Westminster Students Raise Funds for Campus Veterans Memorial

A member of the Disabled American Veterans, left, presented a check to Kelsie Slaughter ’20 and Dr. Mark Boulton at the Veterans Memorial 5K during Alumni Weekend 2019 in April. The funds go toward a new memorial designed to honor Westminster’s veterans and military personnel. Slaughter is spearheading fundraising efforts.

By History Department Chair Dr. Mark Boulton

Throughout the last year, Westminster students have raised money for a new campus memorial which will honor the College’s veterans and military personnel. The memorial was the idea of students who went on the Vietnam Travel Study course in May 2018. History senior Kelsie Slaughter spearheaded the effort after researching the seven Westminster alumni who were killed in Vietnam.

Slaughter says, “After coming back from the trip, we wanted to do something permanent for our servicemen and women so that future Westminster students would know about the leaders who emerged from their college.”

Working with History Department Chair Dr. Mark Boulton, the students formed the Westminster Veterans Memorial Committee and began the memorial planning. The goal is to dedicate the area between Reeves Library and Hunter Activities Center as “Veterans Plaza.”

On the largest of the three planting areas — the one nearest HAC — will house a bronze battle cross to commemorate every fallen Blue Jay. The battle cross will have words engraved on the granite base to that effect. The goal is for this to be a solemn place where we can hold Veterans Day events and other military ceremonies. Inside HAC, adjacent to the Veterans Plaza, there is an atrium of about 16 feet x 14 feet in which we want to make a small Veterans Museum. Here, we hope to place museum-quality glass cases with rotating displays celebrating our veterans’ service. This can include write-ups of individual veterans, recognition of different types of service, and memorabilia from our veterans (uniforms, field packs, etc.). Interested students, particularly those from the History Department and Museum Studies program, will then curate it moving forward.

The Memorial Committee has received terrific support from the community with contributions from downtown Fulton businesses and the local chapters of the VFW and the Disabled American Veterans, or DAV. An on-campus 5k run/walk over Alumni Weekend last April raised more than $4,000. Since then, generous donations from some of our Westminster veterans have increased the total to $10,000. The students hope to have the memorial built in time to be dedicated on Veterans Day in November of this year but are still some way short of the $18,000 total they need to begin construction. They will continue fundraising throughout the fall, but they are asking our alumni to help out if they can.

If you are a veteran or would like to contribute to this cause, they are eager to solicit further donations, no matter how large or small. The students ask that you consider donating, and please pass this information along to anyone you think can help.

Slaughter adds, “We really hope to make this work. This memorial is long overdue. We have an incredible history of service and sacrifice at Westminster and the more we recognize that, the more we will inspire our current and future students to honor that legacy.”

Donations can be made in honor of the memory of a specific veteran, and the memorial will include a Wall of Honor to recognize any individual or organization making a donation of $1,000 or more.

To make a gift online donation, please go here and select “Westminster Veterans Memorial Project” from the drop-down menu. Checks also can be mailed to 501 Westminster Ave., Fulton, MO 65251. Please make checks payable to Westminster College with “Westminster Veterans Memorial Project” noted in the memo line.

If you have any questions or suggestions, the committee welcomes feedback. Feel free to contact Dr. Mark Boulton at mark.boulton@westminster-mo.edu.

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.