We are writing this letter on behalf of the veterans of WG ‘16 to say thank you to our awesome classmates. For readers unaware of what occurred, on the morning of November 12, every vet in the class of 2016 received an email that made their day. On behalf of his civilian peers, Andrew Checketts emailed us veterans, informing us that our classmates chipped in nearly $8,500 to get us all Pub memberships. We are truly grateful for everyone involved in this initiative.
Even before the gift was announced, we felt lucky to have such a supportive class. Former Marine Corps Officer Dan Ludmir says it perfectly: “I remember first really starting to get to know people at the Cluster Olympics. And between then and now, I’ve felt really happy to be here. Everyone is not only supportive, but super smart and fun. I feel like I’m not only growing as a professional, but making tons of friends-for-life.” The same sentiment has been expressed by all of us at one point or another – these words made all the more meaningful coming from a group of people not particularly known for talking about their feelings.
Moreover, a feeling of belonging is something many veterans outside of Wharton lack. It’s been well-documented that many former military miss the camaraderie they felt in the service (check out Sebastian Junger’s amazing TED talk if you are more interested in this). Because of our tight bonds, not only to each other, but with our entire MBA class, we feel we have an uncommon fellowship with our classmates.
This is not only due to the convivial nature of Wharton ’16, but also due to amazing gestures such as our peers going out of their way to collect thousands of dollars to show their appreciation. This “small gesture… of… gratitude and admiration” meant a great deal to us. As said by former Special Forces Captain Mike Kay, “We were all very moved and humbled by the generosity of our classmates. Their incredible gesture is representative of the sense of community here at Wharton that most of us didn’t expect to find after we left the military.” When we think of our brothers and sisters in arms who did not make it back, or who returned with serious injuries and financial hardship, we realize how lucky we are to be part of such a strong and supportive community.
With this in mind, the WG’16 ex- soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and veterans from outside the US would like to formally and publicly thank our amazing classmates for their incredible and heartfelt gift. This “small gesture” was a big deal to us. We are grateful not only for the discount on Pub membership, but for the high-caliber of people with we will be enjoying that membership with.