Campus Life

UWF recognized for service to veterans with Purple Heart University honor

Today, the Military Order of the Purple Heart recognized the University of West Florida as a “Purple Heart University” at the UWF Military and Veterans Resource Center.

The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the United States armed forces who are wounded in combat. The Military Order of the Purple Heart also awards the Purple Heart University designation to universities for outstanding service to military service members, veterans, their dependents and their survivors.

With the recognition on Wednesday, UWF is now the second university in Florida to earn the honor after Florida A&M earned the designation in 2014.

“We have been recognized by many publications as ‘military friendly’ and ‘veteran friendly,’ but this one was completely unsolicited,” said Marc Churchwell, director of the UWF Military and Veterans Resource Center. “The Military Order of the Purple Heart is closely connected to the needs of our veterans and their families. For us to have been singled out is a big honor. It’s a huge compliment for what we do here.”

The recognition was held at an annual luncheon hosted by the UWF MVRC and was attended by more than 30 members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, as well as Representative Clay Ingram. Commander James Copeland and Adjutant Eustice Shiver of the Santa Rosa County Military Order of the Purple Heart presented plaques to Churchwell and UWF President Judith Bense as a part of the recognition.

“The military is integrated into our community here in Northwest Florida,” said Bense. “As a regional comprehensive university, it’s our mission to serve this region. Being a ‘Purple Heart University’ gives us a chance to do two things: to educate people about the Purple Heart award and the sacrifices that our armed forces make in combat; and to give recognition to those who have served or are currently serving our country. It’s an even bigger opportunity for us to recognize our military veterans here at UWF and in our region.”

The MVRC is committed to serving the educational and training needs of prospective and currently enrolled service members, veterans, their dependents, their survivors and others eligible to receive educational benefits under the various Department of Veteran Affairs programs. For more information about the MVRC, visit


About the University of West Florida: Founded in 1963, the University of West Florida is a vibrant, distinctive institution of higher learning with undergraduate, graduate and targeted research programs. With multiple locations in Northwest Florida, the University serves a student population of more than 12,000. Dedicated to helping students realize their full potential, UWF favors small class sizes with quality teacher-scholars who deliver personalized, innovative, hands-on learning and leadership opportunities.