Maryville College celebrated Veterans’ Day with several events on campus. The keynote speaker was retired U.S. Air Force Capt. William A. “Bill” Robinson, a Vietnam veteran and the longest held enlisted prisoner of war in American history. He spoke in the Lambert Recital Hall, Clayton Center at 3:30 p.m.
Robinson’s helicopter was shot down during a rescue mission in Sept. 1965. He spent the next seven and-a-half years as a prisoner of war. In 1973, he returned to the United States where he was only one of three enlisted men to receive a “field” commission as an officer. After returning, he served as an Air Force maintenance officer.
During his career, he received some of the highest awards in the military including the Air Force Cross, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and twenty other awards and metals. He retired in 1983 and now lives in Madisonville, Tennessee. The Maryville College Lads ensemble provided special music for the occasion.
All-day between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. the public was invited to Bartlett hall for coffee, cookies, and to learn more about veteran students. The Military Student Center itself was open to the public from 1-3 p.m.
The public was asked to support the Student Veterans Association programs through the Adam Peppers Memorial Pecan Sale. Peppers, a former SVA president, passed away last year and his family donated a pecan tree in his memory. The pecan tree is planted near the Crawford House on campus. Proceeds will go toward student veteran programs.