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“I really loved the history this event brought to light and hearing Julia's story. It was so inspiring to hear about a woman's life who was truly spearheading women's rights."

Abi Domingue, senior sports, arts and entertainment management major

Veterans were honored at Point Park University for Women’s History Month with an event March 10 hosted by the history and Honors programs featuring 99-year-old Julia Parsons, a codebreaker from World War II.

“We have been very fortunate to bring these programs to students. This one was incredibly special because Julia was part of our first panel, 'Wonder Women of World War II.' Bringing her back to campus ensured another group of students, faculty and staff heard her story. What surprised many students is how far women in the military have come, but also we realized that this country still has a way to go with recognizing what women currently do and contribute," explained Helen Fallon, M.A., professor of journalism and director of the University's Honors Program.

"Events like the Veterans Breakfast are great for the Point Park community because it takes learning outside the classroom and into the community, creating an amazing and well-rounded experience for all the students here," said Kate Griffith, a sophomore cinema production major and Honors student.

"What I found to be really interesting about the Veterans Breakfast is that we don't typically hear stories of women veterans. It was really wonderful to hear stories and learn more about the involvement of women in the military. We were listening to Julia who is a piece of living history. I was really inspired not just by Julia's story, but all the women who talked about their experiences," added Griffith, a graduate of Central Cambria High School in Ebensburg, Pa.

Navy veterans Patti Gerhauser and Lauren DelRicci also discussed their military experiences, along with Point Park intelligence and national security alumna Danielle Bush ‘14.

Bush is the program coordinator for the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania and a staff sergeant for the United States Army Reserve.

Additionally, veteran Laurie Pearl spoke about her service in Vietnam as a Donut Dolly. 

Todd DePastino, who is the founder and executive director of the Veterans Breakfast Club, always does an amazing job bringing vets and students together. I appreciated the chance for our students to hear from women in the military across generations who have had such a wide variety of unforgettable experiences,” said Jehnie Burns, Ph.D., associate professor of history. 

“The Veterans Breakfast Club does a wonderful job of recording veterans’ stories. I am personally proud that the Honors Program and Point Park has been able to partner with Todd and our plans are to continue these programs in the future," Fallon added.

“I really loved the history this event brought to light and hearing Julia's story. It was so inspiring to hear about a woman's life who was truly spearheading women's rights. When the war hit she wasn't scared, and she didn't think twice about joining the Navy to help her country. The patriotism that existed around World War II was amazing. I feel as though my generation, while they have found their individual voices, they have lost some of the big picture about how grateful we should be to those who have fought for our rights,” explained Abi Domingue, a senior sports, arts and entertainment management major from Teton High School in Teton Valley, Idaho.

Domingue added: “I've enjoyed bringing my unique passions and experiences to Point Park. I've shared my passion for hot air balloons, dance and mountain adventures. Point Park has taught me what I want in this life, and what I don't want."

This was the fifth annual event for veterans hosted on campus by the history and Honors programs in collaboration with the Veterans Breakfast Club.

More About: history, intelligence and national security, alumni, veterans, School of Arts and Sciences, Honors Program