A veteran himself, Roach said that he’s always had soft spot for those who have served in the military. He served in the Marine Corps from 1972 to 1975, a timewhen vets were not treated as well as they are now.
“Most of the people who served during the time I served were looked down upon,” said Roach. “It’s actually great and heartwarming to see how vets are treated now.”
Indeed times have changed. The Rose Hill campus’ ROTC faced intense protests during the Vietnam War, although such opposition had largely cooled down by the time Roach entered the service, he said. He hopes his high visibility at Rose Hill will provide a counterbalance to Frank’s leadership at the Lincoln Center campus.
“It’s nice to have a chairperson at each campus,” said Frank. “The vets are very organized at Lincoln Center and we want to get them better organized at Rose Hill.”
Among other things, there will be a renewed effort to find more space for the vets. Right now, veterans have a space at Fordham’s new offices at 45 Columbus Avenue, but nothing at Rose Hill. Once a space is identified, it will also sport new furnishings from Home Depot, thanks to a $9,000 grant from the Student Veterans of America’s VetCenter Initiative.
Roach said the new school year represents an opportunity for him to “listen, learn,and then hopefully lead,” adding that the University is fortunate to have vets in the classroom.
“It’s good for the general student population to be sitting next to someone who says, ‘Look, I’ve served X amount of years in the military in Iraq or Afghanistan,’” he said.“It brings balance to a discussion, whether they’re talking about history or political science.
“And if you think about men and women for others, obviously by serving in the military you’re willing to put your life on the line for other people. So I think it fits well with our Jesuit philosophy and mission.”