Tag: OVA

Leonard Adreon, BSBA ’50, is a Korean War veteran, a corpsman who chronicled his experiences in a recently released memoir, Hilltop Doc: A Marine Corpsman Fighting Through the Mud and Blood of the Korean War. The memoir marked the first time in 60 years he had confronted and told the stories of the gruesome experiences he faced in war.

He recently returned to campus for a public conversation about his book, moderated by Olin Dean Mark Taylor.

“I didn’t say a word to anybody,” Adreon told the St. Louis Jewish Light. “A lot of us decided that the smartest thing to do was to go on with our lives and put it behind us. What we experienced and endured was horrendous. It was better forgotten.”

After the war, Adreon returned to St. Louis and spent 36 years as the executive vice president of The Siteman Organization. a real estate management and development company. He was an active advocate for the building and real estate industry throughout his career, serving in advocacy roles around the world and in Washington, DC.

Adreon has also been a leader at a variety of charities focused on child welfare and volunteers as a facilitator for writing classes in Washington University’s Lifelong Learning Institute.

He offered this poem to Dean Taylor in late April as a tribute to fallen US soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines.

Remember Forever

I am alone
among the silent stones
It’s early morning
The sun creeps through
sparsely scattered clouds
chases the night away
A cool gentle breeze
tingles my skin

Row after row
marble stones
on a carpet of green
Each curved at the top
standing proud over the grave
a small religious symbol
above the etched name of one who served
and the dates of a shortened shattered life

I’m here to visit my son
resting quietly with other soldiers
Today is his 40th birthday
If he could talk to me
what would he say
What is the message I should carry home

I sit on the small bench
close my eyes and listen

Dad, you’re here, that’s what counts
When I went away I knew the score
Danger lurked with every step
Most guys made it and came home
Some of us ran out of luck

I tried to do my best
for you and Mom
for Jamie and Helen
I longed to hear your voice
Feel the warm hug of your love

try to remember me Dad
and all who lie beside me
Remember me forever
Remember them forever


Sontaya Sherrell, MBA ’18 and vice president for communications for the Olin Veterans Association, provided this blog post on behalf of the organization.

The Olin Veterans Association had the great pleasure of hosting its Fifth Annual Dining Out ceremony at the Bellerive Country Club. This traditional black-tie event on March 29 consisted of military rituals, lighthearted banter, and words of wisdom imparted from our admirable guest of honor, Maj. Gen. David Bellon, commander, US Marine Corps Forces, South.

How does the OVA improve student veterans’ experience at Olin?

Maj. Gen. David G. Bellon, US Marine Corps

Maj. Gen. David G. Bellon, US Marine Corps

The OVA is an invaluable element of the veteran student experience at Olin Business School. The ability to offer and receive support and advice from those who share unique, yet similar experiences with you—from military service, to the transition from service member to student, to navigating the rigors of a challenging MBA program—is greatly appreciated and valued by OVA’s members.

The OVA provides a fellowship of individuals with shared perspective and the ability to understand the unique challenges encountered during and after this transition. In addition to this support that is so valued, OVA members benefit from the excellent array of resources and financial support available to veteran students.

Access to key business leaders offering mentorship, advice, and professional development opportunities provides an unmatched experience for OVA members.

What are some of the traditions of OVA Dining Out, for those less familiar with military rituals?

Among the traditional rituals at the Dining Out, guests were invited to answer for violations of the written rules of the evening by paying a fine—all of which supports the Olin Veterans Scholarship Fund—or having a drink from the dreaded “grog bowl,” which features a hodgepodge of questionable ingredients mixed into one punch.

A few of the lighthearted rules guests could potentially be punished for include wearing a clip-on bow tie at an obvious angle, using excessive military slang or jargon, or wearing clip-on suspenders.

Guests were expected to adhere to an honor system in recognizing their own infractions or could be reported for an infraction by another attendee. Balancing out these more amusing aspects of the event were more solemn traditions, one of which included the recognition of those who could not be with us that evening.

