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News: Veteran Wave kickoff Nov. 11, former Roane State president is keynote speaker

October 27, 2021

Retired U.S. Army Col. Dr. Gary Goff, former president of Roane State, will be the keynote speaker on Veterans Day, November 11, during a ceremony at 11 a.m. in front of the community college’s O’Brien Building on the Roane County Campus.

Sponsored American flags will be on display thanks to the new “Veteran Wave” project, and the public is invited. In the event of rain, the ceremony will be held inside the O’Brien Theatre.

Dr. Goff retired from the Army after 30 years of service and served as Roane State’s president from 2005 to 2012.

The “Veteran Wave” event is part of a collaborative project by Roane State and its Office of Veteran Services. Sponsored American flags – each one representing a veteran – will be displayed periodically for two years.

The displays are scheduled for one week around Veterans Day 2021 and 2022 and from Memorial Day through July 4th in 2022 and 2023. The flags can be displayed at any of Roane State’s nine campuses, with the location chosen by the sponsor.

The deadline for sponsorships to be included with this year’s Veterans Day display is Friday, October 29.

Sponsorship of a 3-foot by 5-foot flag is $75 and includes a 10-foot-tall display pole and a dog tag style marker to identify the veteran and sponsor. Corporate sponsorships are also available.

A $1,500 “Bald Eagle” sponsorship has been made by members of VFW Post 6598 of Harriman. Members will be in attendance at the Nov. 11 ceremony.

Current Roane State President Dr. Chris Whaley called the project “a way for the college to show support for veterans who are members of our campus community as well as other local heroes who have served in the military.”

Flags will be stored at Roane State when not on display. At the end of two years, each flag can either be claimed by the respective sponsor or retired with honors. Proper flag retirement will be handled by the Office of Veterans Affairs and area volunteers.

“We are proud to help honor local veterans for their service,” said Dr. Diane Ward, Roane State’s vice president of student learning and one of the project’s organizers. “We hope our community will help support the Veteran Wave effort, either through flag sponsorships, volunteered time or by helping us spread the word.”

For more information, contact Tamsin Miller, special assistant to President Whaley, at or (865) 882-4640. Project details are also available online at

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