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November 10, 2017

First Class of Veteran and Military Students Inducted Into SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society

Image of Doug Sherman, left, with two other veterans, who also are members of SALUTE, at the 2017 commencement at Albany.
Doug Sherman, left, with two other veterans, who also are members of SALUTE, at the 2017 commencement at Albany.

Sixty-seven active-duty military and veteran SUNY Empire State College students, from across New York state and the nation, have been inducted into the college’s SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society.

Representing all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, these students were the first from SUNY Empire to be inducted into SALUTE; 36 of them graduated last spring.

SUNY Empire became a chapter of SALUTE in May 2017, thanks to the efforts of the college’s Office of Veteran and Military Education.

Only Jefferson County Community College, located less than 20 minutes from Fort Drum, home of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division, educates more military students, with 1,526, than SUNY Empire, with 1,087.

Among SUNY Empire's class of 2017 SALUTE inductees was New York Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 3 Doug Sherman. He completed his degree 38 years after first joining the military, graduated with a B.P.S. in Business Management and Economics and a 3.96 GPA. Members of SALUTE are entitled to wear an honors sash at commencements and other events where academic regalia is appropriate.

Induction into SALUTE, Sherman, age 56, said was “huge, a big deal.” A resident of Fort Johnson, N.Y., he characterizes himself as motivated and goal oriented.

“Everything comes full circle,” said Sherman. “I was a member of the National Honor Society in high school. This (induction into SALUTE) represents my efforts and membership in an exclusive club. I have my sash hanging in my office. Bragging rights are important, even at my age.”

Sherman has served the country his entire adult life, even while working in the private sector.

Sherman joined the U.S. Marines in 1979, right after graduating high school in upstate New York, and served three years. During his first month as a Marine, and at the “suggestion” of his supervisor, he took his first college courses – 100-level history and psychology – with the University of South Carolina extension on his base.

He enjoyed his courses and performed at a high level, which helped when it came time for a promotion at work, but, as an 18-year-old Marine, college was not his first priority and he did not pursue a degree. Nearly three years later, while considering his future, he decided to leave the Marines.

Ten months later, Sherman enlisted in the Army, where he served through 1987.

A year of stateside training in electronic maintenance radio systems led to deployment in Germany, where he took courses from Central Texas College at its on-base extension office, as part of a program in electronics.

He performed well and earned additional credits, but did not complete a degree. At that time, he and his wife were raising two young sons and Sherman’s focus shifted from college to family and promotion at work. Entering the private sector and civilian life after serving in the Army, he worked for 15 years with several Fortune 500 corporations in New York state.

At the same time, Sherman continued to serve the country.

He re-joined the Marines in 1987, this time as a member of its Reserves, where he served until 2002. Later that year, again motivated by his service, personal and professional goals, he moved to Florida, joined the U.S. Army Reserves as an MP and deployed to Afghanistan in 2003. He continued to serve in the Army Reserves through 2007.

Coming home to New York, he joined the New York Army National Guard and, in 2009, returned to full-time active duty. In 2012, he was again deployed to Afghanistan.

Returning to New York after a year, Sherman became the warrant officer for the New York Army National Guard’s recruiting and retention battalion.

In 2014, Sherman made the decision to complete his degree and chose SUNY Empire.

“With the end of my military career in sight,” said Sherman. “I wanted to get a degree, so that I can teach Jr. ROTC to young people, help them to develop and have a positive impact on their minds.”

He described SUNY Empire as a group of like-minded people, who, like military service members, helped him to succeed.

He credited the initial reception and continued support he received from faculty and staff at the college’s Latham location as critical to his academic success. Sherman especially praised the mentorship of students by the college’s faculty as the single most important factor in his ability to complete his degree. He also characterized his mentor, Irene Norsworthy, as “caring, compassionate and intelligent,” and added, “I did the work, but, without her as my backbone, there is no way it would get done.”

About SALUTE at SUNY Empire State College

Of the college’s students who were inducted into SALUTE, five are on active duty, five serve in the Guard or Reserves and 57 are veterans.

Fifteen serve, or have served, with the Air Force; 28 with the Army; two with the Coast Guard; 12 with the Marines; and 10 with the Navy.

Areas of study for SALUTE inductees included Community and Human Services, Cultural Studies, History, Literature, Political Science, Accounting, Business, Management and Economics, Computer Science, Counterterrorism and Intelligence Analysis, Criminal Justice, Emergency Management, Nursing Education, Science, Math and Technology, Security Management and several others.

Inductees are completing, or have completed, their Associate of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Professional Studies, Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, Master of Science in Nursing Education and the MBA.

Selection criteria for induction into SALUTE includes personal conduct and academic excellence for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Personal criteria includes:

  • military service and current conduct
  • honorable discharge
  • maintenance of the highest ethical standards.

Academic Criteria for Undergraduate Students

Inductees must possess a 3.0 minimum GPA. At the undergraduate level, SALUTE ranks GPA in 25 decimal point ranges in four distinct tiers:

  • 3.75 - 4.0, alpha tier
  • 3.5 - 3.74, bravo tier
  • 3.25 - 3.49, Charlie tier
  • 3.0 - 3.24, delta tier.

Academic Criteria for Graduate Students

Graduate students meeting personal and academic criteria will be classified SALUTE Gold Members. There are no GPA tiers for graduate students.

Academic criteria for graduate students includes a 3.5 minimum GPA, successful completion of a minimum of 12 credits at SUNY Empire State College and good financial standing with the college.


SALUTE was founded in 2009 by the Colorado State University Veterans Office, thanks to a grant by the American Council of Education and WAL-MART Foundation. SUNY Empire is one of 200 chapters of the society, established to highlight the combination of academic excellence and service to country that so many military students show.

More information about SALUTE is available on its website.

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