Montevallo, Ala. – With the approaching dedication of the Dr. Eugene B. Sledge Memorial on Wednesday, November 11, the University of Montevallo would like to recognize the Alabama Marine Corps League for their generous gift to the memorial.
Members of the Marine Corps League donated $20,000 in October to assist in the completion of the memorial, an outdoor classroom in Harman Hall located on the University of Montevallo campus. The gift was the result of a one-year project and travels across the state to meet with Marine Corps divisions, followed by a vote to approve the giving of discretionary funds to the University in Dr. Sledge’s honor.
Jerry Cherne, Commandant of the Department of the Alabama Marine Corps League, stated that the Marines feel it is their privilege and honor to be a part of this memorial honoring Dr. Eugene Sledge, USMC.
“We, as Marines, are extremely proud of him and his many accomplishments. He was a Marine’s Marine,” said Cherne, “For this reason we came together and wanted to assist with this project.”
The outdoor classroom named in Sledge’s honor is in the same building were he taught for most of his collegiate career. The space will not only reflect Dr. Sledge’s love of biology and botany, but also be a space that students and faculty learn together.
“Dr. Eugene Sledge was a Marine who not only served with distinction, honor and valor in World War II; but he continued to serve teaching young minds at the University of Montevallo,” Cherne stated. “As a Marine, author and professor, his entire life serves as an inspiration. He understood that service to country comes in many forms.”
Montevallo alumni Jack Hopping (’69) and Paul Kellogg (’66) reiterated the impact that Dr. Sledge made on the University and especially students that were enlisted, going into, or had served in the Marine Corps reserve in the 1960’s.
“During the midst of the Vietnam War, Dr. Sledge personally found all the students that were in the Marine Corps and become our mentor,” Kellogg said of the former professor.
“As a Marine, Dr. Sledge was experienced and someone we looked up to. He kept us focused and was always there for us,” Hopping said. “Most of the Marines that were at the University of Montevallo at that time have had successful careers and have made a positive impact on the world due to Dr. Sledge’s impact on our lives.”
“By giving this check we were able to leave a Marine thumbprint on this memorial for Dr. Sledge. We as Marines are very proud of this gift and we are proud of the University of Montevallo for honoring a man like Dr. Sledge,” Hopping added.
The dedication ceremony for the Dr. Eugene B. Sledge Memorial will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Veteran’s Day, Wednesday, November 11. Members of Dr. Sledge’s family, University administration, government officials, and documentary producer Kirk Saduski will be in attendance.
Saduski produced the 2010 HBO miniseries, ”The Pacific”, based off the first-person account of Dr. Sledge’s books, “With the Old Breed” and “China Marine”, which chronicled his time as a soldier in the Pacific Theatre during World War II.
As a part of the University’s Veteran’s Day Celebrations, a wreath laying ceremony will take place at the National Veterans Shrine at the American Village on Highway 119 at 10:15 a.m. and Dr. Sledge’s Memorial dedication will take place at 11:00 a.m. in Harman Hall. In the afternoon, Saduski will deliver a Documentary Lecture in Lebaron Recital Hall in Davis Hall at 3:00 p.m.
For more information on any of The University of Montevallo Veteran’s Day events please contact Carrie Smith, Media Relations Specialist, at 205-665-6227.
In the photo above, members of the Alabama Marine Corps League are as follows: (Front to back, Left to Right)
Jerry Cherne, Commandant, Marine Corps League
Johnny Baker, Marine Corps League National Judge Advocate
Danny Rooks, Montevallo class of 1966
Johnny Hilmer, Montevallo class of 1977 (Business)
Jack Hopping, Montevallo class of 1969 (History)
Paul Kellogg, Montevallo class of 1966 (Physical Education)