Purple Heart Recipient to Speak at UA Veterans Association Banquet

Evan Van Nostrand, UA alumnus and two-time recipient of the Purple Heart, will deliver the keynote address at the UA Campus Veterans Association annual scholarship and awards banquet Friday night.

It takes careful and detailed planning to operate a top-flight football program, and Evan Van Nostrand is working to relay that message to military veterans at The University of Alabama.

Van Nostrand is a retired Marine, two-time Purple Heart recipient, UA alumnus and athletics intern in strength and conditioning for the UA football program, where, he says, everything is “well thought-out and planned.” The structure is similar to the daily routine of military service, but it’s often lost once men and women separate from the military. And it can be even more difficult to recapture on a college campus, Van Nostrand said.

“Sometimes you lose some of that planning because you’re not using it all the time, like you were in the military,” he said. “I want to help our vets with the business model of adapting to being a normal human being again.”

Van Nostrand is serving as a co-faculty adviser for the UA Campus Veterans Association, a group affiliated with the UA Office of Veteran and Military Affairs, where he helps dependents and student veterans with UA and federal benefits. He believes the military “should be a learning platform and tool to use the rest of your life to make you successful.”

Van Nostrand will share that same message with a broader audience Friday, April 13, during the CVA’s annual awards and scholarship banquet at Hotel Capstone. Van Nostrand, a veteran of two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, will deliver the keynote address.

The event is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased here.

Ticket revenues help fund a variety of CVA events and initiatives throughout the academic year. The CVA has roughly 300 members, and many are involved in programs designed to tackle specific, veterans-related issues at UA. For instance, Veterans in Business is a student veteran organization that helps with professional development and to help veterans acclimate into corporate America.

CVA members also partner with non-military campus organizations to raise money for CVA projects and scholarships. The CVA recently worked with Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity to raise money for the Corbyn Wile Memorial Award and Scholarship, given annually to a military dependent or veteran who has “exhibited a dedication, through friendship and service, to the veteran and military community at UA.” Wile, a former military dependent and UA student, died in 2013 after battling cancer.

Friday, the CVA also will present the Mark Forester Memorial Award, which honors the late UA alumnus and Air Force combat controller, and the Col. Pryce Memorial Award, which honors Vietnam veteran and former UA School of Social Work faculty member, Col. David Hilsman Pryce.

“We help veterans transition to the civilian world, but we also provide a family to vets and dependents,” said Mitchell E. Baygents, UA student and CVA treasurer. “It’s almost like a fraternity for veterans in the college world.”

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.