Interim president Dr. Laurie Bernotsky signed a proclamation Tuesday designating Nov. 6-10 Military and Veterans Appreciation Week at Pennsylvania Western University.

The proclamation reaffirms PennWest’s commitment to serving and supporting veterans and military families and lauds the continued contributions of past and present members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

“PennWest is proud to count many military veterans – along with Reserve, National Guard and active-duty service members – among our students, alumni, faculty and staff,” Bernotsky said. “Today, and throughout the year, we acknowledge the special range of experiences they bring to our university community.”

University-wide programming includes PennWest California’s 50th annual Veterans Day celebration on Friday, Nov. 10.

A community breakfast is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Booker Great Room in Kara Alumni House, 611 Second St., California, PA 15419. The event has reached capacity.

The breakfast will feature a keynote address by Dr. Bobbi Cumpston, director of Washington County Veterans Affairs, along with presentation of the annual Col. Arthur Bakewell Veterans Scholarship and a special recognition of PennWest education professor Dr. Susan Morris-Rutledge.

Cumpston is a retired Army veteran whose accolades include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and the Army Good Conduct Medal. She earned a bachelor’s in information technology from Columbia Southern University, a master’s degree in organizational management from Ashford University and a Doctor of Strategic Leadership from Regent University.

Recipients of the Col. Arthur L. Bakewell Veterans Scholarship have been recognized at the annual Veterans Day celebration since 1984. Funded through the generosity of the Veterans Scholarship Fund 500 Club, the scholarship honors the memory of Bakewell, the first Veterans Club advisor.

This year’s recipient is Joshua Mayro, a veteran of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. The North Versailles, Pennsylvania, native served with the PAARNG from 2016-2022 as a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist. He was a member of the 110th Infantry Regiment, 876th Engineer Battalion, and the 2-104th General Support Aviation Battalion. Joshua is currently a senior at PennWest California majoring in geographic information technology.

Pennsylvania State Representative Bud Cook will also present a special recognition to Morris-Rutledge in appreciation for her service in the U.S. Army Reserve and advocacy on behalf of veterans.

After enlisting from 1992 to 1998, Morris-Rutledge re-upped in 2001, serving overseas during Operation Iraqi Freedom as a specialist (E-4) in the 323rd Chemical Company out of Sioux Falls, S.D.

Morris-Rutledge joined the faculty at PennWest California in 2011 and is the campus ESL program coordinator. She also serves on PennWest’s Presidential Commission of Veteran and Military Affairs to advance the university’s goal of being a friendly campus for military veterans and their families.

For more information on military and veteran support at PennWest, visit

Pictured: PennWest Interim President Dr. R. Lorraine Bernotsky signs a PennWest Military and Veterans Appreciation Week proclamation with Reyanna Solomon (left), a junior criminal justice major; Roldan Riley, a senior biology major; and Sgt. Laura Miller and Staff Sgt. Luke Bauer, National Guard recruiters.