Honoring Those Who Served: Gannon University Commemorates Veterans Day

Posted: November 8, 2017

Gannon University will honor those who served their country in America's armed forces with a salute to veterans on Thursday, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m. in the Yehl Room of the Waldron Campus Center, 124 W. Seventh St. The public is welcome to attend the event. Attendance by veterans and their families is particularly encouraged.

Guest speaker for the annual Veterans Day salute will be retired Erie County Judge and retired Maj. Gen. Michael E. Dunlavey.

The salute will begin with a presentation of the colors by the "Pride of PA" Battalion of the Gannon University Army ROTC program. Gannon President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., will offer welcoming remarks at a fallen warriors ceremony in honor of prisoners of war and personnel missing in action that will be presented by the American Legion Millcreek Post 773.

In addition, the names of Gannon military members who gave their lives in service to their country will be read and a wreath will be laid. The ceremony will also include a three-round volley salute by members of Post 773. A reception will follow.

The events are being organized by retired Lt. Col. Ronald K. Swift, Gannon University's veterans financial aid and enrollment counselor. Swift works with veterans interested in attending Gannon and helps them apply the benefits they are eligible for as a result of their service.

Gannon is a participating university in the Yellow Ribbon Program, established by the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. The program allows colleges and universities to voluntarily work with the Department of Veterans Affairs to fund tuition and fee expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition and fee rate in their state.

Gannon also offers an Army ROTC program and is the host university for the "Pride of PA" Battalion. The program offers specialized leadership training through both course work and related activities. ROTC also allows cadets to develop the qualities essential to success in any military or civilian career, including physical stamina, self-discipline and poise.

About retired Erie County Judge and retired Maj. Gen. Michael E. Dunlavey:

Dunlavey graduated from the University Of Notre Dame in 1967. He entered active duty in the Army serving in Germany and Vietnam. He joined the USAR during law school and commanded soldiers at multiple levels. He was selected as DCG of the Army's Intelligence and Security Command, and the Army's Assistant Deputy CoS for Intelligence. After promotion to major general, he was chosen by NSA Director Mike Hayden to be his assistant at NSA Headquarters. After Sept. 11, 2001, Dunlavey was recalled to active duty and was personally chosen by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in 2002 to create an interrogation system at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He concluded his military career in April of 2004.

Dunlavey received his J.D. from the State University of New York in Buffalo and established a private practice in Erie, Pennsylvania. He later served as Assistant District Attorney and Assistant Public Defender for Erie County. He was elected as a judge of the PA Court of Common Pleas for the 6th Judicial District in November 1999. He authorized a number of precedent setting opinions during his tenure as a strong advocate of the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitution. He was also highly instrumental in the establishment of a Veterans Court for Erie County. He retired from the bench in August 2012.

He remains active in retirement as a consulting expert in cybersecurity and belongs to a number of organizations supporting veterans. He has received many distinguished military career and civilian awards. He humbly considers his greatest accomplishment and reward is being blessed by four wonderful children, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.