OVA members and guests honored our nation’s prisoners of war and missing in action (POW/MIA) service members with a moment of silence, a toast, and a speech honoring their contributions and sacrifice.

What was your favorite part of this year’s event?

My favorite part of the evening was listening to Maj. Gen. Bellon recount elements of his experience during his 28-year career in the US Marine Corps.

With all the dignity and poise of an esteemed military leader, Bellon recounted lessons on the intersection and divergence of the concepts of leadership and management that he’s accumulated over his years of service, effortlessly commanding the attention of everyone in the room with his powerful and heartfelt remarks. It was a true honor to host him at this year’s event as our guest of honor.

The Olin Veterans Association (OVA) hosted their 4th Annual Dining Out Ceremony at the prestigious St. Louis Racquet Club. The crowd included thirty current MBA Veterans from all five branches of service, representation from thirty-six St. Louis companies including sixty prominent executives. The guests of honor were Jack Senneff, the President of the Mess, an Army Ranger Regiment Officer and current Managing Director at Thompson Street Capital Partners; the Keynote Speaker Jason Frei, a Marine Officer and current Director at Boeing Defense; and Mark Taylor, Dean of Olin Business School.

The Olin Veterans Association Military Dining Out Ceremony is an annual event to celebrate the partnership between the OVA and St. Louis business leaders who support Veterans with their time, expertise, and mentorship. Danny Henry, the OVA President and McKinsey Consultant, along with Joe Piganelli, the incoming OVA president, spent countless hours leading student and faculty teams to orchestrate the event and successfully doubled the headcount from the 2016 event.

Dean Mark Taylor was impressed with his first dining out experience, “I was deeply honored to host this event with the Olin Veterans Association…this momentous occasion celebrated the service of our military veterans and the tremendous support of our business community.”

The evening incorporated time honored military traditions such as Washington University’s ROTC Color Guard posting the American flag, a Washington University a capella group singing the National Anthem, and attendees raising their water glasses for a silent toast to remember our fallen comrades.

A crowd-favorite tradition was chastising guests who violated the Rules of the Mess. For example, one rule states, “Thou shalt not murder the Queen’s English.” If found guilty of murdering the Queen’s English, a penalty could include a monetary fine that supported Veteran scholarships and a trip to the “Grog Bowl”. The grog bowl was a combination of symbolic liquids and solids mixed together to represent the sacrifices of the Veterans both in combat and the MBA program. The crowd enjoyed the good-natured revelry as guests cited each other for violations.

Several current student OVA members to were able to enjoy the evening with their employers. Joe Rieser dined with his future supervisor Chip Hiemenz, the Director of Business Development at Hunter Engineering, and Dan Vitale sat with his former boss Rob Godlewski, Vice President of Commercial and Residential Solutions at Emerson. Dan enjoyed connecting with Rob again, “From the first day Rob ensured me that Emerson and the St. Louis Business community were committed to helping Olin Veteran Association members transition.”

The highlight of the night, was the guest speaker, Jason Frei. Jason, Director of Ethics and Business Conduct at Boeing Defense, a Purple Heart recipient, and an Eisenhower Fellow, centered his speech around his tenure as a Marine Artillery Officer. Jason was a natural born leader and the Marine Corps discipline and desire to bring the fight to the enemy was one of the main reasons he joined the Corps. He emphasized that his success was a result of his desire to lead Marines and he took every measure possible to keep them alive.

Unfortunately, Jason’s convoy was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), an event that physically and mentally changed his life and altered his career. After losing part of his arm, he decided to leave the Marine Corps and find a different path to lead and make an impact. He immediately enrolled in the MBA program at Notre Dame to launch him on his new career. Jason may have stopped serving in the Marine Corps however he took the lessons and leadership and brought them to Boeing Defense.

