Pictured above, left to right: Veteran Student of the Year Stephen Montgomery, Superintendent/President Dr. Joi Lin Blake, Governing Board Secretary Mark Evilsizer, Governing Board Trustee Norma Miyamoto, Palomar College Foundation Executive Director Stacy Rungaitis, and Veterans Services Specialist Lejearl Young.

With more than 4,300 military-affiliated students, Palomar College pays tribute to its veterans, active-duty service members and military dependents.

SAN MARCOS — On a picture-perfect day at Palomar, students, officials and guests of the college gathered at the campus veterans memorial to pay tribute to the tens of thousands of military-affiliated students who have pursued their education goals at Palomar during the institution’s 73-year history.

Emceed by Lejearl Young, a Veterans Services Specialist at Palomar, the ceremony included a keynote address by Matt Foster, Commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1513 in Escondido. Also during the ceremony, Stephen Montgomery—who joined the Veterans Services staff at Palomar last year—was honored as Veteran Student of the Year.

“It’s only fitting that we take the opportunity to honor those who have served to protect our freedoms and our rights,” said Palomar College Superintendent/President Dr. Joi Lin Blake. “Today we honor our veterans, we honor their families, and we honor their contributions to our society.”

man playing horn

The Palomar College Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet from Palomar’s Performing Arts Department performed a variety of patriotic songs at the Nov. 7, 2019 ceremony.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Palomar has the second-largest population of veterans using VA benefits of any college or university in the state.

The Palomar College Veterans Resource Center receives thousands of visits from military-affiliated students every semester, providing everything from VA Benefits assistance to counseling and tutoring.

Matt Foster, Commander of VFW Post 1513, salutes during the National Anthem during Palomar’s Veterans Day tribute on Nov. 7.

More military stories on Palomar News:

Meet the military spouse and Palomar student who is serving an internship with Northrop Grumman.
This 25-year veteran of the Marine Corps came to Palomar when he wanted to launch his own business after leaving the service.
“Palomar made it possible for me to earn my transfer degree while raising kids and using VA Benefits,” says another USMC veteran and mother of two.