Mary Galvan, newly-appointed Military and Veteran Student Services Coordinator at Marymount University, wants to use her experience growing up in a Navy family to advocate for the military community on campus.
As part of her new mission, Galvan has been busy preparing for Military/Veteran Appreciation Week, which kicks off with a noon Mass on Monday, Nov. 6. The week honors past and present service members and will conclude with MUs annual Veterans Day Luncheon on Friday, Nov. 10.
We provide GI Bill benefits for anyone who is eligible, Galvan said. But I want to reach out to the rest of the military community even those who dont receive benefits and let them know that were here for them.
Galvan was born in Virginia Beach and her father was a naval aviator who flew P-3 Orion sub hunters. The family moved with his assignments, which included stops in Brunswick, Maine, and Pax River, Maryland. He retired as a captain. A grandfather and an uncle were three star admirals.
My family, going back generations, has been in the military and thats all Ive known, said Galvan, a 2012 Marymount graduate with a degree in health sciences.
She also knows the hardships military families can experience. A great uncle was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, an uncle was lost at sea in his fighter jet, and an aunt who was a Navy doctor died in an auto accident.
I want students who are military family members to know that Im here for them and that I understand their situation, she said. Ill be able to be with them, not just to process their benefits but to advocate for their needs. Its what Im passionate about.
Her husband, Nicolas Galvan, is a Naval Academy graduate and a captain in the Marine reserves. He works for the Department of Defense as a logistics analyst at the Pentagon. While on active duty, he was stationed at Camp Pendleton and the couple lived in California for four years.
Galvan graduated from St. Marys Ryken, a Catholic high school in Leonardtown, Maryland, and planned to attend the Naval Academy until, during a summer visit, she realized she didnt feel the pull shed anticipated. Instead, she chose Marymount, which was recommended by her mother, who had attended for a semester and loved the school.
Faith is very important to me and here youre surrounded by that, she said.
Galvan began her new job on Sept. 13 and has already lined up a full slate of campus activities for Military/Veteran Appreciation week:
- Monday, Nov. 6: Recognition Day will include a noon Mass to honor past and present service members at the Sacred Heart of Mary Chapel on Marymounts main campus. A memorial board will be outside Gerard Hall 1020.
- Tuesday, Nov. 7: Volunteers will write letters to deployed service members as part of Operation Gratitude.
- Wednesday, Nov. 8: Family Member Appreciation Day will feature a spouse/dependent forum at 6 p.m. in Gerard Private Dining Hall.
- Thursday, Nov. 9: Volunteers will prep care packages for deployed service members on Any Soldier Day.
- Friday, Nov. 10: A United States Marine Corps birthday cake-cutting ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. in Gerard Hall 1020. The Veterans Day luncheon is at noon in Gerard Dining Hall and will feature a talk by retired Navy Capt. Bob Novak, vice president of Navy Programs Electronic Systems Sector, BAE Systems. It will also include a veterans recognition ceremony.