MTSU Daniels Veterans Center arranges special ceremony for graduating senior’s family

Dec 10, 2022 at 08:21 am by WGNS

(ABOVE PHOTO)  At the patriotic mural outside the Middle Tennessee State University Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center inside Keathley University center, Deb Sells, left, vice president of Student Affairs, President Sidney A. McPhee and Daniels Center Director Hilary Miller, right, celebrate and congratulate fall 2022 graduate Brad Trotter, center, along with his father, Chaz Trotter, and mother, Wendy Trotter on Wednesday, Dec. 7. Chaz Trotter, a U.S. Navy veteran, has ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and will watch the commencement ceremony on the university’s livestream channel on True Blue TVWendy Trotter will attend with other family. A political science (pre-law concentration) major, Brad Trotter will graduate at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, in Murphy Center. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

(MURFREESBORO)  Brad Trotter graduates from Middle Tennessee State University this weekend in Murphy Center. He wanted his father, Chaz, a U.S. Navy veteran with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly called ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, to attend the ceremony in person on the special day.


Though circumstances prevented it from happening Saturday, Dec. 10, the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center and its director, Hilary Miller, found a solution: Bring commencement to the Murfreesboro, Tennessee, family.

Wearing their academic regalia, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Deb Sells, vice president of Student Affairs, joined Miller and Brad Trotter, an aspiring attorney who will graduate summa cum laude with a Political Science degree (pre-law concentration), for a gathering at the Daniels Center in Keathley University Center.

Looking on were proud parents Chaz and Wendy Trotter, with mom noting that the Daniels Center “really went all out to make sure we had a special ceremony here that Chaz could take part in.”

The center’s mission is to provide transition services for veterans and their families as they return to civilian life after military service but expands to include anyone — in this case a dependent — with a need.

“We’re excited they contacted us when they had a special need for graduation and that they are willing to share their story, so that others know that if they have a nontraditional need that they can contact the Daniels Center to clear the way,” said Miller, who, along with the Daniels Center, provided a double chocolate cake for the occasion.

McPhee congratulated Brad Trotter when they met inside the Daniels Center, then the president presented him with a diploma and posed for other photographs in the hallway.

“Oh, this is just what we come to work every day for, is to have these kinds of moments with students and their families,” said Sells, who also is vice provost for Enrollment and Academic Services. “It means a lot. Makes all our work worthwhile.”

Hard work and dedication paid off for Brad Trotter, 23, who achieved Eagle Scout status in 2017 and plans to take his Law School Admission Test, or LSAT, again in 2023 with Daniels Center guidance. Reaching graduation, he said he “never left points on the table, never left assignments unfinished, I attended every class religiously. I just wanted to be on top of things.”

Sections: News