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Gannon University proudly hosts Veterans Day celebration

Published: 11/09/2022

American flag flying outside Old Main, Gannon University Erie Campus.

American flag flying outside Old Main, Gannon University Erie Campus.

The cadre and cadets of the “Pride of PA” Army ROTC Battalion at Gannon University will proudly honor those who have served and those who continue to protect our freedoms with a Veterans Day Remembrance Celebration at noon on Thursday, Nov. 10.

The celebration will begin with a Reveille Ceremony conducted by the “Pride of PA” Gannon University ROTC Cadet Color Guard. Gannon University’s Mixed Chorus, under the direction of Michael Malthaner, will perform the National Anthem. 

Click to view photos from the Veterans Day Remembrance Celebration.

Gannon’s Fr. Michael Kesicki, University Chaplain, will deliver the invocation and President Keith Taylor, Ph.D. will also speak to the importance of veterans to Gannon University, our community and nation.

John (Jack) Walter, former Captain in the United States Army, will address attendees as this year’s guest speaker. 

In addition, a wreath will be laid in honor of military members who are currently serving, have served or have given their lives in service to their country. The day’s events concluded with the playing of Taps, the National Song of Remembrance. 

About John (Jack) Walter: John (Jack) Walter was born and raised on the East Side of Buffalo and was the eighth of nine children to Joseph and Frances Walter. His mother was a stay-at-home mom and his dad was a bricklayer. He is a 1960 graduate of St. Matthew’s Grammar School, a 1964 graduate of Canisius High School and January 1969 graduate of Gannon (College) University where he majored in accounting.

While at Gannon, he participated in numerous intramural sports and was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity in which he held the offices of president (Prytanis) and secretary (Grammateus) and also served as house manager and steward. He also was a member of the Army ROTC Advanced Corps.

“The overall environment at Gannon along with Tau Kappa Epsilon were together very important in taking a 17-year-old and molding him into a productive young man,” said Walter. “Gannon was a place that was large enough to offer many choices and opportunities, but, yet small enough to make you feel you were a part of something special. The faculty were always available to assist you outside class and were excellent in their fields of study. Gannon was also a place where you could maintain and grow your faith. 

As a member of the Army ROTC Advanced Corps, Walter not only learned about the military but valuable lessons in leadership. The academics at Gannon combined with the social, athletic, military and religious activities provided an environment which assisted him tremendously in his adult years and still does to this day.

Upon graduation from Gannon in January 1969, he was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Field Artillery. He immediately began working for IBM as a cost accountant in Owego, N.Y. after graduation. In April, he married his wife of 53 years, Janice (Civello). In June, he entered the U.S. Army and two 22-year-olds were off to Fort Sill, Okla. where he went through Officer Basic Training Course in Field Artillery. In October of that same year, Walter left his pregnant wife and went to Vietnam where he proudly served with the First Calvary Division (Airmobile) 1st/21st Artillery until October 1970. In Vietnam he served as an Artillery Forward Observer with an Infantry Company, an Artillery Liaison Officer for an Infantry Battalion and Assistant Executive Officer of his Firing Battery. While in Vietnam, he was part of the Incursion into Cambodia in May and June 1970. He was promoted to first lieutenant while in Cambodia. For Walter’s service in Vietnam, he was awarded the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service, a second Bronze Star with “V” for valor in combat, five Air Medals and the Silver Star.

Walter returned home in October 1970 and was happily reunited with his beautiful wife and family and saw his six-month-old daughter, Jacquelyn, for the first time. He was assigned to Fort Dix, N.J., where he served as the Executive Officer of a Basic Training company until June 1971, which completed his active-duty commitment.

He then entered the U.S. Army reserve and was promoted to Captain in 1973. In March of 1974, Walter decided to end his military career to complete his graduate studies at Canisius College. He received his MBA with a finance concentration in May 1977.

When Walter returned home to Buffalo, N. Y. in June 1971, he spent one year in public accounting with Touche Ross and Co. When he left public accounting, he would spend the next 36 years in the Aerospace and Defense industry. In June 1972, he joined Sierra Research Corporation as a staff accountant and worked there for 17 years holding additional positions of accounting supervisor, accounting manager, assistant controller and eventually controller.

In October 1988, Walter left Sierra Research and joined Calspan Corporation as Controller and remained there for 19 years. During those 19 years, Calspan was merged into Veridian Corporation and eventually was acquired by General Dynamics Corporation in 2003. At his retirement in 2007, he held the position of Vice-President - Controller of a $500 million division. His organization of 80 accountants and professional staff were coast-to-coast. Also while at Calspan, Walter completed the Leadership Buffalo Program as a member of the Class of 1992.

The Walters have three daughters, Jacquelyn Dougherty, Judith Dehn and Mary Colpoys, and 10 wonderful grandchildren Joseph Dougherty (21), Kathleen Dougherty (19), Rosalie Dehn (19), John Dougherty (16), Luke Colpoys (16), Lillian Colpoys (16), Madeline Dehn (15), Peter Dehn (12), Adeline Colpoys (9) and William Colpoys (7).

Click to view photos from the Veterans Day Remembrance Celebration.

All media inquiries can be made by contacting Haley Figurski, Media Relations and Marketing Manager, at 814-823-1886.