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Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 09/08/09 • Media Contact: Susan Knapp (603) 646-3661
Dartmouth President Emeritus James Wright (left) with then-VFW national commander Glen Gardner at the awards ceremony in August. (photo courtesy of the VFW)
Dartmouth’s President Emeritus James Wright has received the Commander-in-Chief’s Gold Medal of Merit from the Veterans of Foreign Wars at their annual national convention. At a ceremony in Phoenix, Ariz., on August 18, Wright accepted the honor from then-VFW national commander, Glen Gardner.
“It was very special to be recognized by the VFW with this honor,” said Wright. “My father joined the VFW after World War II and was a member of the Galena, Illinois, VFW post for the rest of his life.”
First awarded in 1952, the Commander-in-Chief Medal of Merit is presented to an individual for exceptional services rendered to country, community and mankind. Wright, a former U.S. Marine, has been an advocate for soldiers wounded in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, encouraging them to go to college. He first visited wounded Marines in 2005, and since then he has offered advice and counseling to dozens of veterans. He worked with the American Council on Education (ACE) to establish a college counseling service at Bethesda, Walter Reed, Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, and Balboa Naval Medical Center.
For these activities he has been recognized as an ABC-TV News “Person of the Week” and as the New England Council’s 2007 “New Englander of the Year.” He was honored with the President’s Award of the Council of College and Military Educators and with the “Semper Fidelis” award of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has publicly acknowledged his work on behalf of veterans, and news stories about this work have been presented by The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, and the VFW Magazine.
Wright worked with Senators Jim Webb, John Warner, and Chuck Hagel on language for the GI Bill that was passed by Congress and signed by President Bush in June 2008. His interest, successfully met, was to provide a means for private institutions to partner with the U.S. Veterans Affairs Administration in supporting veterans who matriculated at these institutions.
“The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States was exceedingly pleased to recognize Dr. Wright for his dedication and compassion for those who have borne the brunt of battle,” said Jerry Newberry, Director of VFW Communications. “He is truly a remarkable human being.”
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Last Updated: 1/6/10