University of Rochester

A Salute to the University's Veterans

  • photo of sally bigler

    Sallye Bigler, Registered Nurse, Perioperative Services

    Sallye Bigler was a reservist in the Air Force for 21 years with a combat support unit based in Niagara Falls. During Operation Desert Storm, she was sent to New Jersey to help set up a 25-bed hospital and prepare to receive casualties when the war ended. "Being mobilized was hard but we were a team and we were together," Bigler says about her "close-knit" unit. "Many others who went to the desert had it much, much harder. I am proud to have been able to serve my country in any capacity. An added bonus was the friendships made along the way."
  • photo of Juan Canto

    Juan Canto, Human Resources Representative, River Campus

    Juan Canto says the 21 years he spent with the Army taught him "focus, discipline, respect, and most importantly, honor." Canto joined the Army after high school and went on to serve 16 years in the reserves and 5 years on active duty. A quartermaster in supply and logistics, Canto served in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait from October 1990 to April 1991 with the 101st Airborne Division from Ft. Campbell, Ky., during Operation Desert Storm. "It was exciting, interesting, and scary all wrapped into one," he says. Canto received the meritorious service medal when he retired in 2007 as a first sergeant.
  • photo of Rory Hamilton

    Rory Hamilton '14

    Rory Hamilton says serving the Army was more than just a job for him—it was a "life-altering experience. I felt compelled to give something back to my country which has given so many opportunities to me," he says. "Serving was about being a part of something bigger than myself." Hamilton was a combat medic in Germany for four years and he was deployed to Iraq as part of the surge for 15 months. His unit helped stabilize some of the most volatile areas of the country, an experience that helped Hamilton "grow as a person in a way that no other experience could."
  • photo of Jesse Kinsella

    Jesse Kinsella '12

    Jesse Kinsella enlisted in the Navy shortly after graduating from high school in 2002. After training and assignments in Florida, he was sent to the Brunswick, Maine, Naval Air Station. There, he was part of multiple detachments to Afghanistan and Djibouti. Kinsella says the military gave him the confidence to succeed. "The situations and pressures I faced cannot be duplicated in the civilian world; I am better equipped today when faced with stressful situations," he says.
  • photo of Rich Marsland

    Rich Marsland, Information Technology Specialist, University IT

    Rich Marsland joined the Army in 1985 and served for 22 years until he retired from active duty in September 2007. During that time, his work with the Army in electronics maintenance took him to West Germany, South Korea, Germany, Ft. Lewis in Washington, Ft. Drum in New York, and to Afghanistan, where he served with the 10th Mountain Division from March 2006 to June 2007. "Having seen a lot of different cultures, it's made me appreciate those cultures and to appreciate what we have here," he says.
  • Photo of Suzanne VanDeursen

    Suzanne VanDeursen, Registered Nurse, Perioperative Services

    Suzanne VanDeursen enlisted in the Marines in 1988 and served in motor transportation until 1990. She was recalled for the the Gulf War in 1991. Looking back on her service, VanDeursen says her time in the military is "what gave me my drive and focus. You get a lot of discipline."
  • Photo of Bernard Weiss

    Bernard Weiss, Professor of Environmental Medicine

    Bernard Weiss was a radio operator and gunner aboard B-24 bombers for the Air Force in the Pacific theater during World War II. Weiss, who fought in the Philippines, Okinawa, and Japan from 1943 to 1945, says his experience in the war matured him. "I grew up," he says. "It's an experience that colors the way I see the world."

In honor of Veterans Day, we highlight a few veterans from the University community. They are among many at the University who have bravely fought for our country throughout the years. University support for student veterans also was the focus of an announcement late October, reauthorizing the Yellow Ribbon Program and Rochester Pledge Scholarship, which provide full tuition to student veterans. Photos by J. Adam Fenster