SJC Long Island honored service members past and present during its annual Veterans Day Celebration in the McGann Conference Center during common hour Wednesday, Nov. 10.
“To the students, faculty and staff of St. Joseph’s College who have served and sacrificed, we thank you and we welcome you home,” said Erin D’Eletto, director of the campus’ Office of Military and Veteran Services.
During the ceremony, the College recognized the inaugural recipient of the U.S. Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy Scholarship, named after the Patchogue native and was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2005.
“Michael’s favorite saying was, ‘Education will set you free,'” said Murphy’s father Daniel, who founded the scholarship. “It was really important to him because he believed education removes preconceived notions, prejudice, and judging people by their looks. It was really important for us to remember that, and that’s kind of where the scholarship foundation started.”
Student veteran Sr. Airman Crystal Bombaci, recipient of the 2021-22 scholarship, serves in the Security Forces Squadron with the 106th Rescue Wing Air National Guard Base.
A Shirley resident and a member of an SJC Legacy family, Bombaci is a sophomore at SJC Long Island pursuing a bachelor’s degree in speech. She received $2,500 for the 2021-22 academic year.
“This scholarship is an honor to Lt. Murphy,” St. Joseph’s President Donald R. Boomgaarden, Ph.D., said. “If you’re in a position of leadership, your job is of course to follow orders. But sometimes you have to go beyond that. And certainly, Lt. Murphy went far beyond that.”
The event was the second of three throughout Veterans Awareness Week, which kicked off Monday with a student veterans panel.