balkans, the Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. You have my respect and my gratitude. To those whose partner, child or other family member is a veteran or is currently serving our country: Thank you for your sacrifices and supporting those who serve. You and your families embody the highest of values: duty, discipline, purpose, commitment, courage and service before self.

These values resonate for me now more than ever as we continue to grapple with the immense challenges facing our communities, our nation and the world. We have faced grave challenges and internal division before, and this day is a reminder of what we can overcome.

We mark Veterans Day every Nov. 11 because the major hostilities of the first World War officially ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, ending the “war to end all wars.” The war took nearly 20 million civilian and military lives, and millions more were wounded. Our great- and great-great grandparents faced these epic challenges at the same time the world was reeling from the Great Pandemic, which took an additional 50 million lives. This history is tragic, but it is also a reminder of our collective capacity for resilience.

So, in addition to thanking our veterans for their service today, it is my hope that we take this moment to pause and consider how deciding to serve others and living for a cause greater than oneself – values that are embedded in the fabric or our military and our nation – might fuel our efforts to overcome our differences and face today’s great challenges together.

To all our veterans: Thank you for your service and your continued dedication to our democracy.


Janine Davidson, Ph.D.
President, MSU Denver