The OVA would like to thank the many guests that attended and to express our appreciation of the ongoing support of our faculty, staff, alumni, and honored guests. We look forward to the continued impact our veteran students make to our program and our community. Thank you to all our active duty service men and women for their continued sacrifice. We are grateful for those veterans who have served, many who are no longer with us today, and honor them with this event.

Guest Blogger: James Jacobs
VP of Communications, Olin Veteran’s Association
MBA ’17

mfs17_top10UPDATE: December 8, 2016, Victory Media announced today special awards for its 2017 Military Friendly® Employers and 2017 Military Friendly® Schools. Washington University was named a Top 10 School. Link to Press Release.

Olin Business School is proud to be named a Military Friendly School by Victory Media’s trademarked program that benchmarks and rates colleges and companies nationwide, helping veterans and military families make well-informed decisions about education and career opportunities.

Excerpts from the Nov. 10, 2016 Press Release:

Victory Media, originator of the family of Military Friendly® employment, entrepreneurship and education resources for veterans and their families, announced Nov. 10 its list of 2017 Military Friendly® Employers and 2017 Military Friendly® Schools.

mfs17_designationSignificant technological investment into the evaluation process enhanced the breadth of data evaluated, resulting in 210 Military Friendly® Employers and 1,273 Military Friendly® Schools recognized for their support of the military community. For more than a decade, the Military Friendly® ratings have set the standard for companies and colleges that provide positive employment and education outcomes for veterans and their families.

“Our ability to apply a clear, consistent standard across thousands of employers and schools gives veterans a comprehensive view of those striving to provide the best opportunities and conditions for our nation’s veterans,” said Daniel Nichols, Chief Product Officer of Victory Media and head of Military Friendly® development. “Relating data from companies and colleges positions us to further our goal of supporting service members and veterans along their entire path from military service to success in their chosen civilian career field.”

More Comprehensive Scoring Criteria

A significant change for 2017 was the consideration of three data sources in the scoring methodology: publicly available data from federal agencies; personal opinion data from veteran employees or students; and proprietary Military Friendly® survey data from participating organizations. Final results were determined by combining an organization’s survey scores with an assessment of the organization’s ability to meet minimum thresholds in six areas critical to success:

  • Employers—Military Employee Application, Hiring, Turnover, Promotion & Advancement rates and National Guard and Reserve policies.
  • Schools—Student Veteran Retention, Graduation, Job Placement, Loan Repayment, Persistence and Loan Default rates.

Each year, employers and schools competing for the Military Friendly(R) designation are challenged to a higher standard than in previous years via improved methodology, criteria and weightings developed with the assistance of an independent research firm and our Advisory Council. This year, Victory Media has published online federal contractors and schools that receive federal education benefits that would be eligible for the Military Friendly® designation based on public data. However, only those companies and colleges that completed the Military Friendly® survey were considered for and eligible to receive the Military Friendly® designation and special awards.

Recognizing Excellence

Also new for 2017 are Military Friendly® awards, showcasing the most powerful and effective military programs in the workplace and on campuses nationwide. Awards for Top 10, Gold, Silver and Bronze winners by category (annual revenue for employers and institution type for schools) will be announced on December 8. The move from a binary designation of “Are you Military Friendly®?” to “How Military Friendly® are you?” will highlight outstanding organizations that support veterans and their families.

“Companies and colleges no longer ask ‘why’ recruit military as employees and students. They realize that veterans are graduates of the premier training institution in the world: the U.S. military,” said Navy veteran Chris Hale, CEO and Co-Founder of Victory Media.

The 2017 Military Friendly® Employers and Schools lists are available online at https://militaryfriendly.com and will be printed in the December issue of G.I. Jobs® and in the iannual Guide to Military Friendly® Schools.Read more about Military Friendly® ratings, methodology, and awards, or request a survey link, at https://militaryfriendly.com.

Photos from the OVA Dining Out event in 2014, by Jerry Naunheim, Jr.