My name is Michael Strahl and I am a United States Navy Veteran. I did most of my service on the USS George Washington stationed out of Naval Base Yokosuka, Japan. Hailing from Staten Island, New York, I didn’t know much about Connecticut’s slower-paced lifestyle or the amazing journey I was set to embark on. I was a 27-year-old salty veteran with a chip on my shoulder and an attitude to match.
I came to Quinnipiac with no friends, no sense of direction and no apparent urgency to develop either. I came for my education and my future as an Athletic Trainer. I still don’t know much past Whitney Avenue or I-91, but I do know my way around campus. I do know my way around People’s United Center. I do know my way around the halls, the students that fill them, the staff that maintains them and the professors that echo throughout them.
Fast forward to my final semester of my senior year at Quinnipiac University, I am the Vice President of the Student Veterans Organization (SVO). I am a soon-to-be graduate of psychology. I am engaged to the most amazingly beautiful Bobcat. I have made friendships that will last a lifetime. I have developed mentors that I can seek guidance from for a lifetime.
I can honestly say, I am a Bobcat for life. I bleed blue and gold and I wouldn’t change my time here for anything. The students, my peers, welcomed me and embraced me with open arms. I have been blessed with amazing faculty that gave me endless chances and more importantly, took a chance and pushed me to do my best.
The Director of Veterans Affairs, Jason Burke and the Student Veterans Organization continue to help me keep myself in check when I seem to be slipping. The Athletic Training Department for teaching me skills I can use on the ice and more importantly, off the ice. The Psychology Department for teaching me how and why. My professors that mentored me and guided me through every step of the way and reminded me that I have the tools to succeed.
Lastly, thanks to Quinnipiac Athletics, I got to witness multiple Women’s Rugby Championships. I was able to be a part of the Frozen Four in Tampa and scream my head off at every game I could get to. I get chills every time “U-S-A” erupts from the crowd. I have been a part of a presidential turnover and I’ve seen staff and students come and go.
I’ve wanted to quit a few times along the way, but today I can say that I did not waste the last four years of my life. I made the most of it and am grateful to all of the people who helped get me here and shared these experiences with me.
Today, I am a 31-year-old graduating senior at Quinnipiac University. Thank you. Thank you to the student population. Thank you to the professors and faculty. Thank you to facilities and all of the hard workers throughout the campus that help make this place a home away from home. Thank you to the Athletic teams that helped build my pride in this school. Thank you, Jason and all of my fellow SVO members. Thank you Java John for all of your wisdom.
Thank you Quinnipiac. Thank you for your service.