FSU dedicates Veterans Services Center to University alumnus Capt. Michael Haskell

Several administrators and and community members, including Board of Trustees Chair and FSU alumnus Kevin Foley (left), U.S. Marine and FSU alumnus Warren Griffin (second from right), and FSU President F. Javier Cevallos (right) cut the ribbon outside of the new Veterans Services Center in Dwight Hall 113 Nov. 12. (Donald Halsing / THE GATEPOST)

FSU dedicated the Michael Haskell Veterans Services Center in Dwight Hall in room 113 Nov.12.

Many current and former service members were in attendance for the event.

The ceremony began with an introduction from FSU President F. Javier Cevallos, who spoke about the life of Capt. Haskell.

Haskell, a Massachusetts native, enlisted in the Marine Corps after he graduated from Westborough High School.

His first assignment was as a rifleman and radioman with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines. 

In 1969, he was transferred to the 3rd Marine Division, serving in Vietnam as a mortar section leader, platoon sergeant, and platoon commander with 1st Battalion, 9th Marines.

In April 1971, Haskell attended drill instructor school, graduating with honors. Nine months later, he was meritoriously promoted to Staff Sergeant. He served as ADI for four platoons, and SDI for seven platoons.

When he left the service in 1973, Haskell returned home to attend Framingham State, where he played varsity hockey. 

Haskell graduated summa cum laude from Framingham State in 1976 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant.

In December, he entered the basic school at Quantico, Virginia, and graduated 6th out of 235 students. He also received the Marine Corps Association’s Leadership Award. 

Haskell was later assigned to 1st Battalion, 8th Marines Barracks in Washington D.C., where he completed a master’s degree at Georgetown University.  

On Oct. 23, 1983, Haskell was killed in the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, Lebanon. He was later awarded the Purple Heart and was buried in Quantico National Cemetery. 

FSU alumnus Warren Griffin and U.S. Marine Captain Stephanie G. Hebda’s remarks followed Cevallos’.

Griffin’73, said, “Captain Haskell was a remarkable individual. It’s wonderful that the school even has a Veterans Center, but to also have the center be named after such an extraordinary Marine, as well an outstanding FSU graduate, is really something.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the dedication of the center took place after the ceremony.

Many current and former student veterans agreed FSU’s Veterans Services Center is a vital piece to life for veterans on campus after service. 

Junior Chris Greenwood said, “I think it’s great that our school offers a Veterans Services Center for us on campus. I don’t personally use the center for homework too often, but I think it’s a great resource for my fellow service members. 

“Captain Haskell’s story is certainly one that inspires me as a student-athlete and a veteran,” he said. 

Junior Zak Peters, vice president of the Student Veterans Club, said, “A lot of the stories from the ceremony were very touching to me. I think its quintessential to have a place on campus for veterans where they can do schoolwork and have a space to freely work.” 

Peters added, “A lot of veterans don’t feel like they are part of the regular student body, so it’s kind of nice to have a place where you can go and blend in at the University and feel more welcome.”

Veteran Students Program Coordinator Jacquelyn Wolf said, “We’ve had a Veterans Service Center for about two years – after our student veterans asked for a center – and we were luckily granted one. The first space we were granted was more temporary, and now, we are told this one will be more permanent.”

Wolf added, “A lot of the veteran community from outside the University came in when we had our grand opening and sparked a lot of interest in the veteran community locally. One of our alums came to me about a year ago with the idea of naming the Veterans Services Center after Captain Michael Haskell.

 “We have roughly 260 veteran-related students on campus. That includes veterans or close family members of veterans, such as a husband, wife, son, or daughter.”

Senior Andy Nguyen said, “It’s nice that the University has a lounge for me and my fellow veterans. It’s really great to have a place on campus where you can go and socialize with other veterans and hear their stories and see how they relate to your own.”   

Nguyen added, “I think it’s really cool that the school can recognize veterans by naming the Veterans Services Center after someone who really embodied the hardships that we veterans are often faced with.”

Senior James Henderson said, “When you first get out, it can be rough, so it’s nice to have a place where you can gather with other like-minded people. I always think about other vets and the guys that came before me and those that came after me.” 

He added, “The WWII vets weren’t as welcoming to the Vietnam vets oftentimes, so it’s important to keep in mind to be there for your fellow veterans.”

[Editor’s note: Ashley Wall and Donald Halsing contributed to this article.]