Kaskaskia – The
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) recognized Dr. James C.
Underwood, the President of Kaskaskia College, a U.S. Army veteran,
distinguished veteran leader, and an accomplished educator as the Illinois
Veteran of the Month for November 2013 today at a ceremony at Kaskaskia
“Dr. Underwood’s proven leadership, volunteer service and
dedication to the veteran community are very impressive,” said Erica Borggren,
Army veteran and Director, IDVA.
“Starting with his service in Vietnam in the 1960’s and continuing
through his service as an educator, he has made a positive impact on countless
individuals. Dr. Underwood is a great
example of what our veterans are capable of accomplishing – and of contributing
to our communities and colleges.”
Underwood was honored at a ceremony today, Friday, November
15, 2013, at the Lifelong Learning Center on the Main Campus, Kaskaskia College
in Centralia. IDVA’s Assistant Director
Rodrigo Garcia, a Marine Corps veteran, presented the award to Dr. Underwood on
behalf of Governor Quinn and Director Borggren.
“Jim Underwood exemplifies the meaning of patriotism”, said
Jim Beasley, a Kaskaskia College Board of Trustees member. “His entire life
revolves around his love for his country and the individual responsibilities we
all have in preserving the American way of life. Kaskaskia College is indeed
fortunate in having the leadership of Jim Underwood.”
As President of Kaskaskia College, Dr. Underwood has
championed veteran- and military-friendly programs and services at the school
during his tenure. Under his leadership
Kaskaskia College has been named “GI-Friendly” for the past 5 years, created an
on-campus Veterans Service Office, and hosted the Enduring Freedom Celebration
each year since 2001. His efforts helped
establish a Reserve Officer Training Program in partnership with Southern
Illinois University Edwardsville. A
distinguished academic leader with awards and published works, he is also a
member of the Illinois Veterans Service Advisory Committee, a Life Member of
VFW Centralia Post 2055, and a 36-year member of the American Legion and
Centralia Post 446.
Dr. Underwood’s 25-year Army career included service in
Active, Guard and Reserve units, beginning with his service in Vietnam in the
late 1960’s, and culminated with his 13 medals and awards for his service. He commanded from the platoon to the
battalion-level in Ordnance, Special Weapons and Infantry units. He and his wife Roxie, a retired educator,
reside in Centralia, Marion County, IL.
He was nominated by Earl White, Veterans Service Officer, Illinois
Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Southern District.
“I humbly accept this award on behalf of the KC family,” Dr.
Underwood said. “Our veteran programs
and our commitment to veteran education are the results of the dedication and
support of our caring faculty, staff, and outstanding Board of Trustees.”
About Veteran of the Month
The Illinois Veteran of the Month Award is presented to
veterans who continue to serve their communities after leaving the military and
make a real difference in the lives of others. Each month the Department
recognizes a different person or group that contributes to communities across
the state of Illinois. To nominate a veteran for consideration, please visit
veterans.illinois.gov for the guidelines and a nomination form. Each recipient is presented a proclamation
signed by the Governor and the IDVA Director, as well as a state flag.