Personal Connections For Many At Touro Veterans Day Event

Veterans, active-duty military honored during campus event

November 11, 2022
TUC graduate Captain Keith Jackson speaks at a podium at the Touro grave during a Veterans Day event.
TUC 2018 graduate US Army Capt. Keith Jackson gives the featured address during the 2022 Veterans Day event on campus.

With a campus located on a former military installation, it’s hard for staff, faculty, and students at Touro University California to miss the connections between Mare Island’s past and its present.

TUC hosted a Veterans Day event, Nov. 11, to honor the men and women who served in the military at Mare Island prior to the university’s arrival, and all of those who served or presently serve since TUC was founded.

Senior Vice President of the Touro University System, Shelley Berkley, had a connection to Mare Island prior to being employed by Touro and she only realized that much later in life.

Her father, she explained in her address during the event, was in the US Navy and served during World War II aboard the USS Langley, a ship constructed at Mare Island.

Once deployed on the Langley, “he did not see land again for two years,” Berkley said. Her father was taken off the Langley in Sausalito, suffering from appendicitis, she said. He was transported to a military hospital where his life was saved and he fully recovered.

Many years later, he paid a visit to Berkley on the Mare Island campus where she learned something she never knew.

Berkley tells the story of what her father said during that visit. “Stop, stop … he saw our hospital here on campus, the Mare Island hospital, and he said ‘there, that’s where my appendicitis was treated.’”

Provost and CEO Dr. Sarah Sweitzer also shared her personal connections to Mare Island prior to working at Touro.

“My grandfather served 12 tours aboard submarines in World War II and Mare Island was his final stop in his service,” Dr. Sweitzer said. Her uncle was also born at the Mare Island hospital, she said.

US Army Capt. Keith Jackson, a 2018 graduate of the TUC Joint MSPAS/MPH program, who serves patients at the Sacramento VA hospital and at Travis AFB, served as the event’s keynote speaker.

“I think being a PA is about the best job there is in the Army because my only job is to take care of soldiers,” Capt. Jackson said.

Capt. Jackson explained how challenging but rewarding his service to soldiers and veterans is, with many patients suffering chronic physical and mental health conditions that can often be tied together.

“Luckily the stigma surrounding mental health is a lot less significant than it was years ago,” he said.

Vallejo Vice Mayor Rozzana Verder-Aliga thanked both veterans and active-duty service members, and the service provided to Vallejo by TUC.

“Our city is especially grateful to Touro University California,” Verder-Aliga said. “You positively make a difference in the lives of everyone you serve in our beloved city of Vallejo.”

November 11 is recognized overseas in places like the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and others as Remembrance Day. The TUC event honored that fact with the laying of a wreath to honor the war dead, as well.