Biola honors servicemembers on Veterans Day

Biola celebrates student, staff and faculty veterans.


CHIMES (file) Photo by AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

U.S. Navy sailor Clifford Mann Jr. salutes as the colors are retired during a Veterans Day commemoration at Arlington National Cemetery.

Dalet Valles, News Editor

On Nov. 11, many around the nation honored and thanked veterans for serving in the U.S. military, whose branches include the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Air Force. Biola University celebrated the student, staff and faculty veterans along with veterans’ families. 


Raquel McLeod, a career specialist for the Career Center, served for eight years in the U.S. Army in which she was part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. McLeod first joined the army at the age of 19 but was deployed to Jordan at 21 after 9/11.

McLeod was deployed twice and worked closely with other military branches during her time in the Army. She shared that her time in the military impacted her life significantly. 

“My second deployment, I got to see some things that really made me appreciate everything else that I thought I did not appreciate,” she said. “Those perspectives came many years after I got out of the military.”

McLeod left the Army when she got married and soon continued her education, which she paused for her deployment. She joined the Biola staff over a year ago, where she connected with the community of veterans. 

“When I came to Biola, that was an easy community for me,” McLeod said. “I get to be on a campus where I know there are veterans, where there is a space where I can go find them.” 

Despite having to work on Veterans Day, McLeod takes the day to reflect on her service and how she can have an impact on veterans and people who connect with veterans now that she is back home. 

“[Veterans Day] is a reflective day for me,” she said. “It is a day for me to say, ‘Thank you for that opportunity. Thank you for bringing me home. I was one of the lucky ones that got to come home. Let me see how I can help somebody else.’”


Along with the population of veterans at Biola, the university also acknowledges military dependents. Emily Propst, a senior communications major, is a dependent of two veterans: her mother, who served four years in the Air Force, and her father, who served 26 years in the Air Force. Propst works in the Veteran Center, where she serves a community that she is familiar with. 

“As a dependent and with that appreciation for the military, I work at Biola’s Veteran Center,” she said. “I am able to help serve the veterans that attend Biola, give them resources that they need, provide a space where they feel like they can belong and create programs for them to get involved.”

Though Propst is not a veteran, her relation to two veterans has made Veterans Day special for her and her family. 

“Veterans Day has meant so much to me and my family,” Propst said. “It is a day where we get to recognize those who have served us and a day where I get to recognize my parents’ sacrifice for the country and me and my brother. For some, Veterans Day is not a happy day. It is a day of remembrance, memorial and honor.”

Propst expressed that being able to serve those who have served is an honor and a privilege. The Veteran Center became a family for her as well as a place to cultivate community.


Biola veterans shared their stories during Wednesday’s Image of God chapel. McLeod reflected on her time in the Army before introducing the two student speakers: Army Veteran Evan Tosunian, a Veteran Center staff and business administration major, and Navy Veteran Issac Velasquez, a psychology major. During the chapel, Jen Alvarez, Assistant Director of Veteran and Military Affiliated Student Programs, shared information about Veteran Services at Biola. 


In 2019, Biola opened the Veteran Center, which continues to provide a community space for veterans. Currently, there are 120 veteran students in the undergraduate population along with some veterans on staff. 

“The veteran center is just welcoming,” McLeod said. “It is a great idea to have a space.”

The Veteran Center offers community groups to Veterans and Military Affiliated students and also has a lending library where veteran students can check out books for the semester. All veterans are welcome to the Veteran Center located in the upper Student Union Building.

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